Brian Brokowski
Brian Brokowski of Allison+Partners

Allison+Partners, a San Francisco-based global public relations and marketing communications firm with an office in San Diego, has announced the launch of Allison+Sports, a sports marketing specialty.

A statement from the firm said, “The specialty will work with brands’ existing and planned sports sponsorships, athlete and celebrity endorsements and other marketing relationships to deliver integrated marketing strategy and execution, using an earned-first lens.”

The sports specialty will be led by Shane Winn, managing director of strategy and sports marketing at the 500-employee agency, which operates offices in 34 markets and serves more than 1,700 clients worldwide.  

“Today’s sports landscape is more intertwined with mainstream culture than ever before, providing extensive storytelling opportunities on and off the field,” said Winn. “We know that relationship-building across an ecosystem of reporters, sponsors, properties and fans is the fuel that will bring these stories to life in a massive sea of sports headlines.”

Winn told Times of San Diego that San Diego offers opportunities for Allison+Sports. “In San Diego, we’ve been having conversations with Sports San Diego about the post-Chargers sports marketing landscape and ways in which we can support their mission of attracting more high-profile sporting events to San Diego,” Winn said.

Sports San Diego is a newly formed local organization whose primary goal is to book sporting events that will ultimately boost local tourism dollars. The entity is run by the not-for-profit San Diego Bowl Game Association, which organizes the annual Holiday Bowl.

Shane Winn of Allison Sports

Funding is provided by hotel fees collected by the San Diego Tourism Marketing District and grants from several large companies, including Founding partners include Qualcomm, Kaiser Permanente and General Dynamics NASSCO. Sports San Diego will also raise its own funds and collect revenue from future events produced by the organization.

“The post-Chargers sports landscape is very interesting here,” said Brian Brokowski, general manager of the agency’s San Diego office. “While the Padres are a local treasure, where we are really seeing the opportunity here from a sports marketing standpoint is in lower entry price point opportunities being presented to marketers.

“In many cases, they have high returns on investment for brands looking for deeper engagement levels with highly defined target audiences. Organizations like Sports San Diego have been doing a great job attracting these events, which not only sell hotel rooms, fill restaurants and delight fans, but offer brands great exposure.”

In addition, Allison+Sports has launched a proprietary, data-driven tool called the Earned Performance Scorecard, which will use benchmarks to methodically evaluate and score brands against audience messaging impact, social media stickiness, endorsement and partner impact, conversation creation and sentiment and purpose-pop culture relevance.

According to Brokowski, “One of the ways we’ll be using the Earned Performance Scorecard here is to help existing and new clients get a better sense of how well their investments in sports are performing, what they may be leaving on the table, and how they can use communications and earned media to fine tune them.”

Allison+Partners was founded in 2001 by Scott Allison and Andi Hardie Brown. Allison and Scott Pansky opened the San Diego office in 2002. The agency is organized around five practices, including consumer brands, corporate, reputation risk-public affairs, health and technology.

In 2010, MDC Partners acquired a majority interest in Allison+Partners. In 2021, Stagwell Marketing Group merged with MDC Partners to form Stagwell, a global marketing and communications network.

(W)right On Communications Hires David Cumpston as Director

(W)right On Communications, a San Diego PR firm, has announced it has hired David Cumpston as director of its business-to-business and technology practice groups.

He was previously served as associate VP and division manager with Havas Formula. His client experience there included Wholly Guacamole brand of dips, Daiya plant-based foods, QDOBA Mexican Eats, Solaray health supplements and West Marine, a chain of boating supply and fishing retail stores. 

David Cumpston

Cumpston has spent most of his 20-year career in San Francisco where he worked with firms Landis Communications, Allison+Partners and MLS Group. His experience includes such clients as JP Morgan Chase, Aramark, Sodexo, SEGA, Horizon Organic, Sutter Health, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, Stanford Children’s Hospital, Walmart, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Orbitz, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and Velodyne Lidar.

At (W)right On, Cumpston will oversee a portfolio that includes XCOM Labs, Nuvve Corp., Allied Universal Security Systems and JPI Construction as clients, a statement said.

Cumpston graduated cum laude from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. He is a two-time winner of Bulldog Media’s “Best Response to Breaking News” award. He also has led multiple campaigns recognized  with “Agency of the Year,” “Campaign of the Year” and “Product Launch of the Year” awards from the Public Relations Society of America, International Association of Business Communicators and Forbes.

“David is seasoned public relations agency pro and it shows,” said Julie Wright, president of (W)right On. “He hit the ground sprinting with creativity, thoughtfulness and grace. We’re excited to leverage his decades of strategic insight to move our client partners forward in their respective categories.”

Founded in 1998, (W)right On operates offices in San Diego, Los Angeles and North Vancouver, British Columbia.

San Diego AMA Chapter Drops Organizing Cause Conference 

The American Marketing Association San Diego chapter has relinquished its role of organizing the popular San Diego Cause Conference after more than 21 years of presenting the educational and networking event. The Cause Conference is known for speakers discussing best business practices to help companies and nonprofits become more effective and expand the impact of their cause-driven enterprises.

The year, the Better Business Bureau in San Diego and the San Diego Business Journal, a weekly business newspaper, has stepped forward to present the 2022 Cause Conference from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15, at the University of San Diego.

Parker Pike, a partner with San Diego Social Venture Partners, a granting and consulting group and founder of the Cause Conference 24 years ago, told Times of San Diego the local AMA chapter couldn’t muster the volunteers needed to undertake another Cause Conference event.

“Like many professional networking groups that rely on volunteers, the local AMA chapter has experienced a decline in membership and board support, although they are providing all past resources and their large database to support this year’s event,” said Pike, who also teaches marketing at the UCSD Extension.

“The situation with AMA presented an opportunity to engage other organizations that share the same vision for helping companies, donors and nonprofit be even stronger together,” Pike said. “This event is now the catalyst to bring together even more collaboration, innovative thinking and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes up so much of San Diego’s business reputation. The Cause Conference has always been a platform for sharing groundbreaking ideas to help the business community reach their purpose-driven goals.”

2022 Cause Conference co-chairs are Donna DeBerry, CEO of the San Diego County Black Chamber of Commerce, and Grant Oliphant, CEO of The Conrad Prebys Foundation. The Cause Conference leadership team include Larry Kesslin, BBB entrepreneurial ambassador, and Pike. For early bird registration and a list of event presenters, visit www.CauseSanDiego.org.

Marketing Prof Writes New Book on Solo Travel 

Point Loma Nazarene University marketing professor Dr. Mary Beth McCabe has written a new book about her other passion of traveling by herself.

5 Steps to Solo Travel, A Woman’s Guide to Travel in Her Prime, Part A,” released last month, has been ranked as high as #4 on Amazon’s “solo travel” category. McCabe uses Dr. Mary Travelbest as her pen name.

According to McCabe, the 174-page guidebook is targeted for the 47-to-74-year-old woman who has experienced a life change, such as retiring, relocating, divorcing or becoming a widow. “The key to success for a woman traveling alone is to take the book’s five steps in order. She needs to jump-in at every step so she can choose her own unique journey,” McCabe said.

“Whether a woman travels by plane, bus, train, bicycle, foot or wheelchair, solo travel is essentially a confidence builder for anyone who feels stuck. Women need to travel in their prime while they still have the ability.”

The five steps include start with an overnight stay close to home, followed by visiting a nearby state, then traveling to multiple U.S. states before traveling overseas to an English-speaking country and, finally, traveling to a non-native country to learn about another culture.

The chapters cover travel tips, including accommodations, packing, ground transportation, personal health and safety, planning and lessons learned — all based on McCabe’s trips over the past 30 years to all 50 states, plus six continents (Antarctica not yet).

McCabe’s new book (“Part A”) is a follow-up to her first book, “The World’s First Guide to Independent Travel,” published in 1993, which has sold 10,000 copies and has spawned a weekly podcast that is currently ranked among the top 10 percent of downloaded podcasts with about 40,000 downloads. McCabe has recorded about 175 episodes, each about five-to-eight minutes in length.

The next book, to be called “5 Steps to Solo Travel, A Woman’s Guide to Travel in Her Prime, Part B,” is scheduled for release in September.

The Part A book, published by Sun Marketing, costs $9.99 on Kindle or $19.98 for a paperback on Amazon. On Independence Day, Monday, July 4, as a tie-in to an “independence” theme, the book will sell on Amazon for $10.98, a 45 percent savings.

“Independence and solo travel have much in common,” said McCabe. “Traveling brings the world closer to peaceful living through understanding other cultures.”  

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.