Value-Added Sponsorships Strategies

Dayton, OH—From Super Bowl ads and large scale events to grassroots initiatives at the neighborhood festival, if a company is paying for sponsorship opportunities, it is fitting that they should receive a healthy Return on their Investment (ROI) or at the very least quantitative measures that show their partnership provided some level of Return on their Objectives (ROO) for their sponsorship spending.

As the landscape of event marketing has changed throughout the years, there’s an increased scrutiny on the corporate partnership landscape, and the demands for a good understanding of why sponsors are spending money with them. As such, they need to be able to quantify the value their partnerships create for their partners’ businesses. And if properties can’t demonstrate the value they create? Well, then brands have limited incentive to renew their partnership agreement. Or if they do, it tends to be at a sizable discount on last year’s deal.

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the most common objectives companies have as they enter corporate partnership agreements and some traditional activations used to accomplish them:

Driving Consumers to Retail

One of the best ways to create value for your corporate partners is through your ability to get your fans (and their potential customers) physically into their stores where they can walk the aisles and see your partner’s entire product offering. Similarly, any partnership element that offers salespeople an opportunity to interact and build rapport with potential customers can be equally valuable for your sponsors.

Whether you’re a grocery store looking for a boost in product sales or a car dealership interested in consumers getting exposure to the latest model-year cars, one of the best activations for driving traffic to a specific location is a professional athlete / local celebrity appearance and / or autograph signing. This particular activation can accomplish multiple goals simultaneously and can be a great fit for a variety of sponsors who are concerned with creating traffic in their store.

Driving Sales

Sales. Sales. Sales. It’s what ultimately drives business. So it’s imperative that one of the main objectives in any activation strategy is to help actually sell products or services. Accomplishing this task may vary based on the industry. For instance, a B2C company may provide sampling and discounts while a B2B business may leverage corporate hospitality opportunities at a sport or entertainment venue to host clients.

Lead Generation

A list of leads is one of the most valuable assets you can provide for your corporate partners; the more qualified the better. As such, there are a number of corporate partners that are interested in a list of leads to which they can reach out and sell their product or services.

There are a few approaches with leads:

Many properties are pitching brands on the premise that their fans are more likely to conduct business with a sponsor as they more accurately reflect the respective core customer.

Other, more common angles to leverage is a “register-to-win” asset. The result is a list of leads derived from on-site activations where the sponsor has a prize to give in exchange for fans providing their contact information. Alternatively, this can also be accomplished online through enter-to-win sweepstakes.

Increasing Brand Awareness

At times, a marketing mix has varied objectives. It’s not uncommon for local sponsors to view a partnership as an opportunity to increase brand awareness in the marketplace. Or for an established brand (especially when introducing a new product line) to invest in strategies that are a pure branding play. Be it a well-known brand or a small local company, brand awareness is critical as it sits at the top of the purchase funnel.

Some of the most common assets leveraged to enhance brand awareness are those with some sort of media value attached to them such as stadium signage or commercials during your radio and television broadcasts.

Brand Engagement

Once your fans are aware of your sponsor’s product or service the next step is to get them to try it. Onsite event activation elements often include: sampling as well as “surprise and delight” programs that provide feedback and enhance the customer experience. Whether it’s an interactive stadium game day activation or an exclusive event where select fans participate in a VIP experience with your sponsor, the goal is to leverage their affiliation with your brand to move fans one step closer to product adoption.

Increasing Brand Sentiment

Corporate partnership with a professional sports team, entertainment venue, gala or festival is a great way to change attitude towards a brand. This is particularly true in instances where a company or firm doesn’t offer a consumer-facing product or service.

Often times, companies looking to increase the perception of their organization view their event partnership as a platform to amplify their ability to give back or do good.

Corporate Hospitality

Whether the objective is to incentivize top performers, improve employee morale, or entertain clients, the importance of this objective cannot be understated. Positive brand engagement (both internally and externally) is critical for ongoing success, and corporate hospitality (i.e. a luxury suite at the football game or VIP access at the concert, etc.) helps leverage the moment to make it a memorable experience.

Final Thoughts

More often than not, these objectives and others do not live in isolation from one another. It’s becoming increasingly likely that your partnership has a variety of elements designed to accomplish multiple goals. An integrated event sponsorship strategy clearly states end objectives, leverages available assets, drives meaningful engagement, and ensures measurable business results.