Knowing when a sponsorship is right for you and your brand

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Rachel LaManna
by Rachel LaManna
Director of Experiential Marketing

Strategic sponsorship and collaborations are efficient strategies to raise the profile and reputation of your company. In 2022, sponsors spent over $66 billion worldwide and that number is expected to grow to $108 billion by 2030.

And the increased investment has the potential for huge payoffs. According to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising, only recommendations from people and branded websites rank higher in consumer trust. It even outperforms placements from influencers. Plus, studies show sponsored events drive increases in brand affinity, loyalty, and purchase intent.

It starts with finding the right sponsorship

To get the performance you want, you need a sponsorship that works for your brand. Here’s how to find it:

  • Establish clear objectives that align with your brand's overall marketing strategy. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving site traffic, or lead generation, every sponsorship demands a clear focus.
  • Use your brand goals and values as the North Star. This humanizes your brand and focuses the experiences so you can create a more meaningful connection with your audience.
  • Look for the place where your brand values and the values of your audience intersect, and build from there. For example, an energy company could combine a community’s passion for green initiatives with their own goals and consider a sports team sponsorship to further amplify their message to mass audiences.

Find a contract that works for you

Once you determine your sponsorship direction, it’s important to negotiate a contract that’s beneficial to your brand.

  • Don’t sign the first draft! Work collaboratively to structure a contract that will drive your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for an inventory of assets to see all the options so you can choose what’s best suited for your KPIs.
  • Focus on the entire contract length rather than just one season. This lets you create interactive, emotional, relevant, and immersive touchpoints that last for the entirety of the contract.
  • Don’t raid all your budget for the sponsorship agreement. To create a good experience and leverage the passion of the sponsorship you should allocate 3x the cost of the sponsorship for activation.

Go beyond the logo and dream big

Some of the best sponsor activations are not on the traditional inventory list. They key to a successful sponsorship is creating a cohesive experience that engages, activates, and lasts well beyond the day of the event.

  • Engage consumers, and give them something they can share on social. The more people want to share your brand, the more reach you give your event
  • Use smart info capture techniques, through gamification, prizes, and more to create meaningful connections with your audience that last well after your sponsorship is over
  • Expand your footprint. When you create content at your sponsored event, you extend the legs of your experience. Broadcast on your channels or use them in paid media to give your sponsorship an extra boost

 What does success look like?

  • You don’t have to wait until the end of the sponsorship to start to measure. Align on KPIs early and measure them often, so you know how you can optimize performance over time.
  • Schedule check-ins for reporting periodically during the campaign, even if this is something your team handles internally. Review and adjust expectations or strategies if results are off.
  • Be transparent. Show the data before and after the sponsorship. In addition to quantitative data, also do some qualitative data to supplement, like perception studies or surveys.

When brands do sponsorships right, they have the power to drive results for years to come. These are the building blocks you can start with to grow your reach, lift your brand, and create meaningful interactions with your audience, from one person to thousands.