One of the golden rules of sponsorship is to make sure it counts. By this I mean, don't sponsor for the sake of it. Your sponsorship program must be closely tied to your overall business or marketing goals and be well-considered with a long-term strategy in place.
There's countless reasons for this but perhaps the most critical comes down to performance. There are too many poorly performing sponsorships that give this industry a bad rap and that's because they aren't executed with any long-term vision or goal in place.
A bigger problem for brands is that the consumers most sought after by companies can sniff out an insincere gesture. The consumer demographic most likely to attend events, festivals, sporting and music events tend to be young and educated. They also have higher incomes and more disposable cash which is why they're happy to pay for these experiences. What these consumers want to know is what is this brand doing to improve my experience or to make this world a better place. What is this brand doing that genuinely contributes to society or to my community? Research has shown millennials have a strong attraction towards brands that know how to give through sponsorship or philanthropic activities. In fact, 91% of millennials will show increased trust towards the brand; 89% will show greater loyalty and 89% say they would be more likely to buy the brands' products or services (2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study). This should have huge bearing on any sponsorship program your brand is considering.
Make it relevant
Another important aspect to factor is your brand's relevance in the partnership. When it makes sense to sponsor a club, organisation, festival or event then patrons are more likely to remember you. For this reason, Evian sponsors Wimbledon because this is the thirst quencher preferred by players. It's also why Shell has sponsored the Belgium Grand Prix because the cars use Shell oil. Consumers are also more likely to purchase your brand when the recall is high. Brand relevance totally impacts your overall sponsorship performance.
Support a cause
When a brand supports a cause, the relevance of the partnership is even more important. Likewise, consumers are even more engaged with your brand. It's a win-win that pays considerable dividends but again, it's got to be sincere. Today's consumers are savvier than ever and they expect transparency. Corporate social responsibility is a long-term investment, it's not some quick fix to help the sales team achieve next month's budget. Supporting a cause involves investing time, effort and resources in solving the issues or remedying wrongs that affect a percentage of the population. It's also a way to differentiate your brand from others because you're standing up for something. Partnering with a cause, often called cause sponsorship, gives brands social approval. Just think of Nike and how well they've done this over the years. Nike has used its name as arguably one of the greatest global and most enduring sporting brands to stand up for equality. Nike 'encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field.' Nike also puts its money on the table and donates billions to communities across the States to promote equality.
Have a values-driven focus
It's my hope that as a marketing, brand or sponsorship manager you have benefited from this blog and will sponsor with purpose going forward. It's the most effective sponsorship strategy you can have because you are appealing to people's value systems. At the same time, you are demonstrating your brand's shared values and this drives massive engagement. It's our values that shape our choices from where we live, work and play to how we spend our leisure time, what we eat, how we dress and the list goes on. Brands shine the spotlight on these choices, they show us what to care about and are a key factor in our decision-making. Your ultimate success as a marketer comes when you find the sweet spot between your brand's purpose and a cause that is a relevant brand fit.
Want help with your sponsorship strategy? EventSponsors specialises in building brand equity and engagement. We hit the ground running and work as a member of your team. The beauty of it is, we can work project to project so we're here for you when you need it the most. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 366 306 today.