Make sponsorships count

Credit: Matthew Henry from Burst

Sponsoring is one of the more traditional ways of marketing that often businesses resort to by default, in response to all the sponsorship requests they receive. In a small country like Malta, turning down all sponsorship requests can get you a bad reputation. So businesses often find themselves signing up to help local causes, television programmes, and political parties. Marketeers have written a great deal about the topic and trying to draw an ultimate verdict is missing the point really. It’s not the concept of sponsorship that makes for good or bad marketing, but rather how you go about it. The most basic lesson is to stay away from default sponsorships (i.e. just sponsoring anyone that walks in). It’s important to assess each sponsorship request, and ideally have a basic strategy in advance to allow you to be more proactive with your sponsoring budget.

Choose the right type of sponsorship

If you have decided sponsorships are going to be part of your marketing or CSR strategy, start by narrowing down your objectives a bit further. To do this start by defining your objective more clearly. To do this consider three broad sponsorship groupings;

  1. BENEVOLENT SPONSORSHIPS: Sponsoring can have a “halo” effect on a company or brand by showing that you care. Whether you are sponsoring an environmental initiative, an animal welfare NGO or funding a local soup kitchen, there are almost an infinite number of causes out there that can help you get some CSR points. Sponsoring gives you some level of control on the way the money is spent, as opposed to outright donations.
  2. IMPACT SPONSORSHIPS: Sponsoring can also be a great way to get your company name out there. Whether you do this through social sponsorships or by sponsoring your favourite television show, there are many great ways to get your name noticed. When looking out for brand recognition you will want to consider some basic factors such as 1) target audience (is the cause or organisation you are sponsoring speaking to the audience you want to recognize your brand?),  2) reach (what is the size of the audience and how many people will be told that you sponsored the cause?), 3) reputation (are you comfortable being associated with the organisation you are sponsoring?) and finally 4) duration and intensity (you’re going to want to chose a sponsorship that allow’s your brand to feature for longer and more intensely to really get people’s attention).
  3. HIGH-RISK SPONSORSHIPS: High-risk sponsorships are those which have the potential to bring significant adverse impacts to your company, if things go wrong. But they can be interesting for companies because they are a sure way to create viral content. High-risk sponsorships are not for the feint-hearted and can put a strain on your company’s resources and attention. But if for some reason you do enter into a high-risk sponsorship (whether knowingly or accidentally) you’re going to want to monitor events extremely closely. It’s also advisable to prepare a number of reputational risk management scenarios. This will allow you to intervene rapidly and if necessary.

Triple Impact Sponsorships

One of the most impactful ways of sponsorship marketing is by using promotional products or items that are branded with your company name. And this is because it will give you a triple impact:

  1. Brand Recognition: the first impact will be the reach of the act of sponsoring itself. The organisation you are sponsoring will usually mention your sponsorship a number of time and this will boost your recognition among the target audience.
  2. Brand Followers: the recipients of the actual promotional product will be happy people, because everyone likes receiving something, whether it is a competition gift or a social handout. These people can potentially become your followers.
  3. Multiplier Effect: the recipients of your promotional product or gift will use the item. Their friends or family will spot the item and most likely will ask about it. Your gift suddenly becomes a desired item.

For more ideas about how to use promotional products to create impact marketing please remember to follow our Linkedin Page. If you have any questions or want some tailored advice please reach out to us.