What Makes a Sponsorship Thought Leader?

TunnelI was recently referred to an IEG blog post entitled, “Big Shift: IEG Paper Explores New and Better Way to Think about Sponsorship”. What’s new and better? According to the blog, there is a movement from “buying sponsorship” to “investing in partnership”.

Yeah, I know. I read it about five times before I believed what I was reading. This is new? IEG is calling this “new”?? On what planet is this new?!

So, while mopping up my keyboard from when my shock caused Coca-Cola to come out of my nose – which stings, by the way – I set about reading this ground-breaking paper.

I have to say, it’s reasonably sound stuff. There’s nothing new and nothing particularly inspiring, and they take a lot of pages to say not very much substantial, but I’m delighted to see that IEG is finally making an effort to catch up to what the rest of the industry already considers to be best practice.

That said, I think it is hilarious that they are framing the whole concept as some kind of major innovation, and themselves as if they are still part of the industry thought leadership. Where IEG used to have a lock on defining what was considered best practice in the US – whether it was global best practice, or not – this little thing called social media has come along and they can’t do that anymore. There are now hundreds of thought leaders from all over the globe, shaping and promoting best practice sponsorship on a daily basis.

IEG isn’t one of them – not at the moment, anyway. In 2011 and beyond, you have to earn your position as a thought leader, and claiming to be one isn’t the same as actually being one. That requires a lof of  hard work to stay ahead of the curve, a willingness to acknowledge great work of others (not just your clients), and a commitment to share knowledge freely. Full credit to them for taking a big step forward, though, and I hope they continue on to reclaim a spot among the thought leadership.

Looking for real thought leaders? Read these blogs…

Follow these people on Twitter… 

My recommendations are either credible sponsorship content creators or exceptional sponsorship content curators.

@KimSkildumReid (that’s me!)

@sports_business

@cannonjw

@BrianGainor

@Mahoney

@sponsorpark

@sponsorpitch

@Ben_Wells1

@JFavreau

@SponsorXchange

@DesperadoMKTG

@davidmarren

@krismnyc

@tariq_ahmad

@jaredmelzer

@leverageagency

@GailBower

@iSportconnect

@synergytim

@caroflorlatina

@KMacInnovation

@Hitchy1

@louisvilletroy

@DrewBedard

@meaghery

@MarketingProfs

@sponsorshiptips

@sbjsbd

(Easier, just follow my Twitter sponsorship list!)

Participate in this group on LinkedIn…

Sponsorship Insights – You’ll have to request to join, but it’s worth it!

(Note, I know there are a lot of other sponsorship-oriented LinkedIn groups. This one is particularly active and – big bonus – well moderated, for a welcome respite from spam.)

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