Why “Proud Sponsor Of” is the Most Worthless Phrase in Sponsorship

Old fashioned poison bottle.Oh, how I hate those words. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that those three words can be among the most telling in sponsorship.

You don’t see the great sponsors saying “Proud sponsors of”. Ever. If you see that line used in conjunction with a sponsorship, you can be almost assured that the leverage plan is weak to non-existent, along with their results. It may as well read:

“Understaffed sponsor of…”

“Boring sponsor of…”

“Unsophisticated sponsor of…”

“Lazy sponsor of…”

I understand that sometimes it’s all you can do. Maybe a sponsorship has been thrust upon you at the last minute. Maybe your CEO’s pet project is so off-strategy that any amount of leverage would be pointless. Maybe you’ve simply got too many sponsorships to effectively leverage them individually. Maybe the sponsorship is stale and you’ve still got time on the contract. Maybe the culture around sponsorship in your company is more about enjoying the perks than doing the work (it happens). Or maybe your company just lacks the vision or skills to make the most of a valuable marketing investment.

But that’s exactly my point. If you’re using throwaway words like “Proud sponsor of” with any regularity, it’s a sign that something is fundamentally wrong with your sponsorship program and you need to sort it out. Sponsorship is a finite resource, and every day it goes poorly leveraged is a day you’ll never get back.

To start your sponsorship program back toward the right track, you may benefit from checking out the following resources:

Whatever the underlying issues, they can be fixed, and the time to do it is now… before you ever use the phrase “Proud sponsor of” again.

Update: The exception

As soon as I posted this, I got a message on Twitter saying, “What about P&G being a proud sponsor of mums during London 2012?” Great point. They actually turned that old-school phrase around to demonstrate their support, respect, and even love for, the fans. Like P&G, you can hack the phrase to showcase that for your brand, it’s not about the event, it’s about the fans, the mums, the people we can all identify with. And if you do that, tell me all about it, because I love that stuff.

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.

Kim Skildum-Reid
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265


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