Sponsorship has evolved and with it so has the way brands need to communicate. The usual brand activations that revolve around logo placement and signage have negligible impact. The way forward for brands is most definitely online – but there's plenty of challenges too in the digital space.
Most sporting teams now have their own digital and social strategies which compete directly in the same space as sponsors. Many employ social media influencers to grow their popularity providing direct digital connections with their fans in real time. They're all sharing behind-the-scene locker room moments while referees have cameras on their heads. It's making it even trickier for sponsors to maintain relevance when they are being trumped by the property they are sponsoring.
It goes without saying, these sporting teams still need to maintain a balance between enhancing their own popularity and sharing it with their sponsors. The financial injection from sponsors is still too valuable to throw the baby out with the bath water.
So what kind of future can sponsorship offer up brands?
Brands need to be enhancing their sponsorships with content marketing that is amplified through social media channels. Most of the sophisticated sponsorships are already being done this way but grassroots sponsors still need to evolve. Brands need to enhance their offline activities with strategic branded content that reinforces their cultural relevance. Social media gives users the opportunity to form rich communities around the things they like and dislike. Brand need to be a part of that!
Unfortunately, not many brands are getting it right. Most are still offering up content that is bland and uninspiring.
This is how it's done.
1. Find the crowd culture that's right for your brand
Look for an opportunity to support the subculture that exists in your industry. The best brands are cultural innovators. Don't hesitate to take your chances on supporting a cause if it's something that will become meaningful to your followers.
2. Spread the word
When you focus on a cause that is relevant to your industry, you are able to harness the energy of the social media crowd to bring significant attention to it. As custodian of the cause, it's then up to you to spread the word.
3. Be creative
Producing entertaining content is not enough to grow your fan base. The more creativity and thought around the content the better its chances of delivering results.
Brands need to tap into the subcultures that exist online if they are to remain relevant to consumers. When a brand successfully attaches itself to a cause, the brand is rewarded with intense loyalty.Does this help you think about your online approach differently? We certainly hope so! Do you need more support with your branded content strategy? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org