04 Sep Evaluating Sponsorship Opportunities
Have you ever received a sponsorship proposal and wondered whether to proceed with it? Here is a checklist of 10 points to consider to help you make a sound decision.
(1) Alignment with overall business objectives
Why are you considering this sponsorship? Fundamentally, there should be a sound business reason for your involvement. The sponsorship under consideration should align with one or more business objectives.
Some reasons why you might sponsor a property:
- A platform to build preference, loyalty, brand value and sales
- Create awareness and visibility
- Change or reinforce the perception of your brand through positive exposure
- Increase community involvement e.g. local sponsorships to foster home town community relationships
- Showcase social responsibility e.g. philanthropic partnerships
- Sample, display or showcase your products or services i.e. use the sponsorship property as a real life case study of how your products or services work
- Database capture for lead generation
- Entertainment of clients and prospects, providing the opportunity to surprise and delight, as well as foster relationships
- Access a platform for experiential branding
- Unite staff through employee engagement opportunities
- Showcase diversity programmes e.g. support of ethnic festivals
Remember, signing the sponsorship deal won’t achieve the business objective on its own. You will need to invest staff and dollars into effectively leveraging the sponsorship to make it successful.
(2) Target audience alignment with the sponsorship audience
The most important criteria when evaluating a sponsorship opportunity is ensuring that the sponsorship audience is aligned with your company’s ideal target audience.
Here is where a great partner can make a difference, by providing you with data and information to really understand the audience – their passions, why and how they are involved with the partner, their emotional and behavioural states. This will help you identify the role that you can play as sponsor in the brand experience, to truly engage with the target audience.
It’s not necessarily about the number of people who are attending – it’s more important to consider the number of people who will be impacted by your sponsorship i.e. those of the sponsorship’s target who will be interested in your products and services.
(3) Alignment with brand values
What are the brand values of your prospective partner’s brand? What does it stand for, what are the key attributes? Ensure these are a good fit with your company and your own brand’s moral compass.
If there are other sponsorship partners ensure they align with your brand also.
(4) Look at the sponsorship considerations that the partner is offering
The sponsorship considerations (rights and benefits) in the sponsorship proposal may include some of the following:
- Category exclusivity – do you have the right to be the exclusive sponsor in your category (e.g. the only bank, the only law firm….)
- Right to use a property’s marks and logos
- Access to a database to communicate with members
- Access to key stakeholders / forums for introductions
- Interaction with an active and engaged online community
- Branding on collateral
- Branding on your partner’s media buy
- Presence on your partner’s website and social media platforms
- On-site signage
- Title of a proprietary area
- Exhibit space
- Advertising opportunities
- Tickets and hospitality
Of the considerations on offer, which of these are extremely valuable, and what is a “nice to have”? Is there anything else that you would like to see included? You also need to think about what value you can bring to the sponsorship deal, and how you are going to leverage the sponsorship.
Look at the considerations as a starting point – most good partners are negotiable!
(5) Cost of the sponsorship
What is the cost of the sponsorship deal versus the value received? This requires some analysis to quantify the value of the sponsorship assets e.g. value of signage, media, tickets etc. Some elements may be difficult to place a commercial value on.
There are some other aspects of cost to consider also;
Does the deal necessarily need to be solely cash-based? Could you consider a combination of cash and an entitlement of your products/services, making the partner a brand ambassador and endorser for your company? Or perhaps, a transfer of skills – is there something that the partner does well, that you could learn from?
How much money are you saving through your sponsorship? If you’re acquiring customers through sponsorships, you may be saving money by reducing sales travel and entertainment expenses that are typically associated with nurturing leads.
What would be the impact on your brand and sales if a competitive brand had the sponsorship instead?
(6) Willingness of the sponsor organization to form a partnership
As with any true partnership, a sponsorship should have a solid foundation of good communication, integrity and respect.
Furthermore, the sponsor organization should show a willingness to understand your business, and what your reasons are for entering into the arrangement.
Ideally they will be flexible, and able to add or reduce benefits as required, to come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both parties.
(7) What value does your company bring to the sponsorship?
What can your organisation do to add value to the sponsorship? Think about the event experience itself, and the behaviour and motivations of fans or members.
There may be an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise or commitment, or to advance the association or industry.
Can you supply content, programmes, or special offers?
Fashion label Witchery is a great example of a company that has elevated a partnership to achieve a higher purpose. Their White Shirt campaign in support of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation uses fashion to fund ongoing research.
(8) How will your company leverage the sponsorship
Brainstorm ways that you can leverage the sponsorship beyond the event itself. What can you do before the event, during the event and post-event to maximize the sponsorship opportunity? e.g. through publicity and social media. How can you really “own” it?
Consider how the sponsorship can be leveraged across your various channels – consumer, retailer, sales force, on-line, distributor, and internal teams.
Are there opportunities to team up with other sponsors and co-promote?
(9) The fine print
A corporate sponsorship opportunity may involve signing a lengthy contract. Seek legal advice if the contract contains terms that you don’t understand.
(10) How are you going to capture data
Have a plan to capture data and then use this data to engage in meaningful conversations with your audience post-sponsorship.