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Increasingly, leisure and entertainment activities are flooded with the presence of brands. Sponsorship, an indisputable marketing tool, has become a platform and vehicle for multiple actions that would not be possible without the presence of sponsors and partners. At the same time, sponsorship, and especially its activation, has been transformed to become a fundamental element in the positioning of an institution or brand unquestionably linking the product or service to the sponsored activity, the latter serving as a vehicle Of transmission of company values.
Although it is not its goal, the effectiveness and pricing of a sponsorship are generically measured by the television coverage it obtains, resulting in a curious paradox: it shies away from conventional advertising to finish valuing the amount of time that spectators. They pass in front of the television watching a certain event. The result is a biased return approach.
An appropriate strategy should be your starting point which, followed by a systematic, holistic approach, will lead to effective sponsorship. It is much more than a logo in a space, you should add to your brand an experience materialized in the sponsored team.
What steps should you follow? This article will present some of the guidelines for an effective sports sponsorship.
Analyze the sports event
Make an initial analysis of the event, activity, entity or sportsperson to sponsor. You should check the geographical scope, the time, its implementation and the category. Having clear the starting point and the true dimension or orientation of the sponsored event will resolve future doubts and surprises.
After initial analysis, follow it up with a detailed analysis of notoriety and positioning. Based on the above analysis, check the historical, repercussion by the public, participants, media, public opinion, etc. of the sponsored event or team.
Learn from the experience of others
Previous experience of other sponsors. It is of great value to have a reference, regardless of the reason, to quantify the effectiveness of the sponsorship and to be able to extrapolate it to our case.
Set how much will you invest
Total investment including activation. You must differentiate between the budget itself and the budget you need to maximize the action: conventional campaigns, promotions, sampling, merchandising, social media, etc … Bearing in mind that this second part can multiply by two the final amount. You have to ask yourselves if it is profitable or if you need that association. At this point you have to define the objective of the sponsorship and if it fits your objective and budget.
Determine your target audience
You can know which team to sponsor will be effective, but it is more important to determine and set your goal. You must have a very defined public map both by profile and by quantitative assessment. You should also define the current public sentiment and what you want to achieve with media coverage. For this, you will use contrasting data from previous editions in addition to the own reports of the organizers. Sponsorship allows a reasonable level of segmentation, but you need to know the target profiles.
Value your sponsored team or athlete
Value the experience and efforts of the promoters of the sponsored team and the company or institution that implements it. The activities already done will serve as a guide. In the case of a team or sportsman, its profile and previous positioning is a key element for its choice and suitability.
Determine the compatibility
Not all sponsorships are suitable for all products. There must be consistency between the image of the product/brand and the sponsored. Just as you follow the same line of communication with other marketing tools, sponsorship can not be affected by personal decisions based on hobbies or friendships, as the result can negatively influence the public’s perception of your business.
Return of investment
It is the great question of any communication strategy. What is the ultimate goal? Positioning, increased sales, customer loyalty, notoriety… The approach must be devised beforehand. You should also set how to quantify this return, cost per impact and all kinds of more qualitative approaches such as the image you are going to offer and the concept associated with it.
Think of possible alternative
You have to study whether, with the same investment in other channels, ATL or BTL, the return may be similar. Coherence, logic, and optimization are the three rules to follow. In the case of wanting to continue sponsorship, you should also evaluate the possibility of exchange, if the activity allows since in this case, you can multiply the profitability in relation to the investment made.
If, after studying all of the above, the result leads you to close the deal of sponsorship agreement, you must contractually detail the counterparts in presence, both time and space, and media coverage, in addition to reflecting the activities or parallel actions to be performed. Without forgetting all aspects of image rights in that the event, the entity or the sportsman are marked and its exploitation can have limitations of use and license.
There is a “social network” that perhaps more people can be uniting and growing without any control. Large companies have been dedicating their efforts for the said “social network” but SMEs hardly use them. That “social network” is shared by each of the practitioners in each of the social networks they have, but not only there but also in the forums and in the pages of a wearable brand. This “social network” is the amateur sport: a real social revolution that can become as influential as any other social habit today and it is predicted that it will grow exponentially until there are very few people who do not play sports in society.
The sponsorship is another key. To use the jersey is perhaps the most important thing, but for example, there are other sponsorships that are more economical and can even render similar exposure. You can sponsor the clothes that the athlete wears to get on the podium or for the events after the competition. These are the most uploaded photos to social networking sites among other things because while doing the activity they can hardly take pictures himself or herself. Oakley, for example, is an expert in this play and we do not recognize after a race Fernando Alonso or Valentino Rossi without their Oakley glasses. However, during the race, he has not used it.
Do not look at the number of people you sponsor, but what impact that person has in particular, that is, you can sponsor a cycling club or a marathon club and results in these race or activity in networks of the components can be much less Interesting to sponsor a single person who is standing out and is considered a local or regional figure. In this sense, it will appear in many accounts not only yours but in accounts press or people who want to share for various reasons the successes of this figure.
Depending on whether you want to focus the game on brand awareness or what you do or sell, you will use one means or another. If more people will use a particular brand, such product will surround sports events. The companies that sponsor teams work very well with the brand, as they not only make it known but also generate a positive image of it because of its support for the sport, an element that is well regarded by society as a whole.
There are relational marketing actions that may work more punctually and are very effective. For example, a brand of sports apparel placed a both in a sporting event, in which it offered the isotonic drink in a glass, the promoters have numbers attached to their clothes and the participants could get a number off their clothes for a chance of winning a prize. These specific actions are also very interesting and in addition, if you know how to work, they move very well in social networks.
Health-related companies such as pharmacies, opticians or physiotherapeutic clinics can dedicate themselves to the printing of sportswear that they can distribute in a sports event, this is more directed to a strategy and not to advertising, to create a place of reference for your business for the local sport. It is an interesting opportunity and that, no doubt, has a future that will not stop easily.