Sponsoring New Ideas
It's often said that big companies can't innovate...that they suffer from paralysis by analysis. Sometimes that is the case, but other times clever companies - in many cases driven by the marketing departments - use their resources to create innovative products that harness the wisdom of their customers in the process powering change, inspiring hope and of course, benefiting their own brand. That's the gist around these three relatively new brand-owned online "sponsorship" applications.
Ideablob.com is an online community that allows small business owners and entrepreneurs to share their business ideas in exchange for feedback, advice and votes from the community. Advanta, one of the nation's largest credit card issuers in the small business market, sponsors the service and awards a $10,000 monthly prize to the best eligible idea, as determined by votes of the Ideablob community.
Every two months Toyota has a new Believe Scholarship up for grabs. Scholarship recipients are provided with a maximum of $3,000 per scholarship to give them a head start with getting a project (idea, endeavour) off the ground.
Virgin Money Giving is a not-for-profit online fundraising service where charities can present their needs, customize their pages in their own brand colors, promote them to supporters, send out email alerts and manage their fundraising through pledges.
Two other similar campaigns got attention this past Summer from small companies. Okanagan Springs successfully executed a website asking for submissions for value-in-kind sponsorships at sponsormespring.ca and Monster Energy crowdsourced band sponsorships for Crue Fest.
Have you thought about how your brand can use the wisdom of crowds to sponsor (in cash or in services) the big ideas of tomorrow within your respective sector?