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How to Make Sponsorship Work

Whether you have been talked into it by your kids, or the marketing team have twisted your arm to say yes; agreeing to sponsor something is a common occurrence in business. Once agreed, it then becomes the marketing team or marketing persons task as to how to make sponsorship work for the benefit of the business.

When you buy any sponsorship, you are buying opportunity, not guaranteed results. From any sponsorship point of view, it is leverage that provides the results. This is especially so for naming rights sponsorship’s, except the opportunity is that much bigger, and if you don’t make something of it, the opportunity wasted is massive.

In my opinion its critical for you to have some Naming Rights Sponsorship’s for your business, in fact I’d go as far as to say that you’d be a mug if you didn’t do it quickly … and here is why and even more importantly how to make them work.

In this podcast I outline what to do, how to do it and some great sponsorship examples that you could use in your business. Better still I outline hands on advice as to how to make any sponsorship work.

Please take a listen.

Podcast Transcript 

This afternoon I walked past Optus Stadium on the banks of the Swan River in my beautiful hometown of Perth Western Australia.

The stadium is not that old and during its construction it was known as Perth Stadium. At completion the government made the decision to sell naming rights and although it was a little controversial at the time – the desire to recoup some of the nearly $2 billion it cost to build was overwhelming.

Optus is said to have paid around $50 million for a 10-year long sponsorship, and in doing so the venue is now known as Optus Stadium with a massive logo and Yes prominent in the façade day and night.

The longer the sponsorship goes the more seamless the fit and nowadays except for the former Premier of WA who got ousted at the last election everybody has Optus Stadium roll off their tongues.

As we know, brand-building is a full-time pursuit of marketers, and major stadiums and sports teams can significantly create or enhance brand awareness. Whenever a game is played, it’s almost unavoidable for cameras to pick up shots of the stadium and for sportscasters to mention the facility many times. Additional mentions also occur when any major venue or team news breaks. Intense media attention in sport and entertainment (because modern stadia are now really entertainment venues and major super stars end up playing in them) are significant in getting a brand name into the public consciousness.

The thing to keep in mind however is that when you buy any sponsorship, you are buying opportunity, not guaranteed results. From any sponsorship point of view, it is leverage that provides the results. This is most definitely no different for naming rights, except the opportunity is that much bigger, and if you don’t make something of it, the opportunity wasted is massive.

When it comes to naming rights, there is no messing around and no middle ground. Either you’re in it, boots and all, or you’re a money-wasting chump

So, in the Optus Stadium example they have worked to build brand presence like no other.

Securing the naming rights has opened the door to almost unlimited brand exposure without the usual high cost of advertising.

And, better still this brand association also builds trust with audiences, and therefore growing a large populous of brand-aware future customers, which should see an increase in sales over time and for time to come.

Ok, I can hear you! That’s ok for Optus – Peter but what does this have to do for me and my business?

In fact I put it to you – its critical to have your Naming Rights Sponsorships in your business as well, in fact I’d go as far as to say that you’d be a mug if you didn’t seriously sign up to one… so here is why and even more importantly how to make sponsorship work.

Now, let’s look at this in action with a couple of great examples that I have worked on…

From the simple a mortgage broker who decided to sponsor her child’s basketball team through to a butcher who has sponsored BBQ Smokin’ Competitions and an Interior Designer who actually invented their own event kept the naming rights for it and sold off sponsorship to other businesses.

Let’s start with the mortgage broker…

Smaller community events are a great way to get started if your business happens to sit at the smaller end of the spectrum.

For instance, sponsoring grass roots football clubs, minor championships or the like, is a great way to get your company logo noticed on jerseys or event banners. Local events and charitable causes can also be an effective way for businesses to get noticed and be seen to be supporting local initiatives.

In this lady’s case she had no option her basketball playing son insisted. I bet a lot of you in business with children playing sport have had your arm twisted once or twice in this very same manner.

As already discussed, sponsorship is an opportunity and that is what we had to plan for to make this basketball opportunity work for our mortgage broking client.

Sure, there were the usual logo opportunities and signage but nobody even knew what the logo was nor what it did.

But we needed more than that.

My client needed business from this sponsorship or at least leads better still calls from people who needed refinancing – so this was the challenge how to use this sponsorship to get in front people and do a mortgage health check.

She negotiated articles in the club newsletter,

Pictures of people she had helped in the newsletter and on the club’s social media accounts.

The opportunity to send her own newsletter to parents was displayed at game days and sign up forms were distributed.

Testimonials from the club were placed on her website to build value in the relationship.

And a special seminar on How to seek finance was hosted and promoted by the club to parents which was well attended.

In truth it has worked, yes it took work, but it worked.

Next up the butcher lending its name to the BBQ Smokin’ events. This was a great fit. Smokers love their meat and when they buy meat, they buy up big. Also, when they cook it as a group they like to assemble in large numbers and do overnighters cooking the meat they love and sharing tips and techniques amongst their tribes of followers and friends.

So, the initiative we came up with was to hold at least 2 events a year in the grounds of the carpark of where our butcher was located. This not only allowed direct access to the butcher shop and its produce, but it also allowed for in store promotions to reward current customers of the butcher to come down and sample some tasty smoked BBQ produce…

You can imagine the social media buzz that can be created at a Smokin’ event is huge but same too local newspaper, community radio and even TV all got on board. The butcher has gone further teaming with Smokers’ in creating special recipes and recipe cards which are in store plus sent via his newsletter to his customers.

This butcher shop has positioned itself as the home of Smokin’ Meat a pretty good place to be if you are a butcher, don’t you think?

And then the most innovative example was that of our interior designer.

This all started with an apartment developer who was building 300 apartments in a high-rise tower.

They had Presales – but had some left and the ground floor retail was vacant and needed activation.

She had been chosen as one of 3 designers that an apartment developer would recommend when it came to FFE

Reading the play, the developer’s needs for settlement and sales plus activation – and the apartment buyers needs we came up with a design exhibition.

Quirk of interior design – win / win for Suppliers

3 levels of fit out all sponsored by the suppliers – furniture, rugs, lamps, paintings, electronics, knock knacks and the like.

Also, the well- heeled – were catered for with the latest BMW’s on offer.

Come event promotion – the developer Invited buyers and potential buyers.

The suppliers invited their database.

Same too the designer with her undecided prospects.

Funnily enough if you can create a buzz and get a crowd the media will follow as well with TV, Radio and Newspapers all attending. So too, social media as this event was social media nirvana.

Yes, these all take work. Yes, these involve going out of your comfort zone but imagine what your business would be like if you have your version of Optus Stadium.


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