How Mike Silver Became The Next Best Brand And Marketing Guy

How Mike Silver Became The Next Best Brand And Marketing Guy


Vital Stats

  • Players: Mike Silver, Catherine Mavrocoleas and Pete Hutchings
  • Company: Stretch Experiential Marketing
  • Est: 2009

The growth stats

  • 2010 — 2011: 700%
  • 2011 — 2012: 140%
  • 2012 — 2013: 105%

When did you realise you were a brand and marketing guy?

I learnt early in my career that branding, marketing and events are my forté. In university, even though I was failing most of my BCom degree, I partnered up with the lecturer to sell his textbooks.

I managed to get the books sponsored by Canon and we sold them to thousands of students who then got a discount on workshops we hosted. Numbers weren’t my thing, but marketing was, so I did my honours in brand strategy at Vega.

Meanwhile, I was throwing parties with a business partner. My cut was a percentage of overall ticket sales for these events and festivals. Our strategy was to identify local influencers and offer them commission, merchandise and bar tabs based on how many feet they got through the door.

We steadily built up a strong network in the matric and student crowd. In 2005 we made R60 000 in one night even though we barely knew what we were doing! When I consider how we fight for budget today, it’s hard not to laugh at the ludicrous money we sometimes made then.

How did you first hear about experiential marketing?


After studying I moved to London and found a job in a sponsorship consultancy. The company worked with brands to find the right sponsorship opportunities for them. It was the other side of what I had been doing in South Africa as a side business.

From there, I moved to RPM, one of the biggest experiential agencies in Europe. I absolutely loved it being an account manager, which is quite admin orientated, and an area I was very, very bad in. But I turned out to be rather good with clients, so much so that the agency overlooked my glaring deficiencies with paperwork.

My strong suit was building and maintaining client relationships.

Next Page: The launch of Stretch and the hard lessons that came with it

Related: 7 Steps to Become an Authority in Your Industry

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.