THE ULTIMATE NETWORKER
and communications industry for over three decades
Article source: PQ International
One of the greatest compliments paid to Charles Ward must be that from Jesse Pruitt, president of Las Colinas Polo Club in Dallas, Texas. “Our club changed dramatically from the day I met him,” said Pruitt. “Within a few months of taking on the club, he brought in sponsor contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and made our club one of the best known in the USA.”
In the past four years, Ward’s Texas based company, Idea Works Inc, has contracted to represent the ten leading polo clubs in the US and Mexico in designing and obtaining sponsorship programs.
The company, established a quarter of a century ago, consults on marketing communications, sports sponsorship and strategic alliances, specializing in wealth marketing. Ward and his team have designed programs and partnerships for Bombardier Business Aircraft, Tiffany & Co, Lamborghini, Marsh, KPMG, Nabisco, Ford, Motorola, American Express, the States of Hawaii and Texas, Hibernia Bank, Mellon Bank and many others.
Polo is not the only sport to have benefited from Ward’s expertise. In 1984, opening a branch office in La Jolla, California, he assembled the sponsorship marketing team for Stars & Stripes, Dennis Conner’s 1987 America’s Cup victorious yacht racing campaign.
Using creative techniques and direct marketing campaigns, Ward’s group raised over US $16 million in sponsorships and donations for Stars & Stripes. He also coordinated the America’s Cup victory celebrations, including a reception at the White House with President Ronald Reagan and a ticker tape parade down Fifth Avenue, New York City, sponsored by Donald Trump.
Charles Ward started his media and broadcasting career while a journalism student at the University of Texas. “I was lucky, in my early twenties, to become a popular TV news anchorman at KTBC in Austin,” he said. “Then, by the time I started my marketing company at the age of twenty-six, I was a minor celebrity in my town, and business flowed in.”
Ward still has a weekly radio spot, The Lord of Luxury, on the Biz Radio Network, Houston and Dallas, featuring interviews on private business jets, exotic cars, exquisite jewelry, exclusive private parties and five-star resorts. He is also a frequent guest on XM Satellite Radio.
In the 1970s, Ward founded and became the president of Media Communications, an AAAA advertising and marketing agency whose clients included real estate developers, resort properties, financial institutions, legal and medical associations, state agencies and hospitality developers.
The company developed the award winning Texas traffic safety campaign, Drive Friendly, which involved international celebrities on public service broadcast programs and highway signage throughout the Lone Star state. The agency grew to $20 million in annual billings, with forty employees in Austin and Houston.
He has also served as a co founding director of Capitol City Savings, a regional financial institution, and on the board of directors of the Insurance Corporation of America, a national medical liability body. He is also a frequent speaker to the Luxury Marketing Council, with offices around the world.
Tourism has also been a string to Charles Ward’s bow. His Honolulu office completed a four-year marketing assignment of economic and tourism development in the USA and Asia for the State of Hawaii. The program was developed around the theme, Hawaii – The Pacific Link, and was broadcast in English, Japanese and Chinese.
Polo, yacht racing, motor sports – all are grist to Charles Ward’s enthusiastic mill; and he is aware that, if he stays in the wealth market, there will always be plenty of clients.
“Today, the wealth market is exploding,” he said. “Our Lamborghini client in Dallas sold so many new Lambos that the dealership became the number one in North America in the first fifteen months of operation – and was awarded a second dealership in Houston.”
Ward says that his job provides him with an adventure lifestyle. “It’s not like work to organize polo events for the blue ribbon clients we work with. We get great satisfaction from seeing our clients get a return on investments from our efforts.”
There is no doubt that Ward is held in high esteem. Dorothy Mason, Texas director of Tiffany & Co, said: “Charles is the ultimate networker. He has a keen sense of how companies and individuals can benefit by working together, and he makes it happen. I enjoy watching him work.”
Gary Soloff, of Bombardier, said: “Charles presented us with new opportunities in the sport of polo, and forged the way for Bombardier to become one of the dominant sponsors in US polo in a short period of time.”
Publisher Lance Avery Morgan has no doubt that Charles Ward gets results. “His strong connections with the luxury market extend across the US and also internationally. He is the first one we call when we want to do something that will be awesome and brilliant.”