The Sponsorize agency is getting a makeover and reinventing itself to support brands in their new challenges (customer experience, brand experience, interaction with generation Z, etc.). Proud of its sponsorship roots, the agency will now capitalize on its 15 years of existence to offer comprehensive services based on a new, broader approach to brand experience. Let’s meet with Rafaël Binggeli, the new CEO, to learn more about this new positioning and his vision.


Can you introduce yourself in a few words and explain the context of your return to Sponsorize with this new position?

With pleasure. So my name is Rafael, I’m 28 years old and I graduated from HEIG-VD with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics, which I complemented with a degree in Marketing and Brand Management from the London Business School. I started my career in 2012 at Nestlé in logistics management and sales forecasting for the group’s coffee and chocolate drink brands: Nescafé, Dolce Gusto, Nesquik etc. Later, I joined Caran d’Ache in product development at a global level, including working on collaborations with Paul Smith and Warner Bros. This is how I joined Sponsorize for the first time as a sponsorship project manager and then as a team manager. I was mainly in charge of partnership operations related to entertainment, art and sports. Finally, I joined Nespresso to support the launch of the new Vertuo system on the Swiss market with the organization of various Brand Experience campaigns. At that point, the opportunity came to return to Sponsorize in this new role of director with a wider scope of action and the possibility to really bring my vision and approach to the agency while ensuring a certain continuity because one of the founders and previous CEO: Sebastian Chiappero, will remain active at the strategic level as a board member.


Precisely in terms of this vision and approach, what are the changes you want to make?

In terms of approach, I want the agency to be able to operate not only on sponsorship but on a broader notion of Brand Experience. Sponsorship activities are an extraordinary vector but it should be seen as a tool, which serves broader objectives. At the end of the day, the real topics are the public’s interests and the people need for more authenticity from brands. This last expectation is even more pronounced with generation Z, which is a key topic for us. Therefore, my vision is really to consider brands as active players in the socio-cultural landscape. When I’m talking about culture, I mean the topics that interest people such as art, know-how, ecology, music, science, etc. and which brands have to capitalize on to entertain and/or educate the public. To summarize, the approach is to capitalize on our 15+ years of expertise in various cultural themes to help brands them with these territories and create emotional connexions with the public. However, in order to really offer adding value to our clients, it was essential to scale up and so we defined 3 new pillars that will complement our expertise: a strong strategic and creative pole, a new data science team and a constant sourcing of new technologies.


What does this concretely mean in terms of services?

My goal is to be able to offer 360° integrated marketing communication services to brands, focused on experience and entertainment. So we will never do traditional advertising of “promoting commercial offers”. We want to create campaigns that will entertain and/or interest the public thanks to their content. It’s really about bringing brands and their messages to life. This is what we call Brand Experience and it includes different types of campaigns: experiential marketing, use of new digital technologies, sponsorship, social and influencer campaigns for which we collaborate with a partner agency and of course at the center of everything the brand content creation.


If I understand correctly, sponsorship has become a tool among others?

In fact, there are many objectives behind sponsorship. If we focus on the communication dimension, it’s really a partnership that aims to integrate the brand in a universe that interests / fascinates a target audience and that is not necessarily the direct expertise of the brand. From there, the logic is the same: understand the audience and the codes of a specific universe in order to deliver meaningful and impactful message that connects the brand identity to a specific area of interest.


So from now on, Sponsorize’s services are only related to operational campaigns?

No, we will remain active at a strategic level and at an operational management level. It was extremly important for me to keep a strong connexion with the rights holders in order to be relevant to the brands when we talk about activations. So we keep a strategic marketing and sponsorship consulting division for cultural and sports organizations as well as the possibility for them to outsource the management of their sponsors and partners.

For brands and companies, I think it is important to link strategic expertise and campaigns management. We will therefore continue to advise brands and companies on sponsorship strategies at the Swiss or international levels. We will also continue to propose to companies to directly coordinate part or all of their partnered properties. In the latter case, we are nevertheless extremely careful not to become judge and jury with sponsors and rights holders. This is why we will continue to charge no commission on the partnerships we are coordinating.

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