Years ago I remember having a lengthy discussion with a veteran public affairs director over the value of sponsorship from both sides of the opportunity.
Too often it seems when seeking sponsorship the money is considered as just a donation. Now companies don’t sponsor anything really from the bottom of their hearts, they will want a return on their investment.
In fact they are going to want a big bang for their bucks. It’s all a matter of ensuring the deal is sweet from both sides.
Like it or not, sponsorship small or large will have strings attached.
Now the key is to know what the sponsors are likely to be looking for. Meet these objectives and you will have not any issues, you may even ending up with sponsors lining up next time.
Why Companies do it
Promotion of Corporate ID
This means they are promoting their logo, name, brand, website and may even be using a targeted description of their services for a specific sponsorship and audience. Be very aware of this. You need to provide for these elements and distribute them well. Failure to do so with effect any repeat business.
Also remember sponsors have a network too, you don’t want to get a bad reputation.
Marketing or Promotional Support
Often companies run a promotion or secondary marketing campaign that may tie into a sponsorship they are doing. This means there will be very good reasons why they are using a specific banner or logo or the like, as it maybe part of an extended campaign you are not aware of. Best thing to do is ask, never assume.
This may seem very simple but companies are chasing after your audience, they are after sales or at least brand recognition from their sponsorship, they want the opportunity to focus on your audience as it’s often their audience in part as well.
Client Entertainment or Education
Besides the corporate branding and marketing angles, often a company will want to use the sponsorship of an event or the like as a vehicle to bring their clients along, with the aim of both educating and entertaining them. It’s a good idea to ask a sponsor if they are going to do this, maybe offer discount tickets or at the very least preferential seating at an event.
Employee RewardsSimilar to the client entertainment a company may use an event or corporate sponsorship benefits as an incentive to their staff. From discount tickets, celebrity access, to specialised services all these are on offer. In order for a company to do this it’s going to need to have a reasonable time frame for organisational aspects of the deal.
Public Relations Benefits
Companies like to promote they are sponsoring your organisation, be it in kind, money or the like.
They use this to show they understand the needs of their community and will often self promote their sponsorship deals. However you need to ensure you give their PR machine time to work and organise these promotional benefits.
Celebrities, speakers, sporting stars or the like can be big draw-card from a sponsor. They will expect to get priority access to these people, at they very least an introduction.
For some organisations these are the only benefits or draw-cards they have for their sponsors. It’s a hard one ethically in a way, but these “assets” should be used for the organisation to a limited degree.
The key is to just give sponsors the access and promotional opportunities that they are looking for, this maybe from involvement in promotional advertising to a simple meet and greet.
Often an event will be used as direct sales lead generator for a sponsor. This maybe from a door prize or business card drop competition to a promotional exhibition stand or table. The thing is to discuss this with the sponsor and their intent. After all they want leads from the event too.
Often big sponsorship deals will expect an open line to like businesses and a direct networking opportunity with access to a network of “C” level contacts. CEO to CEO engagement can be critical for some companies for intra business networking. An organisation should facilitate this networking at least by introductions to the relevant people to the sponsor.
General community perception and attitude towards an organisation can be critical, this perception of a companies image can be enhanced by positioning themselves with an worthy organisation; and hence enhancing their public perception.
This does mean you should have your own public relations pack ready for the sponsor to use, so they get your promotional aspect right and don’t muddy your own brand.
As long as you have a good image the sponsor will want to be associated with you.
This is usually one of the bottom line aspects for any company sponsoring an organisation or event. It becomes critical that the organisation has the right logos and information about the sponsor. That the sponsors branding and message is right. Get this wrong and the sponsor will feel that the money has been wasted.
If memory serves me right that should be all of them. Mind you I’m bound to have missed some, if so just drop me a note below.