Whether Your Product is Sexy or Not, Your Sponsorship Activation Can Still Turn Heads
In our last article, we talked about, and gave one example of, using unique items to capitalize on a fans passion and connect with them by enhancing their experience at an event or game.
However, some companies think that simply because their product does not start with an ”i”, have a swoosh, or immediately conjure up a visceral reaction, they are unable to connect with consumers on an emotional level. That is precisely why these companies (which is 99% of all companies!) should consider sponsorship. Sponsoring a team or an arts organization might be the absolute perfect way to make consumers feel something for a brand that they (and, likely even the company executives!) probably never thought was possible.
As we mentioned in Part II of this series, the key is to capitalize on people’s passion for the property you are sponsoring and/or the community where the sponsorship takes place. Let’s look at two other areas that can make your sponsorship investment more impactful, regardless of the product/service you provide: charity/military ties and partnering with other sponsors.
When it comes to charity/military, it is vital that it is genuine. Yes, you can call it “Cause Marketing”, but it must be felt as the right thing to do throughout your organization. If that is the case (whether you have employee(s) tied to the cause or an organizational program — e,g hiring Veterans — tied to a group, for example) , it will be perceived that way and not appear self-serving (or, at least not solely).
We worked with a financial institution that had a full year suite and, instead of just donating nights to charity (with a lot of goodwill going unnoticed), packaged an entire concept around the donation, leading to national recognition — and significant business development — for the program and the company. It was genuine. It helped the community. It led to business. It was a true win-win-win program and took a brand that was more “necessary evil” than “hot and exciting” and made an emotional connection with the fans of the team.
Another concept that should be relatively easy to uncover, but is rarely executed, is partnering with other, non-competing sponsors (by the way, discovering these synergies can be one of the best things to come from team organized sponsor summits). Sponsors can bring various things to the table — sponsorship inventory, store locations/outlets, foot traffic, website traffic, etc. — that can assist each other in a promotion. You might be able to provide something that costs you nothing, but is valuable to another sponsor — such as retail locations — that makes your leverage dollar go much further! For instance, we put together a promotion with a bank, an ice cream store and a pizza store where all three got exposure at each other’s outlets as part of a promotion where a winning kid got picked up from school in a limo (with 8 of their friends!), got pizza, ice cream and then came home to his room completely designed with team merchandise. The winning moment was even picked up by the local news. While ice cream and pizza have a little “pizzazz” to them, the bank loved the emotion (and coverage!) they were able to conjure up with the promotion.
If you are 99% of companies that do not automatically connect with a consumer / customer on an emotional level, then sponsorship can be an ideal medium to relate to a customer and bring your brand to life in an entirely new way. If you focus on the passion of the fan — not your products or services — your chance at success will be much greater. And, by the way, it will feel a lot more rewarding.