Oct 14, 2009 at 01:31 PM
written by Jim Loria

Getting the Most from Your Sponsor's Images

Before I get started, I must go back to my educational upbringing and let you know that my training - and good fortune - came from a Vocational High School in Massachusetts where my trade specialty was in Industrial Design (which centered on everything to do with creating art and graphics).

That knowledge has been such a payback for me throughout my career. This may sound strange to some of you but in all my years of taking on start-up franchises and fixing others, I have never permitted the corporate sponsors to purchase "specific locations" for signage and or publications. Yes, we have always given higher consideration to those that are investing top dollar. Where you get hurt is in laying out your sponsor’s messages.

I’ll use my sport of hockey as an example: we recently sold 57 rink board signs. Most are 8' in length by 33" tall. If you are selling your property as "specific locations", it will do your sponsor no good to have a wordy white background sign placed next to another busy white background display and another because each got locked into a sales location. My graphics company will arrive with me at the morning of our signage install day and lay out all of our signs on the ice floor. I will look at each and choose the location's by contrast. The RED McDONALD’S sign goes next to the WHITE sponsor sign with a simple logo display. The last thing you want is a wall with no contrast because you committed everyone to a spot.

From the moment I ever began my selling process, I usually told each partner that I will ENHANCE their visibility tenfold if they TRUST my ability to pick & choose where to place their investment. Here’s the trick to sell my point: ask one of your local TV stations to get you a 60 second tape of your game highlights on a CD. Watch carefully and see if you can recognize your business partners? Can you see their message? If you cannot, know that your partners can’t either. You want your partner’s to see themselves. That’s why most invest in sports sponsorships – to see themselves! You want your client’s customers to see them as well so that they’ll tell the sponsor.

You also want to KILL THE CLUTTER off every sign. There are reasons why McDONALD’S or SUBWAY brand their logos. Small businesses will WIN the war in branding if they follow suit! Don’t let the client sell you otherwise. In this world, we all GOOGLE so a sponsor doesn’t need to promote their phone, website and locations on a sign board. LESS CLUTTER SELLS MORE! LESS CLUTTER GETS THE SPONSOR’S MESSAGE SEEN MORE ON TV! You gutter ball it and your revenues will suffer the consequence!

As for publications, I have taken the same approach with my partners other than COVERS. Each season, I will instruct my printing rep to provide me with every ad pre-printed out in a Low Rez Color proof as well as all editorial. My rep will meet up with me the week before we go to print and I’ll look at each editorial page and match up the advertiser to BEST ENHANCE that page. EDITORIAL DESIGN HELPS BRING OUT YOUR ADVERTISER AND THE SPONSOR'S AD DESIGN HELPS BRING OUT YOUR EDITORIAL CONTENT! Again, we do give higher priority locations to the top sponsors!

Getting your client to signature of approval is like you & I choosing a restaurant location for our next meal. Once you are inside and the dinner plate is placed before you, now it’s the “presentation display” that SELLS YOUR BRAIN within a split second to devour that plate or not. Same with a sponsor when he sees his/her image at your facility. Doing the little things and giving that business property a chance to LOOK LIKE A MILLION ON THE DINNER PLATE will go a long way in increasing your team revenues!

Jim Loria has over 30 years of sports management experience and for the past 10 years as served as President of the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede. Jim can be reached at loria@sfstampede.com. Be sure to check out all of Jim's past posts, too.

photo credit via flickr: evelynishere