Like so many people in recent days, I’ve been giving ChatGPT a run. And like so many people, I’ve found it to be fun… and amazing… and slightly freaky. After trying a bunch of quite silly queries, I decided to see what it knows about sponsorship. The answer is quite a lot, if you don’t care about the quality of the answers.
While a few of the answers to my questions were pretty good, many were reflective of best practice sponsorship 25 or more years ago. I’m aware that ChatGPT learns what it needs to know from a vast text database of publications, articles, academic papers, Wikipedia, and more, but I was hoping that the scales on sponsorship punditry had tipped toward modern, accountable, best practice sponsorship. If this is indicative of some average of what’s out there and teaching AI, it’s not good.
Below are a few of the questions I asked, ChatGPS’ answers, and my take on where it went wrong, as well as what it got right. That’s right, I’m arguing with ChatGPT – LOL! But the bigger take is around the content that’s teaching this AI, and what that means for real people looking for good advice around this industry.
ChatGPT answered… Corporate sponsorship can provide several benefits to brands, including:
Overall, corporate sponsorship can be a valuable marketing tool for brands to improve their image, increase brand awareness, reach their target audience, and ultimately increase sales and revenue.
Wow, where to start?
Brand awareness is squarely first generation, while sponsorship is now at fourth (or last) generation sponsorship. Awareness in and of itself doesn’t change people’s perceptions, behaviours, or alignment toward a brand. For more on sponsorship generations, read my white paper, “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux“.
The take on “positive brand image” implies that there is passive image transfer, and that an audience will imbue a property’s values and attributes onto the sponsor, when there’s no indication that actually happens, particularly in a sea of sponsor logos. Brands can absolutely use sponsorship to actively underpin authentic brand positioning, but expecting people to align just because a sponsor is there is unrealistic.
Accessing target markets is a furphy. (That’s Australian for “a convenient lie”.) Brands don’t need sponsorship to access a market. With microtargeting, they can access the exact same market without any sponsorship at all. There are many, many selling points for sponsorship, but this isn’t one of them – at least not anymore.
Increased sales and competitive advantage are fair enough, but the implication that simply associating with popular events or activities is going to accomplish these things is flatly wrong.
For a big running start on the trends, tech, and drivers that make modern sponsorship really work, read my white paper, “Disruptive Sponsorship“.
ChatGPT answered… A successful sponsorship proposal should be clear, concise, and tailored to the specific needs and objectives of the sponsor. Here are some of the most important things to include in a sponsorship proposal:
Overall, a successful sponsorship proposal should be persuasive, professional, and focused on the needs and objectives of the sponsor. By including these key elements, the proposal can help establish a strong partnership between the sponsor and the sponsored party.
Okay, so this isn’t all bad, but if someone takes this advice, they’re not going to see much sponsorship sales joy.
An executive summary is just an invitation for a sponsor to read that page and then look at the price, skipping any actual business case. A sponsorship proposal should NOT have an executive summary. That said, an overview of the property is absolutely recommended.
Sponsorship packages? That loud noise you just heard was my head exploding. No, don’t include sponsorship packages with the fee and deliverables. This is basically just gold-silver-bronze levels, which is extremely counterproductive. Why? Read this: The Problem with Sponsorship Levels. The brand alignment piece is fine, but if you’re going to go through the trouble to do all of this background research, why wouldn’t you customise the offer?
In theory, an activation (leverage) plan is great, but it shouldn’t be outlining how the sponsor will be integrated with the property, but what the sponsor can do with the sponsorship through all their available channels, to achieve their goals with target markets.
This ROI piece is just stupid. Rightsholders are in no position to tell a sponsorship how the sponsorship performed against their overall marketing objectives and benchmarks. For more on sponsorship measurement, read: Sponsorship Measurement: How to Measure What’s Important
For a quick primer on what goes into a solid, best practice sponsorship proposal, watch Sponsorship Proposal Basics in About 15 Minutes.
A glutton for punishment, I dug deeper into the ChatGPT sponsorship measurement rabbit hole…
ChatGPT answered… The measurement of sponsorship results is critical to understanding the effectiveness and return on investment (ROI) of a sponsorship. Brands can use a variety of methods to measure the results of their sponsorships, including:
Again, this isn’t all wrong, but where it misses the mark, it REALLY misses the mark.
Brand exposure? Brand awareness? Basically the same thing, and both first generation sponsorship. Changing perceptions, increasing preference, and increasing loyalty are all great measures, but they have bloody nothing to do with awareness.
Sales and revenue are fine measures, as far as they go. You need to get the funnels and mechanisms right, otherwise it’s hard to get accurate figures across the long- and short-term.
ROI implies that there will be some dollars-to-dollars figure for sponsorship measurement. But that requires meat-grindering a bunch of non-financial, but completely real, sponsorship outcomes into some kind of arbitrary dollar figure. The entire premise is ridiculous. Again, I suggest you read Sponsorship Measurement: How to Measure What’s Important
The final paragraph is the best of the lot, and gets measurement pretty right. Of course, it contradicts much of the previous advice.
The ChatGPT fixation on enhancing reputation, aligning with the property (not the fans and/or customers), and building awareness as the big contributors to making sponsorship work is troublesome. The fact that ChatGPT learned all of that piffle from theoretically credible content is plain flat depressing. It means that when a sponsorship beginner goes searching for good information, they’re going to run into far more bad advice than good.
And there is some great sponsorship advice out there. This whole website is all about skilling up, but there are plenty of others. And while those other great sponsorship content creators and I might disagree on some of the finer points, none of us are suggesting dialling the clock back to 1995.
You may also be interested in my white papers, “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“. I’ve also got self-paced, online sponsorship training courses for both sponsors and rightsholders. Interested? Check out the Corporate Sponsorship Masterclass for sponsors and Getting to “Yes” for rightsholders.
If you need additional assistance with your sponsorship portfolio, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer Sponsorship Systems Design for large and/or diverse organisations. Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.
© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.