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 sponsor of”. They aren’t doing social posts or running ads in programs or whatever, talking about how they’re “proud sponsors of”, because that doesn’t say a single thing about the brand, except that you paid the money. It may as well read:
“Boring sponsor of…”
“Unsophisticated sponsor of…”
“Uninspired 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 my roundup of the Best of Resources for Sponsors.
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.
Back when I originally posted this blog, I got a message on Twitter saying, “What about P&G being a proud sponsor of mums during the London Olympics?” Great point. P&G actually turned that old-school phrase around to demonstrate their support, respect, and even love for, the fans, and have now turned it into an art form. I dare you to watch ads like this and not cry.
But like P&G, you can hack the phrase to showcase that for your brand, it’s not about the property, it’s about the fans, the mums, the unsung heroes, 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 white papers, “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“.
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.
© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.