Sponsorship: It’s not all about the money
21st August, 2013
Now although a little brash, Branson’s comment struck me as rather relevant when it comes to considering sponsorship. The value of a sponsorship opportunity should not be based solely on costing but on the value that sponsorship can bring to the brand.
Finding value in a sponsor proposition is a tenuous topic – brands enter into sponsorship for varying reasons and the true value of each sponsorship is dependent upon what the brand themselves want to gain from it. For some, the value of a sponsorship opportunity might come from the reinforcement it could provide during a re-brand campaign while others may see value in reaching new audiences. In this respect, a big budget sponsorship opportunity may not always fulfil the sponsor’s objectives in the same way a lower budget opportunity may see a sponsor reaping huge rewards.
There are of course big businesses with big budgets that can afford the high cost sponsorship opportunities and benefit greatly from them. Companies such as PepsiCo and Coca Cola spent upwards of $280 million on sponsorship in 2012. With budgets like this, these companies can consider the higher ticket sponsorship opportunities like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. But as the marketing director for Nokia said recently, if you can’t outspend, out smart.
In 2012, Inov8, a leading off-trail running brand, sponsored Mark Bayliss in his Arch to Arc (Marble Arch, London to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris) triathlon. This sponsorship was, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively low cost sponsorship but provided Invo8 with priceless opportunities. The success of this example lies in the synergy between the inov8 brand and Mark Bayliss. In completing the event, Mark Bayliss became the first person to complete the channel swim without a wetsuit, setting a new world record and raising money for SportsAid.
Mark’s achievement perfectly complimented Inov8’s brand values – celebrating the grit and glory of the committed athlete. The reach of the sponsorship might not have been particularly broad, but it provided Inov8 with a direct channel to their target audience and allowed the brand to present their values in the form of a successful athlete.
In the current financial climate, it is important to consider all aspects of a sponsorship opportunity, understanding what your brand needs to gain from the sponsorship and the value that particular proposition can bring.