A Personal Touch: Using sponsorship to engage consumers locally 13th December, 2013

The increase in the number of communication channels between consumer and brand has brought with it a greater amount of choice for the public when purchasing products and services. In order to cater towards this, brands have looked to put the consumer first, engaging them on a personal level to retain their loyalty. Here are four key criteria that brands have built into their sponsorship strategy to develop customer loyalty, and where it has been done effectively.

Limited Edition Offers: O2 have set the standard for this over the past five years with their Priority Moments, which was initiated to increase customer retention and reduce churn. They’ve achieved this thorough giving customers a more personalised bespoke service, offering VIP tickets and first refusal on anything from music to rugby tickets. Having recently teamed up with Nike, they now offer a comprehensive range of perks to reward the loyalty of their customers.

Tapping into Passions: Tapping into people’s passions can propel brands into the hearts and minds of the consumer. However associating with specific fans is a risky business, because you can easily alienate groups by associating with their rivals. McDonald’s avoided this with their sponsorship of Euro 2012; this was geared around harnessing people’s passions for their individual team, where they then competed against one another through an online app. By staying completely bipartisan but engaging with each fan made this app the most downloaded throughout the tournament, building a strong rapport amongst followers of Euro 2012.

Regionalising the Model: The football club Manchester United have developed an unprecedented regional sponsorship campaign whereby they have developed regional partners in order to promote their brand overseas. Associating with more local companies has allowed them to engage with fans on a local level, creating greater recognition.

Second-Screen Engagement: Having consumers directly interact with brands content can provide lasting exposure which could either cost millions to build, or years to develop. Coca-Cola created the Coca-Cola Polar Bowl which provided a second screen experience game during the Super Bowl, where fans from either side would tune in to watch two bears live reactions in relation to what was happening on the pitch. This generated nine million views with an annual watch time of 28 minutes, systematically giving Coke unparalleled  exposure, and kudos amongst fans.

With brands such as Vodafone who announced this week a shift in their sponsorship strategy from a corporate badging exercise to a locally engaged model, it shows consumers are driving the need to be listened to and engaged with. Keeping brands on their toes and opening the door to more versatile partnerships.