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.
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.
You may be interested in my latest white paper, “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“.
Rightsholders, 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.
If you need professional assistance with sponsorship, 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/or decentralised organisations.
Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.