Sponsorship is an integrated marketing medium. I am not sure how many times I have had to say this, and still it needs repeating. I see it too often-brands buy sponsorship and think it is a stand-alone product. It will do all the things you want-create reach and brand awareness, drive traffic, engage employees, etc. Well, it can, but it needs help.
As discussed last week, activation is an essential part of any sponsorship plan. And this is where integration comes in. Sponsorship needs to use or be supported by media, investor relations, public relations, government relations, human resources, and so on. We encourage our clients who have invested in a sponsorship to deliver employee engagement as part of the objective, to embrace the sponsorship in the employee newsletter, run special “lunch ‘n’ learns,” undertake educational opportunities, and have it flow through their Facebook pages, as well as intranet and internal employee communications. Unless you communicate with your staff, they cannot engage and embrace.
The same goes for external objectives. If the goal is to drive store traffic, there must be a media or social media campaign. You need to market. You need to let your customers and the property’s constituents know of your affinity with the property and drive traffic accordingly. If it is a retail campaign, you also need to communicate to the people on the front line at the retail stores.
When we launched a Harvey’s Restaurants campaign with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club and its mascot “Harvey the Hound,” it was done at the Saddledome with all the store staff on site. The staff learned about the promotion, the sponsorship, the traffic they would see, how the program worked, etc. The staff got a building tour, met Harvey and Flame players and went home with gifts. That campaign delivered double digit lift to the restaurant chain in Calgary, while the national growth that year was less than one percent. The campaign was supported by commercials in the broadcast media on radio as well as live on-site radio remotes with Harvey the Hound. It is critical to communicate your sponsorship, or it is dead before you pay the first installment on the rights fee!
Former head of Olympic Marketing at Lloyds Banking Group in the UK Gordon Lott noted: “Sponsorship must always be seen within a wider brand marketing portfolio. It should be part of an integrated strategy to help businesses meet their objectives.”
I could not have said it better!
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.
The best sponsorships are always about leveraging the property across the various communications and marketing tools internally and externally and creating synergies. Of course, that can (and often does) involve money, but there are also so many creative non and/or little monetary ways to achieve business objectives — it never fails to amaze me how companies forget the leverage offered by employee participation, other corporate or community partners, or synergies with other initiatives . . . let alone the “value” it may offer to other stakeholders, whether they be Government, community or customers. Expand your thinking and your chances of having a great result will expand as well!
Thanks Ron… very well said!