Sponsorship is more than hanging a banner. It is also more than just linking with a property or superstar. If you cannot do it right, then get out. Every day, I see brands invest in sponsorship. They throw money at a rights fee and walk away. Or they pay a superstar athlete or celebrity a ton of cash to be their spokesperson, but fail to work with that person to make the partnership effective. Sometimes it is safer not to use such superstars!
Last month a real life example of “superstar sponsor endorsement” going wrong happened! It was a scenario that can happen despite the best intentions and best attempt at control. Samsung invested substantially in tennis superstar David Ferrer. Everyone thought it was such a great investment—great linkage, great spokesperson, lots of activation opportunities, and great brand presence. David even decided to get into the game a little more and support his sponsor, Samsung, which was sponsoring the upcoming Madrid Open. So Ferrer posted on Twitter about how much he loves his new Galaxy S4 smartphone and how he uses the “S Health” features in his training. Wow! What more could a sponsor ask for? Unfortunately they should have ensured he used a Samsung S4 smartphone when he tweeted, but who can control a superstar? He tweeted from his Apple iPhone. That resulted in a tag “via Twitter for iPhone” which the world saw on the social networking site. The tweet was later sent from the right device, but the damage was done as journalist Jamie Novoa, who spotted the original tweet, shared it with the world!
Brands large and small need to do better. They need to ensure they are activating and their property is delivering results. And properties need to know what they are selling and what it is worth. Properties must have real asset identification audits undertaken to ensure they know all the assets they have available, not just the naming rights. Then they must have all those assets individually valued in real market terms by an outside credible third party industry professional, not an ad agency, sponsorship sales brokerage, or brand integration company that can help them with brand and media buys, but cannot do an effective asset audit and valuation. They need to know what they have to sell or buy, its true market value and all the risk assessment that goes with that. Then they need to monitor and manage the activation. Don’t deliver a program without covering all the bases. Make sure you do it right or get out of the game.
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.
Brian: Read with interest your column and the current SPONSORSHIP world. It had to change as the world moved on. My time goes back a good number of years and I remember discussing gifts from local, national and international companies in relationship to a performance, sporting event or whatever and how it could be or would be handled. It was difficult at times to get an unanimous answer around a board table on the question of financial support. Times have changed and for the better.
Times really have changed, and for the most part for the better. Thanks for reading and you input. I hope all is well and I hope to see you in Edmonton soon. Brent