Sponsorship: the pros and cons
Finding the marketing strategy which suits your business best can be difficult. Here’s another option to throw into the mix: sponsorship. When done right it can do the world of good to your brand image and help drive sales, but it isn’t all plain sailing. Our expert guide explains how to make sponsorship work for your business and what you should avoid.
- Build awareness – The most obvious benefit of sponsoring events, charities or projects is that it builds awareness of your brand, exposing your business to a wider audience and giving them a positive association with your brand. When they’re looking to make purchases in your field, this could help persuade them to choose you over your competition.
- Consolidate expertise – If you choose to sponsor an event or organisation that aligns with your business goals and values, it can help position you as an expert in your field. An excellent example of this is our client Capital Space who sponsoring business awards in the areas where they have their business accommodation centres. Not only does this expose their brand to the companies who are nominated for the awards, but it shows their philosophy and motivation to support SMEs and work with them to facilitate their growth, which spreads the message of their Points of Difference from their competitors and supports their brand image.
- An excellent targeting tool – Knowing your target market is an important part of your marketing strategy, but once you’ve pinned down who your ideal customer is it can be a challenge to reach them. If you sponsor an aligned charity or event which is likely to attract your ideal clients, it can expose your brand to your target market customer.
- Potential controversies – It’s important to consider that the actions of any person/brand/event you sponsor will immediately be linked to you. Hopefully you will have already ensured that whoever you sponsor remains responsible and professional; however, sometimes you can run into problems. There are many examples of brand being tarnished by their sponsorship associations. One of the most infamous has to be cyclist Lance Armstrong, who lost eight sponsors – and reportedly $75million in one day – when it was confirmed that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
- No guaranteed returns – As with all marketing strategies, there is no guaranteed return on investment. However, you can take steps to ensure that you get what you consider to be appropriate exposure for your support; this is more than advisable, it is crucial, as otherwise you could end up with no benefits at all. We had a client who sponsored a local football team, but didn’t agree any terms; it took us months to arrange a photo of the players in the kit so that we could create some PR around the sponsorship – as far as the club were concerned, they didn’t have to deliver anything in return for the cheque.
How can I make sponsorship work?
If you want to make sponsorship work, you will need to do your homework and ensure you have considered all the positives and negatives of the deal. Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Think commercially – If you are sponsoring someone, you want to make a return on your investment. If they don’t get you the exposure you are after, or you are not able to capitalise on your sponsorship to secure your own exposure, then it may not be a worthwhile venture.
- Get the right fit – You want to sponsor something which adds value to your business as well as you adding value to theirs. Sponsor a brand which fits your business’s key values and services, for example if you brand yourself as an eco-friendly company, you might want to consider sponsoring an environmental charity.
- Get everyone on board – If your business is a sponsor, it’s important to ensure that all the staff are on board and realise the benefits your sponsorship can bring to them.
If you’re after a new marketing strategy that will give your brand new exposure, you might want to consider sponsorship – an excellent way to build up your brand awareness as well as associate your brand with goodwill and a positive image. But be careful! Learn from mistakes of other companies so that your sponsorship deal is watertight and puts your business in a strong position.
To find out more about how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing, email email@example.com
Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Sharp Minds offers brand development, digital marketing, offline marketing and public relations to businesses across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. You can see what our customers say about us here.
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