The answer? Firstly, understanding how sponsorship succeeds is important. The sponsorship itself tends to be the first step on the ladder. Th expectation today is that you’ll need to spend up to 1.5 times the amount on marketing the sponsorship, as the cost of the sponsorship itself.
This additional spend is often forgotten about but is needed to develop assets, content creation, to promote the sponsorship and align the brands effectively. (i.e. photo call and imagery, merchandise, design, print materials and advertising.)
The next important aspect of a successful sponsorship is how you manage the process to ensure you get your return. Don’t be afraid to call out poor communications if you find your brand isn’t being represented effectively by the sponsored party.
There are different types of sponsorships that can bring value to a brand, these most commonly include:
- Event sponsorship
- Sport / Sports Person sponsorship
- Celebrity / Influencer
- Media Sponsor
Within each of these types, there are many tiers of sponsorship, from lead sponsor to official partner in a particular aspect.
Similarly there are different ways to sponsor apart from financial sponsors including product or service sponsor or in kind sponsors.
In making a sponsorship work, there are some basics to remember, they may seem obvious – yet can be seen poorly executed by brands on a daily basis, negatively affecting the return on investment.
Here are our ‘Basic 8’ on getting the most from your sponsorship online:
- KPI’s – Agree in advance what good looks like for both parties – set your KPI’s, agree the frequency of communications and align marketing calendars to communicate consistently between the brands.
- Storytelling – Explain to your audience why you chose to sponsor and how you hope it will benefit all. Similarly if your partner does the same effectively, it will create the synergy needed to succeed.
- Profiling – Ensure you are tagged on every activity relating to the sponsorship online across every platform – everything.
- Back links – Sharing links to your website from sponsor site (and vice versa)
- Share your assets – Treat it like a full partnership – share your logo, brand guidelines, processes and any pre authorisations for content sign off. Check your logo, bio, hashtags and social accounts are being used correctly when being referred to by those you are sponsoring – don’t be afraid to call it out – protect your brand. Similarly your tone of voice should be consistent moving between the partnership.
- Credit – Your brand should be profiled and credited as a single sponsor at least twice online in the period leading up to the event or launch. This should include a link to your website or inquiry form – ensuring that traffic is being driven back to you directly.
- Add-ons – Ensure you have a physical presence at any launch or event and use as an opportunity to profile your brand, then share the imagery online. Make the most of your communications pre and post event.
- Do your bit – Don’t forget to do your share of promoting the sponsorship too – Ensure you have access to their assets (logos / messaging etc) to profile to your audience.
Affiliating branded products with sporting activities is one of the most successful partnerships and has a proven return on investment for businesses.
The reason for this is not only eyes on the brand but also aligning with elite athletes, world class performance and commitment and resilience – all aspirations for brands and audiences to achieve. The additional sense of community that sport creates means there can be mass appeal for one brand over another depending on their allegiance to a team or the sport itself.
One of the most recognisable and successful sponsorships in sport, perhaps unsurprisingly is Pepsi with their success at Super Bowl and across various events, followed by Red Bull who are often aligned with extreme sports and high energy events.
While some partner sponsors can be seamless, some can be positively odd and yet still profitable. An unusual sponsorship of note was Cristiano Ronaldo’s partnership with KFC, similarly Manchester United’s sponsor Mlily, a mattress supplier raised eyebrows.
In closing, sports and branding have gone hand in hand since the early 20th century and shows no signs of abating. With this in mind and considering the benefits, if you have the budget and the commitment to maximise and manage the sponsorship effectively, it can be fruitful for all those involved.
Read the Deloitte report on Sporting HERE
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About the Author
Founded in 2022, Pennypop is an Irish Marketing agency specialising in Marketing and Communications. The business is based in Louth, Ireland and supports businesses across Ireland, UK and USA.