Has your sponsorship gone stale?
According to research, sponsorship awareness begins to plateau after the second year of a partnership. How can sponsors continue to drive recognition and recall amongst fans and supporters beyond the initial stages of an association?
Below are five points to consider before, during and after your sponsorship to maximise the return on your investment.
1 Plan ahead
For some, this advice may come too little too late. Sponsorship is a long journey, and it requires long-term thinking. When trying to keep things fresh, we often develop new and different activation ideas from one year to the next. Not only can these activations create unforeseen costs, but they can also muddle the message.
Instead, consider how a longer-term theme can be embedded into your campaign from the start. A theme that sticks to the core message but allows for annual or seasonal changes to maintain engagement.
2 Consider utilising an ambassador
A great way to freshen up your partnership is by leveraging a brand ambassador to create new content. Brand ambassadors carry with them inherent positive associations and open up hard-to-reach audiences. Ambassadors can create unique fan interactions or activities in the local community, which can help boost brand awareness and engagement.
However, choose wisely; aligning your brand with an individual often carries more inherent risk than a partnership with a brand. Before cosying up to the team’s star striker, you may wish to consider our brand ambassador checklist.
3 Don’t use off-the-shelf solutions
Sponsors want to sell you their pre-existing packages. They are easy to implement from one client to the next and deliver predictable returns.
The temptation many of us fall into, especially in longer-term deals, is to apply these off-the-shelf solutions. These signage opportunities and activities have been seen by fans for years and have limited impact.
Sponsors need to find unique and creative ways to own the space or create a new space within the event.
4 Switch it up
Don't be afraid to switch things up if you notice declining engagement in your sponsorship activation. Yes, in an ideal world, we have a long-term strategy with pre-planned activation that creates continuous high levels of engagement. However, if this is not the case, the biggest crime is being too stubborn to admit when we are wrong.
If most of the budget has already been allocated, consider looking at low-cost fan engagement activities such as online competitions, giveaways, or pre and post-event entertainment.
It’s easier to keep an existing sponsor happy than to acquire a new one. Use this to your advantage by negotiating your rights. Sponsors are unlikely to give you more branding without increasing the associated fee. Still, you may find they are happy to accommodate your new activation idea, especially if your contract is expiring.
The benefits of long-term partnerships between sponsor and team are mutual and well documented. Considering the above points, you can help keep your partnerships fresh, increasing awareness and driving more significant interaction with fans.
Check out our article on the impact of memory on sponsorships, Have you forgotten your memory?