Why…WHY do sponsors try so hard to over-complicate sponsorship? Somewhere, over the years, sponsorship has sunk into a morass of media equivalencies. Sponsorship became its own objective: Invest in the sponsorship, then count up how big the sponsorship is. Not to put too fine a point on it, but bloody hell. That’s like judging a meal by how many ingredients are used to make it!
I couldn’t be more delighted to see many sponsors leaving that old school thinking behind and embracing best practice. The Global Financial Crisis has been awful for many people and many companies, but it has done our industry a big favour. Suddenly, sponsor accountability has shot through the roof and the resulting uptake of best practice thinking has been staggering. (Need a primer on best practice sponsorship? Download “Last Generation Sponsorship”.)
That said, there is still a lot of room for improvement. So, for all of you sponsors who are resisting the change, I’m here to tell you, it’s not that hard. If you strip back all you think you know about sponsorship and concentrate on the strategy, you’ll find that best practice is very simple and very clearly the way forward.
Your mission for sponsorship is exactly the same as your mission for all marketing:
To be the natural choice for your target market.
If you strip all the extraneous hoo-ha back, what you really want – your Holy Grail – is for your target market to gravitate directly toward your brand, because they believe it is the right brand for them. They understand it. They like it. They know how it fits into their lives. And they believe it reflects who they are.
And when it comes to sponsorship objectives, well… there aren’t any. There are just overall marketing objectives, and every sponsorship should achieve a subset of those. And while those objectives can vary plenty between one sponsorship and another, and between one sponsor and another, they always, always come down to two things:
- Changing people’s perceptions
- Changing people’s behaviours
Yes, there are certainly skills and techniques to take up, and buy-in to secure, but you start by getting back to basics. You start by saying, “Okay, so why are we doing this? How can we use this to change how people think about our brand? Behave around our brand? How can we measure those changes?”
Start talking that, and people will start coming with you. Mark my words.
For all you need to know about best practice sponsorship selection, leverage, measurement, management, and more, you may want to get a copy of The Corporate Sponsorship Toolkit.
Need more assistance?
For all you need to know about best practice sponsorship selection, leverage, measurement, management, and more, you may want to get a copy of The Corporate Sponsorship Toolkit. If you need additional assistance with your sponsorship portfolio, I offer sponsorship consulting, sponsorship training, and strategy sessions. Please drop me a line to discuss.
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
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