More Than Cold Hard Cash: How To Get More From Your Sponsors
This blog actually comes from a question I received on Twitter last week – always a great source of inspiration for posts. Although I’ve alluded to the answers throughout our blog, I have never written a blog about what the property rights owner should be getting out of their sponsorship. The reason being, the most obvious answer is money. However, a sponsor’s investment should not end there – there’s so much more they can offer to benefit the rights owner.
As a rights owner, you tend to focus on issues that are of the most immediate concern. Once all sponsors are on board you’ve then got to focus on ticket sales and the invites (and let’s not forget the small matters of sorting out catering, setting up the venue etc.). Before you know it the event has finished and you are back to square one of renewing the event’s sponsors and the cycle starts again. Time is needed to integrate departments and partners and typically with the urgency of sales and action during a slow economy, there is little time to do much else.
By integrating the objectives of the sales and marketing departments you can make the cycle much smoother for everyone involved and add value to the sponsors of your events.
Brand sponsors tend to have significantly larger customer databases than the rights owners they sponsor. As such, it can be a cheaper way to bring brand awareness of the event in question through effective marketing campaigns. These campaigns can then drive ticket sales without the added costs of advertisements and new creative. Furthermore sending communications to the sponsor’s database helps the sponsor as they want to bring awareness to their customers of the events that they are involved with – that is why they have got involved in the first place.
Joint communication is just a starting block, but once you start thinking more integrated you can come up with a range of communications that benefit all parties, saving you time and money.
One of the things we have started to really push with our sponsors and rights owners is physical space. For larger brands, they tend to have an abundance of space with the presence of roof top terraces overlooking the Thames that are rarely used to whole floors that no one is working in. This presents a fantastic opportunity to integrate the brand and the rights owner.
Venue costs are typically the area where most events fall down on – especially charities. Charities tend to be very rich in terms of content – with celebrity brand ambassadors and a meaningful cause; however, tend not to be able to put on the events they wish they could based on up-front costs such as venue hire. We have started working with our sponsors more directly and have hosted a number of events within sponsor buildings instead. This not only saves the charity (or rights owner) money, but also shows a truly integrated approach to brand partnerships. Furthermore, this provides the brand an opportunity to showcase their own building, their culture and their internal teams.
Another benefit that sponsors can bring to rights owners is actual people. In terms of staff engagement, this tends to work best in charities and is often a key reason that brands get involved with national causes – to get their teams working together on something greater than the 9 to 5. It also helps create a team environment even with their staff are based all over the country. Staff engagement or volunteering for the sponsored charity is a key benefit that charities should try and incorporate within their sponsorship proposal whenever possible. This not only provides additional volunteers for the charity which is always needed, but also can go a long way in terms of securing internal buy in from the brand itself – future proofing the financial investment.
These are just some of the benefits that sponsors can bring to organisations apart from cold hard cash, but there are many more. The key is to find the synergies between the rights owner and the brand sponsor – understanding every party’s objective and collaborating with each other to help achieve something that is greater than the sum of its parts is what a true partnership is all about.
Jackie Fast is Managing Director at London-based sponsorship agency, Slingshot Sponsorship. Jackie offers running commentary on the Slingshot Sponsorship blog, and allows us to republish here when the subject fits.