Honda Racing appoints Slingshot Sponsorship to boost commercial revenue

Honda Racing, the only factory team on the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship grid, well known for shaking up the traditional world of racing, has appointed Slingshot Sponsorship to manage its commercial rights into the 2017 season.

Slingshot Sponsorship, an award-winning commercialised marketing agency, will handle all commercial rights and partner opportunities, ahead of the 2017 British Superbike season.

The Louth-based Honda Racing BSB team is progressive in the world of motorsport, signing BSB’s only female competitor, Jenny Tinmouth, who joined the team in 2015. During her two seasons with Honda to date, Jenny has improved on personal bests at every round.

Team-mates Jason O’Halloran and Dan Linfoot, both occupying the all-important BSB top six Showdown spots, with five rounds to go this season, complete the Honda line-up – representing the most successful team in the championship’s history.

“We’re delighted to have Slingshot Sponsorship join the Honda Racing BSB team. The entire agency truly understands our vision for the team going forwards,” said Nick Campolucci, head of motorcycles at Honda UK. “I’m confident that with Slingshot’s support we can take the success of the team to the next level.”

Slingshot Sponsorship enhances its clients’ commercial rights by uncovering new value through development and creation of sponsorship assets – supporting an execution that is mutually beneficial and sustainable.

“Honda Racing is visionary in its field and has expanded the audience outside of the traditional biking community. We’re honoured to be working with Honda,” said Jackie Fast, founder and managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship. “Honda Racing and Slingshot have a shared interest in pioneering ways of shaking up a traditional market so watch this space.”

Commercial opportunities are now available with the team for the 2017 season.

-Ends-

Note to Editors:
About Slingshot Sponsorship
Slingshot Sponsorship is an innovative strategic sponsorship agency based in Central London with offices around the world. Slingshot works across all industry sectors to help organisations identify, create and optimise their value to become engaging business growth opportunities for brands to partner with. Clients include diverse verticals such as sport, events, celebrities, award programmes, music festivals, and charities – all with a desire of pushing the boundaries in traditional sponsorship.
www.slingshotsponsorship.com

For PR comments and information, please contact Kirsty Matthews
e. Kirsty.matthews.consultancy@outlook.com t: +44 (0) 7834 238109

About Honda Racing BSB
Honda Racing BSB news releases and images are available to download from http://media.hondaracingbsb.co.uk/

Contact information
For corporate and model-specific comment, please contact:
David Rogers, PR Manager (Motorcycles)
T: 01344 888573 M: 07775 227872 E: david.rogers@honda-eu.com

For race reports and team comment, please contact:
Becky Vane
T: 01525 270774 M: 07446 472 440 E: Becky.vane@redwing.media

Sponsorship in CSR – Is it effective or a ruse?

Some of the biggest players in the sponsorship market are either moving away from traditional sporting platforms or are bolstering their CSR policies with social and cultural sponsorship. CSR used to be about managing areas that a brand could twist in their favour to generate positive headlines and is typically solely focused on public image. It could be said that some brands simply invest into platforms as they think it will make them look like they are making a difference.

With the increased focus on the environment, businesses are invested in embedding the sustainable, charitable, cultural and social sponsorship in their CSR policies. This can bolster their offering and help increase customer loyalty, public perception and employee engagement.

The primary objective of sponsorship in this space is generally not to drive revenue for the brand, but this can of course happen. In essence, these CSR policies are used to communicate to the wider audience that the business i.e. Banks, Oil Companies and Hedge Funds are giving back to the community and the wider ecosystem.

A large majority of CSR sponsorship takes place geographically close to the sponsors HQ. The main reason for this is so the brand can be seen to be involved with its local community and help encourage local or smaller not for profit businesses. Brands will also use these sponsorships to encourage employees to partake in wholesome activities to enrich their lives and ultimately, for effective employee engagement.

But can sponsorship within CSR actually make a difference to public image of the brand, benefit the rights holder and, in turn, help the wider community?

A perfect example of how this can backfire is BP’s recent withdrawal from sponsorship of their 27 year relationship with the Tate Gallery.

From the very beginning the partnership was tainted with regular protests and criticism. It was difficult to see how BP were involved with these institutions other than to try to improve public perception of the company. A company that is seen to only care about profits and continually harm the environment.

It was revealed that BP’s financial contribution to the gallery was between £150k-£330k per year, and their main reason for withdrawal was due to tightened budgets. So, it can be forgiven that the public didn’t really see this as a real reason when in 2015 BP’s CEO was awarded a $1.4m cash bonus! In this case, it also reflects negatively on the rights holder. They have the power whether or not they approve a brand as a sponsor and it must be more than just the money.

For a successful sponsorship to happen, not just within CSR, there must be a genuine alignment and a visible proof the brands involvement is benefiting the rights holder. These sponsorships can naturally unlock unique assets from the rights holder such as providing the opportunity to offer money can’t buy experiences to client’s such as late night gallery viewings, interviews with artists or even just a different space to conduct board meetings.

Once a strong proposition has been created and integrated then the sponsor can start to think about generating an ROI. Otherwise it is essentially sponsoring with the hope it can make a difference to the brands public image.

The Strategy Behind Sport

Sports teams are built and developed – crafted over years of training, coaching, and trading.  Ironically the same strategic perspective is not invested off the pitch.  Although sport sponsorship is responsible for over 70% of the total industry, it still lacks the necessary expertise to execute a sustainable and robust rights holder commercial strategy.  With so much sponsor churn, the sport sponsorship industry reflects a transactional method of sales with the highest bidder taking ownership of sponsorship rights that are often not fully utilised, supporting marketing strategies that are often never realised.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t been an issue for most rights holders with sponsorship rights fees on the whole increasing.  Why fix something that isn’t broken?  Why undersell rights when you can oversell them?  And why, if money is all that you are after, not align yourself to a brand that has no relation or even tenuous link to the sport.

The answer is that now you have to.

It’s not only more imperative for sports sponsorship sales teams to start thinking more creatively about how a sponsorship activation will support an overall sponsor’s strategy, it’s also becoming crucial for fan engagement.  If sport supports brand messaging by harnessing people’s passions, then brands who aren’t contributing to the fan experience or advocacy fail to gain the cut-through they once had through logo badging.  Brands have needed to become more creative with how sponsorship is utilised; however, the sports rights still fail to recognise this shift in value.  Sports teams and organisers tend to complain about the lack of activation on behalf of a brand.  However, if the sponsorship rights package is skewed towards how many impressions they will get on broadcast then it’s impossible to deliver an activation that will resonate.

It starts with creating the right assets.

By strategically understanding the value in a sports sponsorship package beyond that of perimeter boards and logos on kits, rights holders will begin to build the foundation for a partnership that truly works for everyone – including the fans.  By offering the same sponsor benefits as everyone else, sports rights holders not only run the risk of relying on team performance to generate ROI for their sponsors, but also fail to differentiate from every other team.  The assumption that the way things have always been will work in today’s fragmented media landscape is naïve.  However, this ever shifting environment can create unique opportunities for rights holders to develop their assets and audience (social media) – making it a new playing field.

From a sport sponsorship sales perspective, the pace of change is extraordinary – and sponsor gains are being made everywhere.  Be a rights holder who recognises the brand requirement to be part of the experience by creating assets that brands can use.  Be relevant by understanding what assets drive your partnership opportunities – rather than where you can put a logo.

The Pitfall of Long Term Sponsorship Deals

English football team Chelsea and global sportswear brand Adidas outline the potential challenges that long termed partnerships can create. In early May this year, a mutual agreement was made to end the sponsorship deal that short-fell Adidas’ potential and failed to reflect the value of Chelsea FC.

The 10-year sponsorship deal ended after only four year on the basis that the partnership was not benefiting either party.  Chelsea felt the £300million deal did not reflect their success nor their value, whilst Adidas felt the deal was not in line with their new business strategy of maintaining a lesser number of sponsorships at an increased sponsorship sum for their sponsees.  Having recently made a £750million sponsorship deal with rival team Manchester United, Adidas left Chelsea FC feeling undervalued and believing they could achieve greater sponsorship than what had been offered to them 4 years ago. On the other end, with Chelsea’s shocking performance this past season, there was no incentive for Adidas to increase the amount of the sponsorship deal in a way that offered enough benefit and still aligned with their new strategy.

Whilst the partnership proved to be mutually beneficial for the initial years, in recent times with both parties growing and evolving it only proved to be a hindrance to their futures. With the sponsorship industry constantly growing and as a result its costs ballooning, Adidas prioritising their new strategy of a more focused portfolio.  Additionally, Chelsea’s acknowledgement that their partnership did not reflect their market worth today was vital in their growth with a new partner.

The sponsorship industry evolves at a rapid rate, shifting away from logo badging to strategic business deliverables. Simultaneously the sporting world, and more specifically the football industry remains somewhat volatile – with politics and the economy affecting players and transfers amplified by team performance (Leicester City).

Although signing a 10-year contract may seem beneficial, the pace of the industry and media landscape evolution creates more risk.  Long termed contracts in such changing conditions mean that partnerships can get to a stagnant point where neither party can maximise the initial benefits sought. The idea that an extensive contract will provide security is predominantly only viable when looking at the monetary side of sponsorship, but sponsorship is more than money.  This façade of security tends to be a contradictory ‘benefit’ – potentially being more risky than short term contracts that evolve as both partners evolve.

It’s Not Who You Know

Far too many of our new business meetings focus purely on who Slingshot knows at Board level with brands. Undeniably, we know a lot. But that’s our business – it’d be like if McDonalds didn’t know what types of condiments to use for their hamburgers. It would be ludicrous if after 6 years of selling sponsorship rights to global brands, we didn’t make a friend or two along the way.

Unfortunately, almost all sponsorship sales agencies use this angle in their pitches – providing a false sense of security, to the potential new client, that sponsorship sales is all about speaking to the right person. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In my 15 years of selling “stuff”, it’s almost never about who you know. Bad salespeople focus on this in a new business pitch because it’s easy. Rather than take time to review the boring strategic processes that underlie sponsorship sales, it’s easier to provide wow factor by name dropping. This masks the fact that the challenge of selling sponsorship actually is controllable by a rights holder and can be fixed without hiring a specialist sponsorship sales agency, and no one really wants that do they?

Slingshot’s approach is never about the black book, which many think is unconventional and also means we lose a lot of pitches to those that guarantee sponsors and often unachievable revenue targets. The smoke and mirrors sales pitch champion who they know, but if you are struggling to maximise your full sponsorship potential it’s not because of your sales people, your property or your access to LinkedIn – it’s your commercial strategy.

Without a commercial strategy that understands what assets you have, what assets brands require to drive ROI, your fair market value and a pretty spectacular proposal – you honestly don’t really have a chance. I am pretty good friends with a lot of big brand buyers, but even I can’t flog something without the above. Gone are Chairman’s Whim days, but it means you have got to start thinking about your proposition if you are going to invest time and resource into selling sponsorship.

Brexit and What It Means for Sponsorship

The sponsorship industry has seen a significant growth recently, but will Brexit stall that growth?

As the world gets smaller and brand reach gets larger, the value of global and pan-regional properties such as Formula1 and the Euros become more appealing. These platforms provide brands buying efficiencies, homogenisation, and brand consistency – being able to unite fans through passion. As passions are shared regardless of region, language or culture, the ability to utilise cross-border sponsorships is a cost effective and often resource light way to reach a target audience. Regardless of what happens when the Government enacts Article 50, the demand for these sponsorship opportunities is unlikely to decrease.

However, the challenge will be on the increased pressures to effectively deliver the same output with additional issues around talent, visas, logistics and more. This is likely to be reflected in an increase in costs of activation which is unlikely to be pared with additional brand budget. Given that working and activating in Europe could become a lot more challenging – the appetite for purchase or allocated resource for implementation will decrease, especially if budgets aren’t increased in line with the additional resource. This could then significantly impact activation decisions to support a focus on logistics, rather than a dedication to creativity.

With the UK flying the flag for creativity in our industry, it will be interesting to watch how potential cross-border challenges could impact our nation’s sponsorship activation and positioning on a global scale.

Uncovering the real assets in Sailing Sponsorship

With the Clipper Round the World race generating in excess of £4.7m media value per team and the Volvo Ocean Race generating over £45m in media, you can be forgiven for thinking that sponsorship in sailing is just a global billboard on water for luxury brands such as Rolex, Hugo Boss and Prada.  However, if you strip back the big numbers, it’s actually a platform that can deliver unrivalled engagement through unique assets that can’t be found in the Formula1 pit lane.

It’s All About Big Data.

Data is changing the world and brands who are heavily developing this area (SAP, Salesforce, IBM) are using it. Often overlooked, the value of data in races such as the Volvo Ocean Race are crucial for delivering a stand at the podium.  Being a one-design race means that other than visually, there are no differences in the boats – it’s a level playing field. Consolidating and making use of data gathered in remote areas such as the middle of the ocean truly showcase the capability of data-driven businesses – turning data into insight, and insight into narrative.

Sponsorship of platforms that require a data-led approach are everywhere and most recently at Wimbledon with IBM, a partnership that has been in place for over 25 years. Through this sponsorship, IBM utilises the need for turning thousands of pieces of data, from multiple courts, into insight and narrative immediately. Alongside this they also integrate security products, servers and cognitive capabilities.

Everyone Wants an Experience

Formula 1 provides unrivalled hospitality with Michelin star chefs, the thrill of the pit-lane and the chance to watch races in exotic locations. Sailing also offers this, but due to the nature of the type of competition, there is much greater flexibility providing a unique and often un-experienced opportunity to take part and actually race it against the other boats. This becomes far more accessible to not only key clients but also customers and fans in general.

Emotive Content

Perhaps something not solely unique to sailing but none the less extremely attractive is the content that can be produced from the numerous races and competitions. The Americas Cup boats dancing around in the wind with a back drop of Manhattan is an incredible image to support any marketing campaign. Storytelling has become increasingly important, whether it’s a consultancy firm trying to showcase how they influence change in a business or a sports wear brand proving their products are used by the elite athletes. Each market has become increasingly crowded and the differentiator then becomes about engaging native content.

Sailing offers a unique opportunity for brands to align with teams to showcase their own unique offering. These races are regarded as some of the toughest challenges in the world, the sailors cover whole oceans with no rest and little sleep and must do their job perfectly, whilst also working together to win. It is similar to any business, their employees each specialise in their own field, all working together for the good of the company. Sponsors can access the rights free imagery and create unique content to communicate how their company mirrors the sailors, taking individual expertise and working together to achieve their objectives.

Being Green

Sailing is also a sport with a clean and positive image, powered by natural resources. Teams are looking at new ways to reduce their environmental impact and promote conservation efforts. Sailors also have first-hand experience of the large impact pollution and waste have on the marine environment.

This provides a great opportunity for brands to align with sailing teams who aspire to have their environmental values ingrained within their ethos. Aligning with a sustainable team or race will not only improve public perception, but will also bolster their own sustainability programmes.

Because sailing offers such great media exposure, it’s often too easy to overlook the true assets that brands can capitalise on at a fairly cost-effective price tag.  Big or small, involvement in sailing sponsorship should be a consideration for all brands trying to truly engage their customers – even if they aren’t on the ocean.

If you are interested in discussing sailing sponsorship opportunities, please ensure to contact the Slingshot team on 0207 226 5052.

Jackie Fast re-elected to the board of European Sponsorship Association

The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) announced last week that Jackie Fast, MD and Founder of Slingshot Sponsorship has been re-elected to the board for her second tenure.

ESA is the membership body which represents sponsorship professionals across Europe.

Jackie Fast was originally elected to the ESA board in 2013 and has been re-elected to the 15-strong board alongside Toby Hester from Sponsorship Coach who was also re-elected.

New members on the board were announced as Matthew Leopold from British Gas, Sophie Morris from Millharbour Marketing and Matt Stevenson from EE.
It was also announced that three current members are stepping down, they are Rob Mitchell of Wasps/Ricoh Arena, Gary Carey of Diageo and Helen Lamb of ESA.

The remit of the ESA board is to develop a strategy to ensure that the Association remains in the best position to represent the industry and to provide its members with valuable and usable benefits.

Jackie Fast will continue to develop The ESA Excellence Awards which are growing year on year and are widely regarded as the highest example of sponsorship achievement across all industry disciplines.

Jackie commented, “I’m pleased to have been re-elected to the board of the European Sponsorship Association where great work is being done to promote and celebrate the fabulous campaigns being run within our industry through the Excellence Awards. I am keen to continue to work with ESA on strategy to ensure that we are representing the interests of the industry as a whole and continuing to grow the best practice sponsorship throughout Europe.”

Slingshot to run bootcamp in Oslo

Slingshot Sponsorship’s MD Jackie Fast will be presenting a one-day sponsorship bootcamp in Oslo on August 26th 2016 hosted by our friends at ANFO Oslo. This is a unique chance to hear from one of the industry’s leading experts on how to successfully secure sponsorship in today’s landscape.
Slingshot Sponsorship’s aim is to help you grow your company through sponsorship programs that create priceless opportunities to consumers and incorporate motivating factors to drive brands investing in sponsorship.

Slingshot Sponsorship has successfully been running sessions to help rights holders increase sponsorship revenue and improve relationships with existing sponsors. To date, Slingshot have hosted over 400 rights holders at sessions run across the world.
The aim of the bootcamp is to help you discover ground-breaking partnerships big or small, which punch above their weight and measurably build your businesses and your sponsor brands.

Key takeaways from the event will include:
1. Current sponsorship practices & how the industry has changed
2. How to create the right sponsorship proposal – including communications strategy planning, audience development & commercialising your social media
3. Understanding your competition, and therefore your USP in the market – including creation of assets, understanding how brands value your opportunity & pricing your package
4. Sales technique & how to close the deal

Jackie Fast commented, “I am looking forward to coming to Oslo to present our agency’s framework for sustainable sponsorship. With an office in Oslo we can help provide further support for our delegates in the long term so I am delighted to be able engage with the Norwegian sponsorship industry.”

Join other forward-thinking leaders to find new and emerging practices and insights to grow your business and sponsorship revenue in an industry where the only certainty is change.

To book your place please click here.

Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) Appoints Slingshot Sponsorship to add Commercial Boost to Winning Startups

Extreme Tech Challenge, the global search for the world’s best start-ups and entrepreneurs, is partnering with specialist global sponsorship experts Slingshot Sponsorship to further enhance their platform.

The Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), now in its third year, sees thousands of top tier companies compete to earn a shot as finalists presenting to a panel of the most iconic entrepreneurs and accomplished pioneers in the business including Richard Branson, on his private island home, Necker Island. Along the way, contestants earn a shot to present on stage at the semifinals at the world’s largest technology trade show, CES in Las Vegas.

Extreme Tech Challenge is hosted by MaiTai Global, a worldwide community of renowned entrepreneurs, innovators and athletes. XTC brings together the ‘next generation of world class entrepreneurs’ and provides resources through its network aimed at providing winners with priceless visibility, resources to scale at low cost, and a vast global ‘people network’ to help leaders develop strong businesses around their product success.

As Bill Tai, Co-founder of MaiTai Global puts it, “We’ve selected Slingshot Sponsorship to bring fantastic new brand partners to the Extreme Tech Challenge, not only because they have an unmatched reputation in doing so, but also because they themselves were a start-up only six years ago. The Slingshot team embodies the type of organization we want to work with – passionate, skilled, and highly driven.”

Jackie Fast, MD and Founder of Slingshot Sponsorship added, “We’re thrilled to be working with MaiTai Global and the Extreme Tech Challenge because they offer a ground-breaking platform for up-and-coming entrepreneurs each year — a growing force in the economy. Industry disruption is becoming more prevalent and I’m excited to showcase how these ideas can be supported, executed and amplified through a collaborative partnership model.”

The Extreme Tech Challenge semi-finals will be held at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2017.

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for the Extreme Tech Challenge 2017. Please contact Slingshot on +44 (0) 207 226 5052 | XTC@slingshotsponsorship.com

Note to Editors:
www.slingshotsponsorship.com
Slingshot Sponsorship is an innovative strategic sponsorship agency based in Central London with offices around the world. Slingshot works across all industry sectors to help organisations identify, create and optimise their value to become engaging business growth opportunities for brands to partner with. Clients include diverse verticals such as sport, events, celebrities, award programmes, music festivals, and charities – all with a desire of pushing the boundaries in traditional sponsorship.
www.slingshotsponsorship.com

For PR comments and information, please contact Kirsty Matthews
e. Kirsty.matthews.consultancy@outlook.com t: +44 (0) 7834 238109

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