Katie Couric and Lisa Joseph Metelus discuss the future of brand partnerships
Share this page
Katie Couric and Lisa Joseph Metelus discuss the future of brand partnershipsJanuary 2024
For decades, athletes have partnered with brands to expand their reach and connect with more audiences. What does the future of brand partnerships look like, and what exactly makes a winning partnership?
To answer these questions, Creative Artists Agency executive Lisa Joseph Metelus joins award-winning journalist Katie Couric on Future Ready. Together they discuss how Joseph Metelus joined the industry, the best way to create a solid partnership, and what things will look like moving forward.
[ambient techno music plays]
Katie Couric: [voice-over] Welcome to Future Ready by Think with Google. I’m Katie Couric.
Couric: Nice to see you!
Lisa Joseph Metelus: It’s so good to see you too!
Couric: [voice-over] Lisa Joseph Metelus is the head of basketball marketing and servicing for CAA Sports. And if anyone understands brand partnerships, it’s her.
[clapboard snaps shut]
[inspiring music underscores speakers throughout]
Couric: Lisa, hi. You have been at CAA for almost 13 years, and you’ve done some incredible things. Before we talk about your partnerships and your projects, how did you get there?
Metelus: I just loved sports and I loved how it made me feel — the wins and the losses. And I never thought in a million years that I’d be doing what I was doing. But I was given an opportunity in college to intern for our football program, and one thing just led into the other. And here I am, almost 28 years later, in the game.
Couric: You met Dwyane Wade when he was 22 years old. Can you talk about some of the things that you all have done together through the years, and how you have leveraged Dwyane’s popularity to create business opportunities for both of you?
Metelus: Yeah. I think one of the things we did very early on in his career was trying to establish what the future would look like in “the now.” How do I leverage the moments that I’m in now to build relationships with key people? To build relationships with brands? To show my true authentic self? To speak my truth? You know, when the lights dim, when the jersey’s hung up, and when you’ve entered into the Hall of Fame, that’s what they’ll remember.
Couric: What about those who are not big superstars or household names? Can they learn anything from the career and the partnership you have forged with Dwyane?
Metelus: Back in the day, you had to rely on journalists and sports journalists to tell your story.
Now, through social media, you’re able to create your brand and really tap into things that are authentic to you. And it really is about authenticity. People want to know who the real you is. Not just someone that’s sitting up and really promoting a brand, but what are you really like off the court?
Couric: What do the most successful partnerships, Lisa, have in common?
Metelus: I think it’s really important that the brands and the talent really understand what their shared values are. A lot of times, you have athletes that are brought deals, and they’re great one-time checks. And by the way, sometimes you have to do those — you want to do those. But for the most part, does that brand really align with your core values of who you are?
Do you want to work long term with this group of people? Do they share my values? Is this something that in three years I’m going to want to support? But also, I think that understanding what your value is too, you know, what are the added skill sets that I bring to this?
Couric: But saying no, I guess, is key too, because not every opportunity is going to be the right one to create the building blocks for the future, right?
Metelus: You’re so right. The “no” is just as important as the “yes.” And I think that’s where you have a really good team of people around you that you sit down and have conversations. Because we’ve been in situations with many of our clients where we’ve had to say the hard no. Because, yes, the check is really — the number, it’s what’s really appealing. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have to get up and show up for something. And is this something that you really want to show up for? Does this align with who you are?
Couric: And is it going to help you achieve the next thing?
Metelus: Absolutely. How is that building to the brand that you’re going into, yes.
Couric: There is so much content out there. What advice would you give brands who want to do something that will really cut through?
Metelus: I feel like every couple of months we wake up and there’s a new social media app, a new way to talk to your audience, a new way to connect with people. And as we’ve added layers to that, it’s harder and harder to speak on all platforms.
It just comes down to human relationships, right? Where do you feel your most authentic self? What platform do you feel your most authentic self?
But if you show up on that platform and it’s not authentic, and it’s performative, and it’s just like … Consumers, fans, they see through that. And so it really is about finding your voice and who can help you.
Couric: How do you measure success? What metrics do you use?
Metelus: While data is still very important in the work, sometimes it’s just how people are responding to a post. You’re able to see that in real time, right? It’s not just a number. It’s an emotion.
It’s just not, “Oh, 100,000 people liked this post.” But sometimes it might be the 50 people that connected with the post, and resonated and responded to it.
Couric: There are so many social issues that people think need addressing. And in a way, Colin Kaepernick sort of set the agenda and said athletes can have positions.
How has that changed the way you work with athletes or any of your clients, in terms of speaking out?
Metelus: I think there’s pros and cons to it as well. Even before Colin Kaepernick, you think about the days of Muhammad Ali. I think athletes have always used their voice, right?
I think the biggest thing for us, and what we try to do, is educate our clients. Because I think a lot of times people look at talent and say, “Did you post in support?” “What’s your stance?” And I firmly believe that you don’t post anything until you understand it.
Couric: What are some of the most interesting changes you’re seeing in the brand partnership space?
Metelus: I think storytelling is really important. I think from a client perspective, it’s no longer showing up and given a script. And, “This is the script. This is the campaign.” I think clients really — and talent, athletes — are now wanting to take control over that.
I think they’re interested in the brand as well. “How can you help me tell my story?” So I think there’s definitely been a shift in owning the campaigns and the work that comes with creating content.
Couric: So, more collaborative?
Metelus: More collaborative, versus just, you know, “I’m just here to tell your story.” It’s like, no, how do we tell our story together?
Couric: Lisa Metelus, thank you so much. That was fascinating.
Metelus: That was fun. Thank you for having me.
[upbeat music plays in the background]
Couric: [voice-over] For more Future Ready conversations, subscribe to the Think with Google YouTube channel. Thanks for watching.
Others are viewing
Marketers who view this are also viewing
Today’s CMO: Transforming the role to be ready for what’s next
The AI Handbook: Resources and tools for marketers
What will marketing look like in 2030?Watch now
Agility often starts with breaking down silos. Here are 3 things to get right
3 industry leaders sum up 2020 in one wordWatch now
A playbook for change: How we’re working to scale sustainability across our marketing
Case StudyCase Study
How Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty delivered ‘Beauty for All’ — and a wake-up call to the industry
What Google execs around the world learned from navigating the pandemic