The chemical processes inherent in relationships even reach sponsorship. Cantabria Labs, the leading pharmaceutical company in dermatological prescription in Spain, Italy and Portugal, knows this well. The chemistry is transferred to its sports alliances, where it closed 2022 with an agreement with Real Madrid that adds to the sponsorships of the tennis player Rafa Nadal and the Paralympic athlete Sara Andrés to reinforce and make visible throughout the world their awareness and prevention campaigns on skin care.
"When you enter the orbit of these sports figures, in the end you realize immediately when there is a match and when there is not, you identify it very quickly," explains Susana Rodríguez, CEO and general director of Cantabria Labs. "We do not have a strategy active to seek these sponsorships, sometimes they arise at a basically relational level within networking".
In his case, these relationships are based above all on "values such as humility" of the tennis player -in a relationship that includes the Rafa Nadal Academy and the Foundation- or on "teamwork, the culture of effort and struggle" of the Real Madrid, where Cantabria Labs will explore taking the agreement further to promote other forms of collaboration in a long-term relationship. "We have started now, we met before the pandemic through the sales area and we already thought that we had to do something together... in the end it did not materialize but we were very excited by both parties".
Three years later, the opportunity was reactivated, "things that were not seen as possible at that time were unlocked" and thus the agreement was reached last July within a brilliant year for the company, as it closed with a turnover of 293 million euros, which is 21% more than the previous year. It also grew in employment to more than 1,000 workers worldwide thanks to its presence in more than 85 countries. "Every year we close with positive net employment, even with the Covid, it is an expanding business, we propose to double our turnover every five years, we will achieve it next year and we will exceed 500 million in 2027", warns the executive, in a framework in which the firm is open to both organic growth and acquisitions.
For now, it is too soon to see the results of the "Train your skin" campaign launched in January with Real Madrid. In any case, "it is difficult to measure it and know exactly the return, we attach importance to the fact that for us they are levers that help us a lot to transmit our reason for being, our purpose, which in the end is to improve the health and quality of life of the people".
All their sponsorships revolve around the same objective. With the tennis player, protection against the sun and skin cancer is highlighted, an issue that is linked to consultation with the doctor or pharmacist. And with Real Madrid, emphasis is placed on skin care linked to the discipline and, once again, hand in hand with the health professional. The board of directors always emphasizes that Cantabria Labs is a pharmaceutical laboratory, so the actions it develops in sponsorship are behind the professional support of those who recommend its products, led by the Heliocare or Endocare brands. Because it is not a beauty company, but rather a titan of the sector in which more than 70% of these products are made in-house and the rest come from a development ecosystem with other companies or certain agreements.
Within sports, at Heliocare they offer a Sport line, compatible with the use of other products. "We did a lot of research on this topic talking to Rafa Nadal, we saw the ideal moment to work with him and develop a stick that adheres very well and in which sweat does not wash away the product, as well as oral photoprotection with ingredients that favor other dimensions such as antioxidants and other components related to physical reality...". "It is a range that cannot be missing whether you do sports or not," he adds. Because if she had to recommend only dermatological care, the executive estimates that "photoprotection can never be missing, it is avoiding excessive exposure to the sun and treating aging and skin cancer, one of the most prevalent."
Looking to the future, and with the permission of chemistry, Cantabria Labs does not plan to close agreements with more sports properties, although its budget in this area continues an upward trend within a portfolio of products that goes far beyond these sponsorships, as is the case with the pet health business and the clinical nutrition business. Although everything will always depend on the flow of relationships and that peculiar chemistry of the leaders.