If you have to ask this question then you probably already know the answer. Like any relationship, there's positives and negatives. Sometimes the only way you're going to feel comfortable with your decision is to draw a line down the centre of the page to see which column ends up greater. Of course there's also more sophisticated approaches you can apply but this very approach overlooks the foundation of what builds a great sponsorship.
The very best sponsorships are partnerships and they're built on loyalty, trust and a shared vision to build something bigger and better than what can be created on one's own. In the same way, a relationship is one where the sum of two parts are greater than each individual. Critically, when that relationship stops growing and you no longer look ahead in the same direction, then it's time to reassess. You can usually tell if one party becomes disinterested in the relationship. They stop trying to please; they are less likely to compromise; they no longer initiate new ideas – quite simply they stop showing up.
The question therefore follows as to whether it's possible to get the relationship back on track. The answer to that all depends on whether both parties are wanting a future together. Most sponsorships reach their peak at around three years. It's therefore important to understand the sponsorship lifecycle to know how to extend the partnership in a way that also benefits the third very important party in this relationship – the consumer. It's all very well the sponsor and sponsored organisation wanting to stay together but there needs to be a positive outcome to this union - otherwise there's little reason for it.
The desired outcome of a sponsorship is the business objective that's established at the start of the relationship and it's always built on reaching out to the target market. It could be to increase brand awareness; build a customer base; increase loyalty; increase engagement or any number of objectives. Whatever the objective, the consumer is always front and centre. It's kind of like nurturing a family. You've got to create an environment that keeps everyone happy.
To build a strong and enduring relationship, the following fundamentals need to be in place. You've got to:
- 1.Know where you're going
- 2.Share a common goal
- 3.Listen and seek to understand
- 4.Accept both strengths and weaknesses but play to your strengths
- 5.Value each party's contributions
- 6.Know when to compromise
- 7.Know your limits – don't over promise
- 8.Be adaptable and ready to accept change
- 9.Embrace the opportunity to innovate
- 10.Be authentic and show you care
In my experience, I would have to say each of these points are as important as the next but nothing speaks louder than showing up in the relationship. You've got to be your authentic self if you want to build long-term and lasting relationships. The more honest and accountable you can be around what's working and what needs fixing for next time round, the more likely you are to enjoy the fruits of a nurtured sponsorship.
I hope this blog has resonated with you. Sponsorship is an exciting and fulfilling marketing platform because it's built on the backbone of growing great relationships. If you'd like some assistance with your sponsorship program, please let me know – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 366 306 - I'd be happy to help.