20 Pieces of Corporate Sponsorship Advice – 140 Characters at a Time

tweezerI can admit it – I’m a little verbose. I like words and I love writing, so short little posts have never been my strong suit. Twitter… well, that’s been a whole new challenge! When people ask for my advice on Twitter, I always struggle to respond in just 140 characters.

Today, I’m in the mood for a challenge, so I’m going to provide twenty pieces of corporate sponsorship advice, no more than 140 characters at a time. (Jeez, I can’t even explain what I’m doing in 140 characters, so this should be interesting!)

By the way, if you feel like retweeting one of these bite-sized tidbits, my Twitter name is @KimSkildumReid.

Concise advice for sponsors

  • If you are a CEO, President, or Managing Director, stay the hell out of sponsorship decisions. You are out of your depth.
  • You can’t create a sponsorship strategy if you don’t have a brand strategy. They are interrelated. This is non-negotiable.
  • If you aren’t going to leverage a sponsorship, don’t invest. There is no bigger waste of money than an unleveraged sponsorship.
  • Leverage every sponsorship as if it were the Olympics – no branding and few benefits. It will make you more creative and strategic.
  • Don’t measure the sponsorship. Measure the leverage program and only measure against overall marketing and business objectives.
  • Always measure against objectives, using existing benchmarks, and with measurement methods already in use by your company.
  • Being loud and dominating the branding to the point of being intrusive will not endear you to your target market. Add value instead.
  • If you had the same budget and no commitments, what would your portfolio look like? Stop tweaking and consider the real potential.

Concise advice for sponsorship seekers

  • Don’t set your sponsorship target based on your financial need. Your commercial value and your financial need are never the same amount.
  • Don’t rely on your board for sponsorship money. They will attract small amounts – “go away money” – not the investment you need.
  • It’s not your job to leverage a sponsorship, but it’s always in your best interest to provide leverage ideas to your partners.
  • Don’t submit a sponsorship proposal through an online form. Ever. It’s a dead end. Go to the brand manager.
  • If you are in a meeting with a sponsor, and you’re talking more than they are, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Listen to them!
  • The likelihood of most sponsees finding a broker to sell sponsorship is 0%. Face the facts early: Raising that cash will be up to you.
  • Sponsors don’t want to align with you. Get over yourself. Sponsors want to align with their target markets. You are just a conduit.

Concise advice for everyone

  • The most important words in sponsorship are “win-win-win”. You win, your partner wins, & the target market wins. Tattoo them on your brain.
  • The most important party in any sponsorship is the audience. Disrespect them and everyone loses.
  • The best leverage programs emanate from collaboration between sponsor and sponsee. Creativity and open-mindedness is the key.
  • Letting a sponsorship stagnate isn’t good for anyone. Reinvent or say goodbye. Don’t let inertia rule your portfolio.
  • Contra/in-kind is worth what a sponsee would have to pay for it. Contra sponsors should be treated the same as an equivalent cash sponsor.

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