The Rise of Corporate Sponsorships 14th November, 2016


Corporate sponsorships of charity events are often seen in a negative light. The common concerns revolve around a perceived lack of influence on the event, or a worry that it might not align with their sponsorship activities. Admittedly, there is some substance to this thought, however, there are a number of unique benefits to these partnerships.

The abundance of ‘moments’ charity partnerships offer (something brands chase their tail for) is clear to everyone. However, brands always struggle with how to integrate this content without having the direct influence they might enjoy with other partnerships. Perhaps the content is too specific to the charity or the production partner didn’t catch the right images to deliver the brand story.

However, rights holders are now able to edit, re-edit, super-impose, dub, fuse, and do whatever a brand might want to this content. The freedom this creates for brands is unprecedented. They are now able to integrate these ‘moments’ with their brand story to not only demonstrate their support for charitable causes, but most importantly to create an authenticity that is hard to find.

The new and exciting forms of charity events now allow them to be seen as an entertainment events in their own right. For example, Music In The Wild is an event involving ten celebrities climbing one of the new seven wonders of world – Machu Picchu – with an intimate concert at the summit from a multi-award winning artist. An event like this is the sort that brands would ordinarily want to be involved in regardless of the charitable element. It merges music, adventure and charity, meaning a brands story can be told in a variety of ways that trump traditional corporate partnerships.

Equally, being part of such an exciting project is a great opportunity to engage and galvanise a workforce. Rather than the fairly mundane rewards a company might offer, a brand can instead reward their employees with truly once in a lifetime experiences. For example, instead of the hospitality treatment for employees, events that challenge employees combined with charity elements have an emotional long lasting impression on employees. The power this has change their outlook and unite a workforce behind one cause is a huge. The knock on effect of this is more money being raised for the chosen charity which is yet another thing for a brand to shout about.

The rise of celebrity ambassadors and the increasing endorsements or associations they have with charities mean corporate partnerships are now a huge opportunity to increase reach. For instance, sponsors of the BT Red Nose Climb had a huge success off the back of association with celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Gary Barlow. These associations will almost always come at a lower cost than an ambassador partnership and with a much more authentic message. It’s a no brainer – more reach with a more credible and emotive story.

With charities now starting to invest in commercial planning, they are finding out that there is more than meets the eye than the obvious CSR benefits. The opportunities to integrate a brands story, unprecedented events and sheer reach of celebrity associations offer endless opportunities. Once brands become smarter to the benefits of these charity events the real value of corporate partnerships will begin to be realised.