Slingshot: Brand Side. 19th December, 2018

Chances are – if you’re reading this – you’re aware of Slingshot and what we do. Or are you?

Our work with rights holders all over the world has been well documented, whether through our own channels or through numerous industry awards. We have worked as the exclusive sponsorship agency for many of the world’s most innovative platforms to identify and secure strategic brand partnerships. But what may be less known is our brand consultancy service: working also on the other side of sponsorship with global brands to highlight the most relevant partnership platforms in order to achieve the biggest cut-through, awareness and equity.

Our expertise, developed over many years working on the rights-holder side, has led us to understand exactly what brands are looking for when they are considering sponsorship opportunities. Thus, on the flipside we know precisely what assets are needed to be secured to achieve brand marketing objectives, regardless of industry or budget.

How can Slingshot help?

Dream Package:

 A crucial step which is often overlooked by brands is the creation of an asset list or dream package. By creating an essential asset list, brands can identify exactly what they require to achieve key objectives and generate a strong ROI. Too often we see brands being one dimensional when it comes to aligning with events and failing to make full use of the opportunity and their budget. A classic case being the purchasing of activation space without making use of the wider PR, marketing and social benefits that would help them cut through at a much higher level with their intended audience (sometimes these extra assets can be bargained within the original price!)

Negotiation:

Many agencies, when given a brief and a budget by a brand will look to spend the whole wad of cash, even if the package offered isn’t worth its price in the current market. With extensive knowledge of sponsorship valuation and sales: Slingshot can negotiate on the brands behalf to get the assets they require at the best possible value. Saving valuable sponsorship monies which can be used to leverage the partnership through activation instead.

Efficiency:

Our extensive network within the industry provides the perfect platform to take a brands’ vision for their sponsorship strategy to market. Building a network takes time and surprisingly, approaching a rights holder for sponsorship enquiries can actually be a lengthy process. However, by utilising an agency who already has an established name in the sponsorship field your brand can save exponential amounts of time, helping you to understand and evaluate the available opportunities more promptly.

Unique Events:

 Lastly, Slingshot is renowned for being at the forefront of the industry as one of the most innovative sponsorship agencies. Our position within the sponsorship industry means that we regularly work with niche, innovative and exciting events. Rather than pitch you the same old generic properties, we have access to platforms with specific demographics and highly engaged audiences which stand out from the crowd and can deliver a far better ROI at generally a far better price too. Some of our current clients include Extreme Tech Challenge, a start-up competition held on Necker Island with a B2B focus and a HNWI audience and London New Year’s Day Parade a mass consumer event with 650,000 attendees. Thus, we may already be working directly with a rights-holder which would deliver the cut-through needed for your next product release, re-brand or campaign push!

If you are looking for advice on any aspect of the sponsorship industry, we would be more than happy to offer our expertise, please email info@slingshotsponsorship.com or call 0207 145 0150 to get started.


Charity Sponsorship: Change your mindset – change your fortunes 21st August, 2018

Charity partnerships have shown they can be extremely effective when done right; you only have to look at partnerships between LEGO and WFF, Pampers and Unicef and the I am Shaquem Griffin video, which shook the internet to see this. But for many years, there has seemed to be a reluctance to maximise charity sponsorships.

In the digital age, modern high-level sponsorships have formed a crucial component of the strategic marketing mix, but it could be argued that CSR focussed sponsorships have seemingly been behind the curve. Although in recent times there has been a noticeable shift in CSR sponsorships, Slingshot believes that more can be done so that brands and charities can harness each other for a greater mutual gain.

Charities have the potential to offer brands so much more than CSR alone. In many cases, charities can offer everything that a normal rights holder can: brand awareness, experiential opportunities, direct sales, digital marketing and access to high-profile ambassadors. On top of this, CSR partnerships offer great client hospitality opportunities, and are generally linked to internal stakeholder and employee satisfaction. However, for more charities and brands to take advantage of these benefits, attitudes to these types of partnerships need to change.

Changing the Charity Mindset

Firstly, the charities themselves need to realise their commercial potential. Historically, charities have fallen into the trap of leading with a philanthropic pitch when in-front of brands rather than showcasing the value of a sponsorship deal. Charities are so unique and varied that they have assets and activation opportunities that many properties cannot offer, so charities must invest in the understanding of their audience, realising their USP and harnessing this for their commercial benefit. Additionally, we stress that charities need to be proactive! To get sponsors, you can’t wait for the proposals to come to you, you need to make them yourselves.

Changing the Brand Mindset

Attitudes of brands need to adjust too. There’s generally a timid behaviour towards charities: ‘we have to do this for goodwill, but we can’t use this as a commercial opportunity’… Of course, you can! Charities want to work with relevant brands to create value for their audience just like a music festival or sports team does. Being actively involved in a sponsorship that has a strong fit with your demographic will create value for the charities consumers and help your brand reach a more holistic set of objectives. This will lead to a more authentic long-term relationship, which will be far more effective than simply donating to a goodwill cause.

One charity that is following our approach is Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK). We spoke with Ramon Smits, the charity’s Business Development Manager, to understand what they think sets them apart and what their advice for other charities is: “MDUK understands that charities usually represent an opportunity for corporate philanthropy, but in recent times we have realised the commercial value of our own brand. We are the leading charity for muscle wasting diseases, which is a great title for partners to align themselves with! Through Slingshot, we have understood how to use our unique assets to boost our sponsorship revenue. We believe that other charities can benefit massively from truly understanding who their audience is and what they could offer potential partners; knowing that is vital to showcase your value and attract sponsorship!”

Slingshot can help with any enquiries about sponsorship. If taking your sponsorship strategy seriously is of interest to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


Formula 1 Sponsorship is Moving Up a Gear – but who makes Slingshot’s Sponsors’ Podium? 5th July, 2018

With its heady mix of speed, excitement, danger and competition set amongst the backdrop of a luxurious, globetrotting lifestyle, you’ll struggle to find a more glamorous sport than Formula 1.

So it’s easy to understand why the incredibly popular jewel in motorsport’s crown attracts some of the biggest sponsorship deals on the planet. There are plenty of household names and premium brands who seek to get in on the action and benefit from the powerful connotations that even just the Formula 1 name itself brings.

But as we have highlighted before, sponsorship partnerships are moving away from simple logo adornments as rapidly as Lewis Hamilton off a grand prix starting grid. The key is now brand activations and shared benefits – and sponsorship in F1 is no exception to this trend.

How Formula 1 sponsorship is changing

A quick-as-lightning example of this would be BT’s partnership with the Williams team, which started up back in 2015. Their deal went miles beyond a mere association in name, extending to BT providing extensive technological expertise and an overhauling of their systems with the aim of cutting down Williams’ race times. Those crucial split-seconds are what really gets team bosses’ engines revving.

Three years on and now under the stewardship of Formula 1’s new audience-driven owners Liberty Media – who also count Live Nation among their portfolio – this sponsorship trend continues apace.

The launch of Formula 1’s first “fan festival” occurred just three weeks into the 2018 season in Shanghai, which was a full-throttle experiential activation ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. That event was driven by a Heineken-branded stage boasting star DJs, as well as opportunities for other key global partners such as Emirates, Pirelli and Petronas to stretch their appeal to new audiences.

“The days of sticker and cash are gone,” says McLaren spokesman Tim Bampton, referring to the passive sponsorship of the past where companies simply stuck their logos on the race cars. “The demands of new sponsors have changed substantially.” And he’s not wrong.

Slingshot’s Top 3 Formula 1 Sponsors

But which brands are really driving Formula 1’s sponsorship game forward? To help us decide, we’ve put together Slingshot’s very own F1 sponsorship podium finish. It was neck-and-neck until the last corner, but here’s how they came over the line…

formula 1 sponsorship slingshot podium

3) DHL
Country: Germany

Formula 1 cars are all about speed and efficiency – just like DHL’s link-up with the world’s foremost motorsport. With over 35 years’ experience in motorsport logistics, vital in a global sport, DHL proudly label themselves as the unsung heroes who (in some cases literally) steer the ship and make things possible behind the va-va-vooms.

DHL’s Formula 1 Brand Activation
Not content with just enabling races to go ahead with the delivery of team assets, DHL launched two awards championing speed in both the F1 drivers themselves and their supporting teams: the DHL Fastest Lap and DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award. Furthermore, DHL are the title sponsor of Formula 1’s pioneering eSports competition, a tangible result of a brand working hard to innovate in sponsorship before they’re lapped by the competition.

2) Tata Communications
Country: India

Indian firm Tata Communications couldn’t keep pace with Heineken in the finishing stretch, but come a close second. Their efforts are heavily based around technological innovation within Formula 1, playing a critical role in enabling Liberty Media to step things up a gear with showcasing their new vision of the sport to its fans.

Tata Communications’ Formula 1 Brand Activation
During the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix, Tata Communications conducted a test of truly live 360º video on the track, which enabled fans across the globe to experience the pulsating action in and around the circuit as if they were there in person. If that wouldn’t get fans’ engines started, we don’t know what would.

1) Heineken
Country: Netherlands

Thanks to their refuelled efforts in Formula 1, Heineken have the pleasure of enjoying a victory lap around Slingshot’s track before spraying a bottle of their finest over their competitors.

The fan festival is just one example of how Formula 1 have provided Heineken with unique opportunities to engage with existing and potential consumers. This has helped rev up important growth areas such as commercial opportunities, responsible drinking awareness and skill transfers between F1 and their employees, leading to a boost of £12.6m in sponsorship revenue.

Heineken’s Formula 1 Brand Activation
Heineken’s brand activations do include traditional circuit branding and TV advertisements, however they are now motoring ahead with digital activations, live fan experiences and events, dedicated PR initiatives, and packaging and point-of-sale promotions.

Take a look at a couple of their recent campaigns:

“When You Drive, Never Drink” campaign

Heineken – When You Drive, Never Drink. from Sizzer Amsterdam on Vimeo.

“More Than a Race” campaign

Heineken, Formula 1 is More Than a Race. from Mathieu Caudroy on Vimeo.

Plus an honourable mention for Rolex
Country: Switzerland

Despite missing out on the Slingshot podium by a few hundredths of a second, we must also give an honourable mention to the Official Timepiece of Formula 1.

The 2018 season marked the sixth consecutive year Rolex were the title sponsors of the opening race, and in a timely reminder top their ties to the history of the sport, they were also the main sponsors of the British Grand Prix.

Rolex’s Formula 1 Brand Activation
With a nod to the importance of clockwatching in Formula 1, Rolex are also the Pit Lane Clock sponsors – a visual reminder of precision timing in F1. Recently, Rolex have also begun signing up some of the sport’s former greats such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg as “motorsport testimonees” to further extend their brand appeal to various audiences.

So watch this space – there’s a lot more to come from all of F1’s starting grid of sponsors under the demanding gaze of its audience-facing owners. And we can’t wait to see what that brings.

Interested in learning more about how to get the most success in sponsorship? Follow our social media accounts for regular updates:

Slingshot Sponsorship – Facebook

Slingshot Sponsorship – Twitter

Slingshot Sponsorship – LinkedIn


How to Master the Art of Brand Activation in Sponsorship 26th June, 2018

Creative brand activation is crucial to captivate an audience and create long-lasting, memorable experiences. Here, we reveal the future direction of brand activation in sponsorship and provide a case study of a perfect execution of this by Vitaminwater at the WayHome Music & Arts Festival.

Sponsorship has rapidly moved away from being just about planting a logo somewhere visible for crowds to walk past and occasionally acknowledge. The now and future lies very much in brand activation and consumer engagement.

Executing this new method of brand activation effectively benefits both sponsors and rights-holders. By tapping into audiences’ personal journeys, you ensure that an emotional connection can be created, with memorable experiences – in turn creating a strong loyalty to the brand.

This rise in creativity and innovative ideas provides a platform for brand associations with popular public passions, such as music festivals and sport events. Areas such as these capture fans in a positive environment, producing golden opportunities for sponsors to develop deep personal connections with audiences.

Simple as the theory may sound, there is a definite art to cultivating creative ideas from inception right through to effective delivery. And it’s something, for example, Vitaminwater achieved in style at the WayHome Music and Arts Festival.

Case Study: Vitaminwater and WayHome Music and Arts Festival

Vitaminwater’s Hydration Station at the WayHome Music and Arts Festival is a fantastic example of how brand activation in sponsorship can be achieved extremely effectively.

Amid the sweltering Canadian summer heat, Vitaminwater’s idea of creating a “human car wash” proved enormously popular. Festival goers immersed themselves in cool mists at their branded area and – coupled with bottled drink handouts – instantly felt refreshed and rehydrated. These feelings link directly to the core values of Vitaminwater’s brand.

Furthermore, guests had the opportunity to have their photograph taken at the Hydration Station with their festival wristband. These pictures were sent directly to their email address for ease of sharing on social media and, with little extra effort, Vitaminwater and WayHome were soon being promoted across guests’ newsfeeds with native, shareable content.

Unsurprisingly, Vitaminwater’s Hydration Station proved to be a hugely popular addition to the festival. It was unique, playful, served a valuable purpose and ensured guests genuinely engaged with the product, adding a new dimension to their experience at the event.

Key takeaways

Creating ways in which audiences can be actively involved with a product experience will generate a strong, long-term emotional connection to the brand.

Consider it objectively: fresh, innovative ideas drive the commercial world – and it’s no different with brand activation in sponsorship. Doing this creatively entices consumers in to discover more and you will be able to connect with them on a deeper, personal level.


The Experts in Branded Content – Nike Football Presents ‘The Switch’ 13th June, 2016

[pexyoutube pex_attr_src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scWpXEYZEGk”][/pexyoutube]

There is one piece of sponsorship activation everyone at Slingshot has been talking about, Nike Football’s ‘The Switch’.

As part of Nike’s Spark Brilliance campaign, the video features Cristiano Ronaldo as the star, alongside a further 16 professional players including Harry Kane, Anthony Martial and Javier Mascherano. Interestingly it is Adidas, not Nike, that are sponsoring the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament in France, but the video could certainly lead you to think otherwise!

At 5 minutes and 57 seconds, ‘The Switch’ is the longest brand film ever created by Nike Football. The length of the film allows Nike to create a compelling story, rather than a simple advert, which not only captures the imagination, but also promotes Nike Football’s brand in a truly creative way. The film is the perfect example of how to integrate brand ambassadors into activation’s effectively to create unique branded content that resonates with Nike Football’s target audience, once again sparking the debate of Official Sponsorship and its value in today’s market.

Check out the video to see why we can’t stop watching!


Heading off Piste – Solving Platform Issues With Sponsorship 31st March, 2016

Fresh from the success of Snowboxx 2016 just this month, we thought this would be a great time to shine a light on how Snowboxx has utilised sponsorship to develop the event.

Snowboxx is a week long snow escape combining the perfect ski holiday by day with the excitement and hype of a festival hosting world renowned DJ’s by night. Based in the picturesque resort of Avoriaz in France the festival has grown year on year, welcoming over 4,000 attendees to this alpine getaway. However when planning the 2016 event, Snowboxx faced a number of challenges which it felt were creating barriers to the event’s growth & customer experience.

In order to overcome these challenges Slingshot worked with the sponsors to ensure all activation was curated to create a positive contribution to the identified areas, whilst supporting the on-point brand activity. This allowed sponsors to not only project their desired messaging but to also provide meaningful engagement to the festival and attendees alike.

Sponsorship Solutions

The four sponsors of Coors Light, Rockstar, Jungfrau & Dare2B all brought brand activations and expertise to the event, highlights include:

  1. Social Media & Content

A key challenge to rights-holders is social media, the management of content and how to engage with the attendees in an engaging manner. As such Coors Light, the brand for ‘Damme cold’ refreshment had a huge focus on amplifying their sponsorship outside of the festival boundaries of France. With a thirst for content and social interaction Coors Light developed a social media centric campaign to support their sponsorship including the curation of a unique Coors Light Igloo Party, a Twitter competition to win tickets for the Igloo Party, in addition to the chance to win a trip to Snowboxx courtesy of Coors Light – now that’s refreshing!

  1. New Audience & Reach

Ensuring an event is reaching new audiences and providing unique experiences are key to growth and attendee retention. With a platform seemingly made for Rockstar who embody the spirit of music and adrenaline fueled activity, Snowboxx was able to benefit from the launch of the new Freeze product variety and the supporting campaign. Launching with striking point of sale creative across a number of key retailers both inside and outside of the UK, Rockstar offered customers the chance to win the ultimate VIP experiences at Snowboxx including accommodation, lift passes, flights and even onstage viewing during the acts. In addition to this Rockstar was onsite throughout the festival providing the added revival to all the attendees for the long slope days and late nights at the main stage.

  1. Customer Experience

In a unique development for winter festivals, Snowboxx 2016 introduced a festival village within the heart of Avoriaz in addition to hosting bars and clubs across the resort. Due to the sprawling site it was imperative that the customer experience wasn’t impaired by the cold or misdirection. As the official clothing partner of Snowboxx 2016 Dare2B wanted to align with the youthful winter sport market and be seen as the equipment of choice for the slopes. By providing the clothing for all onsite staff Dare2B had over 70 branded customer service reps roaming the resort.

  1. Retaining Momentum

Captivating an audience outside of the core entertainment schedule is a challenge not only restricted to the festival scene. Highlighting the periods of most downtime for attendees Jungfrau hosted activity from the Jungfrau Igloo atop the main festival site, to be the saviour for all those forgotten, hats, hip flasks and shot glasses. Through the festival Jungfrau provided refreshments throughout the down days with sampling whilst providing attendees with branded merchandise including glasses, bobble hats and the ‘piste’ de resistance, the Jungfrau branded shot ski’s revered by all the attendees’ onsite. This coupled with an engaging social team to support and interact with all captured content allowed Jungfrau and Snowboxx to connect with the attendees outside of the core entertainment times.

Results

Snowboxx 2016 was met with roaring acclaim from attendees, with one group describing it as “the best week of their lives” whilst on the final chair lift. No doubt with the increasing allocation of tickets next year the event is sure to sell out once again.

So much emphasis is focused on alternative revenue when right-holders initially look to secure sponsorship, rarely are the other benefits spoken of until this topic is exhausted. However when looking at the challenges or weaknesses in your own platform you can utilise sponsor expertise to help upgrade this thinking much below the initial surge in the bank balance.


A Day in the Life – Festival Sponsorship Management 3rd September, 2015

As another part of our Day in the Life series we invite you to Pula, Croatia and the current site of Slingshot Sponsorship clients Outlook & Dimensions music festivals.

The music festival is now in its 5th day with international artists and brands in full swing. The Slingshot Sponsorship team have been hard at work over the last week to ensure all the sponsors plans and activations are fulfilled and surpass expectations. Welcome to a day in the life of onsite sponsorship management:

Morning

  • Awaking to the near sound of silence (with most festival goers all recouping from the previous night’s antics) the team meet for breakfast at the festival’s staff area to discuss the sponsorship programme delivery so far, the plans for the coming 24 hours and to share any stories from last night (always entertaining!).
  • Following breakfast the team retreat to the confines of their laptops to ensure all images, social media and admin are planned and in order for the day ahead.
  • The rest of the morning is allocated to ensure delivery on any outstanding work from other client accounts, liaising with the team in London to stay up to date on any actions from head office.

Afternoon

  • The early afternoon has been a flurry of activity each day with a host of tasks and favours called in, whether ushering VIP’s to locating an elusive set of keys the team are on hand to ensure all activation is running smoothly.
  • One of the key features of Dimensions Festival is the Knowledge Area, an area where festival goers can create music, collaborate with each other and listen to acts and idols from across the festival talk about their experiences and deliver expert workshops. Sponsored by the likes of Native Instruments, Abelton and Urban Ears the team are busy setting up the necessary sponsor equipment, marketing information and ensuring all attendees are aware of the schedule for the day including the featured artist’s key note – a huge draw in the late afternoon.
  • New Era’s key activation at Dimensions Festival is the artist lounge. A place for artists to relax, meet the crew and other artists as well as access the range of New Era merchandise available. The team are underway ensuring the lounge is still in pristine condition, stocked with all styles and set for tonight’s activation.

Night

  • Following dinner the team are briefed in and informed of any specific requirements.
  • One section of the team are on hand at the Knowledge Arena to ensure the smooth change over from the workshop to the delivery of the artist key note speeches with a huge crowd set to listen to the legend George Clinton.
  • The remaining team are on hand at The Clearing to welcome all artists to the lounge, mingle and capture content. Tonight there were specific requests from a number of artist from across the festival stages who asked for New Era caps for their onstage performance, which the team duly delivered and captured the content from.
  • As the music continues until 6am, enough of the team are on hand for the rest of the night, a couple of members take the opportunity to visit a select stage or two of their favourite artists and join in the Dimensions vibe.
  • With happy sponsors, well delivered activations and content captured from across the festival it’s time to retire to bed and catch a few hours’ sleep before it all begins again!

Thinking of warmer climates: Why UK brands are investing in festivals abroad 27th November, 2013

The fact that the heating is permanently on in our office, my (much maligned) Parka jacket has come out from the back of the wardrobe and I’m already bored of the hype around Christmas can mean only one thing: it’s November.  In order to stave off the cloying, high-pitched tones of Santa’s elves and remind us of warmer times, our friends at Outlook have released their 2013 Festival highlights – a 9 minute long adventure through the myriad of music and magic that is Fort Punta Christo, Croatia, for four days at the end of August each year.

The video itself takes me back to an incredible two weeks working at Outlook and Dimensions Festivals this summer, but it’s a scene at 4:22 that reminded me just how successful the sponsorship around both festivals was for 2013. The scene (below) is UK-based DJ EZ performing a headline set wearing the official festival jacket, which was created by the festival’s fashion partner, Majestic Athletic. Over 500 of these jackets were created to announce the partnership, with an initial 100 being used for promotional purposes (gifting, Facebook competitions and artist fashion shoots) with the remaining 400 selling out within the first 48 hours of going on sale at the festival itself.

Majestic’s sponsorship of Outlook was a major success for the brand, as were the campaigns by the other partners we brought in for 2013. Although all four key partners were successful, investing big chunks of UK marketing budget in festivals 1,000 miles away was a leap of faith for all parties: a ‘shot in the dark that paid off’ were the words of another sponsor who I recently had a sign-on meeting for 2014 with. So, why were the sponsorships so successful and why are UK brands increasingly looking to partner with foreign-based (in particular Croatian) festivals instead of the closer and well-trodden events in the UK.

The experience

I think anyone who’s spent a week partying in an abandoned Austro Hungarian fort that overlooks the Adriatic Sea, sunbathing on a beach all day while eating fresh calamari for 50% of what a burger costs in the UK would find it hard to argue that festivals along the coastline of Croatia have one-up on your standard ‘music-in-a-field’ UK festival. The exotic location and the novelty of the experience make stronger, lasting ‘holiday-like’ memories that invariably influence brand-attitudes and ultimately purchasing decisions amongst festival goers when they return back home.

The audience: adventurous and committed

Whether it’s booking flights, changing currency or remembering your passport, getting to Croatia takes more effort than going to Reading. There’s also the reality that your mum can’t pick you up if you drink one too many tequilas and lose your wallet containing all of the above. In short, this means that the 30,000 hardy souls that descend on Pula for Outlook and Dimensions each year, not only rely less on their parents, but are also likely to be more adventurous and instigators of brand trends, rather than followers. For a drinks or clothing brand these are the exact people they want to target as they are the people that will promote their brand when they return home.

In addition, the effort involved to get to Croatia illustrates the commitment the audiences have to the festival they’re flying to go to. From research we’ve done into customers of Outlook, over 65% of them have been to the festival on more than one occasion, meaning an increased level of loyalty and therefore more receptive to the brands that the festival has chosen to further compliment their experience at the festival.

Social – reduced burden on experiential

The ascension of social has given festivals (and therefore its sponsors) a year-round platform to speak with this committed following on a daily basis, rather than through sporadic and often un-targeted communications. This has allowed for sponsors to leverage their benefits for prolonged periods of time and puts less pressure on them spending vast amounts on on-site activation. One of the key reasons for UK brands failing to invest in Outlook and Dimensions has been this lack of understanding of the social benefits available and the worry that their on-site activations will be even more expensive and more difficult to carry out than if they worked with a UK-based event.

The Sun – Because no one likes the rain. Apart from ducks.



Can too many Sponsors Dilute a Rights-Holder’s Brand? 22nd August, 2013

In sports leagues around the world, success on the field is ultimately driven by commercial revenue. As a consequence, their response has been to bring in sponsors to help facilitate the gap in funding.  But this growing emphasis upon sponsorship has left many people asking – are too many sponsors diluting the right-holder’s brand?

Sponsors make the brand more vibrant

When discussing the ever increasing number of sponsors in sport, it would be hard not to mention Manchester United, having just signed another spread of partners across the globe. The club has recently signed the Indonesian tyre producer bringing the club’s sponsorship total to 33. It begs to ask the question – are these sponsors devaluing the Manchester United brand?

Jonathan Rigby CM for MU, has rejected that the club has anywhere near reached its limit. He states that by implementing a local model amongst the 77 countries they have sponsors in currently, they are appealing to each fan individually, making the brand more vibrant and producing a follow on effect which will ultimately benefit all sponsors involved.

This certainly seems to be the case when you look at their operating profit, which has increased this year by 13.7%. The club has also just signed a new shirt deal worth nearly £500 million over 8 years, increasing their commercial sponsorship revenue to £118 million annually.

More value lies in fewer partners

In comparison, Juventus believe going the other way is more rewarding. The club believes that having valuable relationships with fewer brands will bring you more credibility amongst your following, and as a result will lead to greater financial weight behind the deals. This is the case for Jeep who is currently their headline sponsor, and one of 15 corporate partners.  In a public image driven market, and where it is only public interest which governs your reach; keeping it close to home can be seen as vital.

It’s the end product that matters

Brands enter into sponsorship for a multitude of reasons, but generally speaking, brands sponsor rights-holders for the audience, exposure, association and to fulfill their own brand objectives.  For rights-holders, one of the main things they rely upon, aside from funding, is the fans/ their audience.  As a platform, sponsorship allows both the rights-holder and brand to connect to their audience in a wholly tailored way.

The focus, therefore, shouldn’t be based on the amount of sponsors, but upon the end product – what the partnership has created for the fan, the overall experience and the club. MU’s model works because it has such a wide fan base and global sponsorship platform that allows them to associate with their following in all corners of the world. Juventus, on the other hand, has had success through its emphasis upon a few partners that have a strong affiliation to the club, keeping it close to home allows them to stay true to both the sponsor and the rights-holder’s objectives.

The Outcome

So long as the sponsorship is delivered and is aligned to the brand’s objectives and these objectives align with those of the rights-holder, the end product should ultimately benefit both club and sponsor.  Dilution of the brand will come when parties lose sight of their overall objective.