Selling Multi-Brand Sponsorship: The Cheat Sheet

I wrote a post a few months ago about negotiating and managing multi-brand sponsorship. Then, just this past week, I stumbled across a 2013 post by Oxfam, showcasing the best performers in their Behind the Brands Scorecard. That is, in and of itself, really interesting and should be read, but they also created an immensely useful infographic for understanding what companies own what brands in the consumer foods space.

You’ll see that ten giant companies – which Oxfam estimates cumulatively sell US $1.1 billion a day – own almost every major food brand we see in our grocery stores. The infographic is over 18 months old and may be a little out of date, but would still be very close to the current situation.



Selling Multi-Brand Sponsorship: The Cheat SheetTo read the whole fascinating article, “10 everyday food brands – and the few companies that own them”, and see a much larger version of this great infographic, just follow this link to the article on Oxfam.

How you can use this infographic

As much of a supporter of Oxfam’s good work as I am, I saw this chart and all I could think of was all the ways sponsorship seekers could use this to do their jobs better. Here are a few that came to mind…

Identify (some) related brands

This infographic gives you a huge, running start on understanding the depth and breadth of these companies’ brand portfolios. But please be advised that some of these companies have divisions that aren’t represented at all. For instance, Unilever has a whole raft of personal care and home care products that aren’t on the list at all. (Here’s a link to all of them.)

Get a sense of how related they are

This is a tricky one. Just because General Mills owns dozens of brands doesn’t mean that they are automatically related to each other. The various divisions – indicated by the sub-groupings – may have almost nothing to do with each other, particularly in big markets. Smaller markets probably run with leaner teams, and that often leads to more collaboration between those teams.

If you want sell to multiple brands owned by one company, but in different divisions, they could be sold together or as totally separate deals. The only way to know is to be upfront when approaching them. You could say, “We think Lipton is the perfect match for this, but we would also like to approach Ben & Jerry’s in the ice cream category. Should we craft a proposal incorporating both, or would Unilever consider that as two different sponsorships?”

Give you a running start to know who to contact

If you’re going to approach a company for multi-brand sponsorship within one brand group (recommended), you need to find a marketing decision-maker who works across the group. That is likely to be something like, “Group Brand Manager – Chocolate” or “VP Marketing – Cereals” or “Group Marketing Director – Frozen”. In other words, you’re looking for either a major title (eg, Vice President) or the word “Group”, followed by a description of the category. That might help you with your Google/LinkedIn search for your best contact.

Understand potential exclusivity issues

This is a trick that some companies try. They say they’re only sponsoring with one brand, so should only be paying for the benefits they’ve got, but they define their exclusivity across a big swath of their brand portfolio. This allows them to block their competitors, but it stops you from selling other categories. For instance, let’s say you have a breakfast category to sell, as well as a snack food. You may approach a Kellogg’s breakfast cereal brand, but you should know that they also own a range of snack foods. What you don’t want to do is sell exclusivity to Kellogg’s across other categories, if they’re only taking up one category of sponsorship.

This isn’t something you should necessarily be pro-active about, but do be vigilant. If you are only pursuing one category, ensure your proposal, and all subsequent communications right up to the contract, very clearly spell out the degree of category exclusivity they are getting. If they try to extend that, you can offer to sell them another sponsorship for one of their brands in that category, or tell them that you will need to increase the price to make up for the revenues you can’t pursue. If they start throwing their weight around, you’ve got a Sponzilla on your hands and you should think very carefully about whether you want to do business with them.

Get your creative juices going

Maybe you’ll identify some potential multi-brand sponsorships on this infographic, and maybe you won’t. But what it should do is put you in the right headspace to do it. Instead of just thinking about one, obvious brand that might sponsor your category, do a quick search and find out…

  • Who owns that brand
  • What other brands they own
  • How they divide those brands into categories

Need more assistance?

For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition. You may also be interested in my latest white paper, “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“.

If you need additional assistance, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive sponsorship capacity-building service for large, diverse, and decentralised organisations.

Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.

Please note, I do not offer a sponsorship broker service, and can’t sell sponsorship on your behalf. You may find someone appropriate on my sponsorship broker registry.

© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.

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