Is Your Brand Invited to the Party?
No one likes it when someone comes to a party empty-handed. Despite lots of talk about activation, it seems there's still sponsors that are crashing the party. Sure they'll bring their logo, and in many cases, pay a lot of money to do so, but that's about it. They won't fit in. And even worse, some won't even try.
What happens next? You guessed it. People start crying that sponsorship is a waste of money. Why? Because they are looking at a multi-million dollar logo placement. That's it. Properties must get more vigilante and demand more. Demand that the assets you are providing be put to a higher use. Think as the seller you don't have the leverage to do so? Sure, that might scare off a lazy sponsor or two - but in the long run you will be able to value your assets higher because you'll be showing that the opportunity you provide can work harder for your sponsors. You'll be showing future sponsors what they SHOULD be doing with your sponsorship opportunity by example, not what they shouldn't.
Like a creepy chaperone showing up uninvited then trying to fit in, some sponsors still think that showing up to the party can be done with a logo. Unfortunately, like the parent - they don't fit in to the experience. They add no value. And therefore, their image is shaped for them. Sometimes it's good, many times it's not. So as a sponsor how do you wrangle an invite from a property's fan base? Easy. You add some value. Like the party-goer that may offer good conversation, you'll offer enhance the conversation with concert goers, sports fans, museum goers, whatever. If you don't tell a unique brand story through your activation, you're leaving it up to interpretation. Some may even say, that in this day and age, you can't control your brand anyway. The customer, client, fan, attendee does. And you know what happens when you don't shape your image by adding value? Well, you may get some additional eyeballs and awareness, but what good is it if everyone hates you. Take this case for example: Venice's "The Bridge of Sisley". By vote, 85% of people think that this is unacceptable. 85%! Yes, there are select times when a sponsor may only be looking for name awareness, not brand. But is taking the money worth having a guest your customers don't want? Only you can decide that. In current times, it would be pretty tough to turn down a sponsor right?
Sponsors cannot control their image in today's social media environment, but they can help shape it. How do you shape it? Through a dialogue that says something about your brand, that adds value to the experience and that leaves the consumer with a memorably interaction with your brand. Properties, you have the power to be a little more selective with your invites and if you do, sponsors might just find themselves doing what it takes to get on "the list."
photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt