Awards Programmes & Sponsorship: A Winning Combination
29th February, 2012
Awards programmes provide a unique opportunity to celebrate excellence across each and every area of a particular sector. Recognising those who are leading the way ensures the promotion of forward thinking, encouraging the overall progression of an industry.
In establishing a respected awards platform, an opportunity is naturally presented for organisations to sponsor the programme and be seen to support the leaders of their market place.
An association with those leading the way will always emphasise, and potentially enhance, an organisation’s reputation within their respective industry. Therefore awards platforms are often the first place to look when considering sponsorship opportunities, especially in the B2B arena.
Benefits of Awards Programme Sponsorship
- Media institution association: Many major awards platforms are hosted by key publishers and media institutions within the industry e.g. Haymarket’s What Car? Car of the Year Awards, the most recognised awards programme within the UK automotive industry. Being recognised as the most respected publication for car reviews, the Car of the Year Awards was a natural progression in the acknowledgment of engineering innovation. Being the go-to brand for decision making on new car purchases, the awards not only provide the opportunity to partner with the automotive sector’s elite, but also allows for association with the authority on the industry.
- Targeted sponsorship: Via category sponsorships, brands have the chance to associate with a specific area of the industry, whether it be a smaller brand aiming to gain brand awareness amongst the industry’s major players, or a larger organisation looking to highlight key performance areas. In doing so, brands also have the exclusive opportunity to network and establish a future relationship with both the winner and all shortlisted companies within their respective categories.
- Networking: Award ceremonies provide the rare chance for all key brands within a particular market place to be in one place at the same time, therefore allowing for invaluable lobbying opportunities for all sponsors with the front runners of the industry.
Additional Revenue Streams
Although quite expensive to implement, awards platforms can prove to be a strong additional source of revenue when properly executed, offering an array of sponsorship assets and the opportunity for truly integrated partnerships. However, many organisers are yet to realise the full commercial potential of their awards programmes, simply sticking to the traditional revenue streams of ticket sales and basic sponsorship packages with partners only receiving the usual branding and standard PR presence around their involvement.
However, there are in fact a whole host of additional assets that can be added to the sponsorship offerings of an awards programme. The following are just a handful of ways in which value can be added:
- Sponsored shortlist announcements: Being shortlisted for an award is still a major achievement and so the announcement is highly anticipated. This therefore presents an ideal opportunity for brands to get their name in the spotlight, as announcements are sure to be covered by all major industry media titles.
- Ownership of on-site properties: In addition to headline and category sponsorships, there is the opportunity to break down the event by area e.g. VIP receptions and press lounges or even creating on-site brand experiences.
- Luncheons: These events provide the opportunity to build hype leading up to the main event, whilst giving sponsors the chance to network with key awards stakeholders i.e. judges, comperes and major industry opinion formers.
- Consumer promotions/competitions: Depending on the market place, sponsors can be given the opportunity to run sales promotions and competitions, presenting the opportunity for consumers to attend the awards and meet the stars of the industry.
- Exclusive access: Awards shows are notoriously exclusive and sponsorship therefore provides the opportunity for brands to act as a gateway to exclusive content, including interviews, speeches, photos, performances and more.
With brands now adopting a much more integrated approach to sponsorship, it is crucial for rights holders to fully evaluate the assets offered to sponsors and allow brands to maximise their involvement with the platform as well as provide sufficient marketing channels for them to communicate their sponsorship activity.
By introducing new and innovative ways for brands to activate their association with an awards programme, the sponsorship can be developed from association with a single event to a year-round partnership, adding significant value at minimal expense either the rights holder or the brand.