The Difference between a “Presenting” Sponsorship and an Engaged One

The Difference between a “Presenting” Sponsorship and an Engaged One

OK, let’s leave the naming rights proposals and packages out of this conversation. That is a whole other subject for another time. I keep hearing from brands that “We need to be in a recognized position.” They want a top tier sponsorship at the event, conference, or with the team or property. They talk about wanting or needing to be a presenting sponsor. I try to tell them what they need is to be noticed, recognized, and remembered. That is not necessarily gained by being the presenting sponsor.

Then I hear from the properties how they need a presenting a sponsor. What they really need is someone to give them money, and to be a great partner who will activate and engage the audience. No one really needs a presenting sponsor. That is just an old-fashioned title or entitlement that we should have moved beyond by now!

A presenting sponsor title is just that. It delivers nothing for the brand or property other than a name placement. No one remembers them. No one says, “Hey, that was a great country concert! I had so much fun. And so fantastic that ABC Company was the presenting sponsor!” No one says, “Hey, I need to get to the liquor store and buy that wine because ABC Winery was the presenting sponsor.” No one says, “I want to go online and check out ABC Swimsuits because I saw they were presenting sponsor at that beach festival.” Sorry, but those things don’t happen because you bought or sold the positioning of presenting sponsor.

Those reactions happen when ABC Company makes the concert more memorable because they gave everyone ponchos when it rained and a coupon for 30% off on western wear at their local store. That is memorable, engaging, and helped to make an experience better! That’s why we remember ABC Company.

We go to that wine store or distribution outlet to buy their wine because we sampled it, or bought it at the event and loved it. We went online to check out a bathing suit because we saw it displayed and fashioned by the staff, volunteers, or whomever at the festival. We saw something we liked, or it enhanced our experience and we wanted to access more of the experience. The sponsorship works when it engages audiences and creates a positive impression of the brand in the mind of the event participant. That’s what drives traffic and sells product. If you want to put up a banner and say you are the presenting sponsor, have at it. That is the “add-on,” not the meat and potatoes of the investment.

Make sure your next sponsorship buy or sale has the meat and potatoes. Make sure it is about engagement, not the fluff or add-on element.

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  1. The same can be said, obviously, for venue naming rights that have zero engagement and/or activation to them. It is also an ego play for many CEOs.
    Great read as always!

    • Well noted Josh!


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