Title: Head of North America marketing
Company: Visa Inc.
Years in current job: 1
Not only does Visa Inc. want to make the London 2012 Olympics the most successful in its 25 years as an official Olympic sponsor, it wants “to make it the most social ever,” said Alex Craddock, who manages Visa's consumer and commercial marketing in the U.S. and Canada.
Building on its existing “Go World” Olympic theme, Visa came up with its “Cheer” initiative, in which fans upload photos and video “cheers” for their favorite Olympic or Paralympic athlete. The winning cheers will be integrated into Visa TV spots that will be used during the summer games in a campaign that will also include social media and events.
As part of the campaign, Visa is working with 1,000 financial institutions and retail merchant partners in 70 countries, which Craddock said has so far led to 550 promotions.
Visa continues to nurture its relationships with entrepreneurs through the Visa Business Network, now in its fourth year. The program, which offers Web management tools and step-by-step advice on things, such as how to manage cash flow, boasts 150,000 members and about 350,000 unique visitors a year. “You start to think about the scale of that, it starts to become an exciting play for us,” Craddock said.
In the next three to four months, he said, the Visa Business Network will be expanded to keep pace with the social feedback the company is getting from its business customers. “Part of that is the need to continue to evolve what we're doing,” he said. “Where do we need to take it to stay relevant for the small-business owner?”