Doing Sponsorship Right

Last week, I was reminded how to do sponsorship right. I was chatting with a couple of industry leaders.

We were discussing different sponsorship marketing programs in Canada and which of them are working well. During the conversation, we talked about different brands and properties and that they should enter the upcoming Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada Marketing Awards. There are some really great programs out there, but measurement is essential. If you cannot measure success, how can you determine if the program is worthy of an award, let alone a renewal investment? That is essential.

Then I recounted a sponsorship story that I will never forget. It is personal. It is about my daughter. I had nothing to do with the program itself, except through her involvement. Many of you have heard me tell this story at conferences and such. It is worth repeating, because to me, it is the epitome of sponsorship. It is anecdotal, but it is measurable in my mind. It works. In fact, it works really well.

My daughter was four years old at the time. (She is now six.) She decided that she wanted to play soccer. So, she signed up for Timbit’s soccer in Calgary. To my understanding, Tim Horton’s (hence the name Timbit’s Soccer) pays a very low rights fee to Soccer Canada compared to some its other national sponsors. But they activate well and do it right.

For $50, she got to play eight games that spring and be included in a tournament. She also got a Timbit’s team soccer shirt, a Timbit’s knapsack, a Tim Horton’s water bottle, soccer socks, team and individual pictures, and a Tim Horton’s medal at the end of the season. All of this for $50! Man, we could not go wrong. As a parent, am I ever pleased that Tim’s is a sponsor, because the entry price is right and we get real value for that investment. It was a great season.

It is important to note that, at that time, when my daughter was four, she had never eaten a donut in her life or been inside a Tim Horton’s restaurant.

That summer, we were driving through Saskatoon to visit my father-in-law and sister-in-law. We were stopped at a red light and my daughter piped up from the back seat, “Hey Daddy, there’s a Tim Horton’s.” She was correct. Across the road was a Tim’s. I turned back to her and said, “Hey, you are four years old. You can’t read. How do you know what that says?” She confidently replied, “They are the people that make soccer happen.” I was shell shocked! (I shouldn’t have been. I am in the industry and earn a living from it.) I asked her if she wanted to go into Tim’s. Again, she confidently replied, “No, they just serve coffee in there and I don’t drink coffee.” (I am so thankful for that answer.)

So does sponsorship work? Yes, it does. Is it measurable? Yes, it is. When it is done right and activated, it works. My daughter’s experience with Tim Horton’s is the best example I know. And just for the record, she has since been in Tim’s and loves donuts! What can I say? Tim’s investment worked.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well, please comment below. And thank you for reading.

Brent Barootes

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