Slingshot Sponsorship wins SME News’ most innovative sponsorship agency award for 2018. 27th November, 2018

Slingshot Sponsorship wins SME News’ most innovative sponsorship agency award for 2018.

 

London, UK, 27/11/18 – Slingshot Sponsorship, a strategic sponsorship agency, has today been named 2018’s most innovative sponsorship agency by SME News as part of their Business Elite Programme.

SME News (a brand of AI Global Media) is a quarterly publication which draws on a UK wide network of industry insiders to provide CEO’s, leaders and decision makers with cutting edge features, the latest news and industry deals.

The awards programme, strives to showcase the talent, hard work and commitment of SME firms from a vast array of industries across the UK. Its Business Elite program is formulated on the back of months of qualitative and quantitative research to ensure that its awards are a true representation of the very best that the SME environment has to offer. This tried and tested method ensures that each and every award is given on a strictly a merit basis,

Kieran Morris, Director of Slingshot Sponsorship stated: “We are extremely proud to win this award from SME News. We have had a great year creating and evaluating sponsorship opportunities for our clients including Extreme Tech Challenge, London New Year’s Day Parade, NOW TV and Southbank Wintertime Festival. Winning this award has topped a great year and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!”

To see the full list of winners, click here.

About Slingshot Sponsorship

Slingshot Sponsorship is an innovative strategic sponsorship agency based in Central London with offices around the world.  Slingshot works across all industry sectors to help organisations identify, create and optimise assets so they become engaging marketing opportunities for brands to partner with.  Clients include diverse verticals such as publishing, events, music artist rights, award programmes, music festivals, business conferences, sports teams and charities – all with a desire of pushing the boundaries in traditional sponsorship.

For comments and information, please contact:

Kieran Morris, Director, Slingshot Sponsorship

Telephone: +44 (0)7527 784019

Email: kieran@slingshotsponsorship.com


Top 3 Tips When Prospecting For Sponsorship Sales 19th September, 2018

 

All too often, people in the sponsorship industry dive into sales headstrong, without proper justification behind each of their approaches. This leads to poor performance and a lack of interest from prospects and can be avoided simply by taking the time to identify fit.

 

The role of a sponsorship sales professional is to prove value through sponsorship to the brand they are approaching. It is crucial that before starting to sell sponsorship, key research is undertaken and brands are targeted which align closely to the specific assets, and have the best fit with the specific demographic.

 

Below are Slingshot’s top three tips when prospecting brands.

 

  • Visualise the audience experience: The first step before doing anything is to brainstorm the experience an attendee will get and to then understand how a brand would want to engage. This paints a picture as to which industries and brands would benefit the most from sponsoring and which might improve the experience for attendees.

 

  • Zeroing in on targets: Armed with an idea of what industries to consider, build a prospect list based on the synergies between specific brands and the demographic. The main point of sponsorship is to enable a brand to access an audience they couldn’t target otherwise, or to showcase that by engaging in sponsorship they can do this in a cost-effective way. It is important to consider what new products and services a brand is offering and how these can be integrated.

 

  • What’s the hook. With a solid prospect list in hand, outlining a tailored approach for each prospective client based on their current marketing objectives is essential before picking up the phone. A good tip is to think of 3 key points as to why the brand in question should become a sponsor. Pair the brands objectives with specific assets and use these assets to showcase how they solve a brands problem. For example; a consumer electronic brand is trying to increase it’s B2B capabilities and engage more with senior-decision makers in large organisations. The rights holder has a database (GDPR compliant of course…) of decision makers that would be the perfect potential clients of this brand, therefore the sales pitch becomes about utilising this database to engage and create new leads for the brand – something they couldn’t do without sponsorship.

 

It is essential to perform this research before diving in to sponsorship sales. It will ensure that the rights holder will understand what the sell is to each brand, and can therefor tailor their approach, solving a problem and not just asking for money.

 

At Slingshot we pride ourselves on the fact that each call is tailored for that brand in order to add real value to their marketing spend, and satisfy their marketing objectives. It is this highly tailored and specific sales strategy which has led to our impressive roster of clients, and testimonials which praise our “attention to detail”.

 

If you are looking for advice on sponsorship sales or any aspect of the sponsorship industry, we would be more than happy to offer our expertise, please email info@slingshotsponsorship.com with any enquiries.


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!


How and Why the Sponsorship Hunter is Changing in an Evolving Marketplace 19th July, 2018

Since the dawn of the sponsorship marketplace, rights holders have always been perceived as the “hunter” in the industry: having to approach brands directly for sponsorship in order to boost commercial revenue streams and maintain their position as a viable business.

Recent trends, however, indicate this could well be changing. As rights holders continue to innovate, develop and provide brands with high ROI and clear opportunities to achieve their corporate objectives, brands are waking up and becoming increasingly interested in what these platforms can do for them. It could very well be a case of the hunter becoming the hunted.

Sponsorship is fast becoming the most effective form of marketing. When executed correctly, it allows brands to genuinely engage and truly connect with their desired audiences – resulting in a host of short- and long-term positive outcomes for both themselves and the rights holders.

But what is the driving force behind these increasingly popular partnerships?

The importance of ROI in sponsorship

Broadly speaking, the most crucial consideration for a brand when deciding whether or not to partner with a platform or rights holder is simply the deal’s ROI. Therefore, rights holders must be able to prove to potential sponsors that they can generate or exceed a satisfactory ROI in order to have any chance of finalising a deal. Failure to do this will leave the rights holders with next to no chance of securing sponsorship.

So it is vital for rights holders to understand that in order to successfully attract brand partners, they must appreciate a “one size fits all” approach just isn’t good enough. Instead, rights holders must ensure they align their assets appropriately with their targeted brand’s ambitions.

For example, let’s imagine Brand X has an objective of increasing positive brand association across a mass audience. Understandably this will require a multi-faceted approach, particularly when compared to Brand Y – who simply wish to create specific B2B opportunities. Rights holders looking for sponsorship would never be able to give the same pitch or offer identical assets to both and expect success.

To create effective customer relations, rights holders must be able to offer the assets which will enable brands to truly engage with their audience. This means providing opportunities for brands to positively rebrand their image through relevant assets – such as social media channels and key influencers – and create sustainable long-lasting relationships.

What makes sponsorship opportunities so valuable?

The real value in sponsorship lies in how it provides brands with the potential to have a positive impact on all areas of its business. Examples of this could include on-site brand activations which generate increased sales; community engagement with leaves audiences and employees feeling worthwhile; or even social media takeovers which boost follower numbers.

These huge potential benefits put rights holders in a very strong position: owning unrivalled opportunities for brands looking to tap into a cost-effective alternative to traditional marketing which actually delivers results and ROI.

Key takeaway

As the industry moves forward, we are fast progressing to a stage where brands proactively realise the value of sponsorship when executed properly around their unique requirements. As rights holders move to master their propositions, we may soon see brands begin pitching to rights holders for access to their audience.

However, for this sponsorship pendulum to swing, rights holders must continue to invest in developing their own pitches to make them fit for purpose in the modern market. Achieve this, and the hunter could very well soon become the hunted.


The Strategy Behind Sport 10th August, 2016

Sports teams are built and developed – crafted over years of training, coaching, and trading.  Ironically the same strategic perspective is not invested off the pitch.  Although sport sponsorship is responsible for over 70% of the total industry, it still lacks the necessary expertise to execute a sustainable and robust rights holder commercial strategy.  With so much sponsor churn, the sport sponsorship industry reflects a transactional method of sales with the highest bidder taking ownership of sponsorship rights that are often not fully utilised, supporting marketing strategies that are often never realised.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t been an issue for most rights holders with sponsorship rights fees on the whole increasing.  Why fix something that isn’t broken?  Why undersell rights when you can oversell them?  And why, if money is all that you are after, not align yourself to a brand that has no relation or even tenuous link to the sport.

The answer is that now you have to.

It’s not only more imperative for sports sponsorship sales teams to start thinking more creatively about how a sponsorship activation will support an overall sponsor’s strategy, it’s also becoming crucial for fan engagement.  If sport supports brand messaging by harnessing people’s passions, then brands who aren’t contributing to the fan experience or advocacy fail to gain the cut-through they once had through logo badging.  Brands have needed to become more creative with how sponsorship is utilised; however, the sports rights still fail to recognise this shift in value.  Sports teams and organisers tend to complain about the lack of activation on behalf of a brand.  However, if the sponsorship rights package is skewed towards how many impressions they will get on broadcast then it’s impossible to deliver an activation that will resonate.

It starts with creating the right assets.

By strategically understanding the value in a sports sponsorship package beyond that of perimeter boards and logos on kits, rights holders will begin to build the foundation for a partnership that truly works for everyone – including the fans.  By offering the same sponsor benefits as everyone else, sports rights holders not only run the risk of relying on team performance to generate ROI for their sponsors, but also fail to differentiate from every other team.  The assumption that the way things have always been will work in today’s fragmented media landscape is naïve.  However, this ever shifting environment can create unique opportunities for rights holders to develop their assets and audience (social media) – making it a new playing field.

From a sport sponsorship sales perspective, the pace of change is extraordinary – and sponsor gains are being made everywhere.  Be a rights holder who recognises the brand requirement to be part of the experience by creating assets that brands can use.  Be relevant by understanding what assets drive your partnership opportunities – rather than where you can put a logo.


It’s Not Who You Know 25th July, 2016

Far too many of our new business meetings focus purely on who Slingshot knows at Board level with brands. Undeniably, we know a lot. But that’s our business – it’d be like if McDonalds didn’t know what types of condiments to use for their hamburgers. It would be ludicrous if after 6 years of selling sponsorship rights to global brands, we didn’t make a friend or two along the way.

Unfortunately, almost all sponsorship sales agencies use this angle in their pitches – providing a false sense of security, to the potential new client, that sponsorship sales is all about speaking to the right person. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In my 15 years of selling “stuff”, it’s almost never about who you know. Bad salespeople focus on this in a new business pitch because it’s easy. Rather than take time to review the boring strategic processes that underlie sponsorship sales, it’s easier to provide wow factor by name dropping. This masks the fact that the challenge of selling sponsorship actually is controllable by a rights holder and can be fixed without hiring a specialist sponsorship sales agency, and no one really wants that do they?

Slingshot’s approach is never about the black book, which many think is unconventional and also means we lose a lot of pitches to those that guarantee sponsors and often unachievable revenue targets. The smoke and mirrors sales pitch champion who they know, but if you are struggling to maximise your full sponsorship potential it’s not because of your sales people, your property or your access to LinkedIn – it’s your commercial strategy.

Without a commercial strategy that understands what assets you have, what assets brands require to drive ROI, your fair market value and a pretty spectacular proposal – you honestly don’t really have a chance. I am pretty good friends with a lot of big brand buyers, but even I can’t flog something without the above. Gone are Chairman’s Whim days, but it means you have got to start thinking about your proposition if you are going to invest time and resource into selling sponsorship.


Will brands click play on creating an e-athlete megastar in 2016? 23rd February, 2016

E-Sports are fast becoming more popular as both a competitor and spectator sport in the West, with Wembley Arena playing host to large events such as League of Legends and a dedicated e-gaming space currently being developed in Fulham.

Despite numerous stalwarts’ draconian views and attempts to undermine the credibility of the platform, veteran e-sports journalist Rod Breslau commented in a VICE interview that it continues to surpass expectations in revenue and attention. A once tight knit community now draws in hundreds of thousands of attendees to events (surpassing many traditional sporting contests), eager to see their team take home cash prizes to $18million (The International 2015).

Already USA and Korea have ‘appointed’ superstar players (Faker, NadeShot), with the success of KSI (he would be the first to point out he is not a ‘gamer’) in the UK when will mainstream brands see the e-sports as a credible, substantial marketing platform? Red Bull were the first major brand to act signing Dave ‘Walshy’ Walsh in 2006 however relatively few brands have followed. Venturing outside traditional endorsements to capitalise on the expanse of the platform, Red Bull developed training labs focusing on nurturing and developing the e-sports athletes of the future, cementing their position and long term commitment in the sport.

E-sports is growing in size year on year with significant growth expected in 2016. The platform is already producing talent, major events and games which are capable of building and capturing a loyal fan base of elusive millennials. These can be reached through numerous, non-traditional channels including online streams and development YouTube channels, to note Matt ‘NadeShot’ Haag has over one million YouTube subscribers who follow his daily gaming sessions.

Yet Europe has yet to find their e-sports star on the same pedestal as their Asian counterparts such as Sang-Hyeok Lee, who is constantly in discussions with native Chinese companies interested in partnering.

There are a number of parallels with the growth of sports marketing in the 1970’s and the e-gaming platform of today with brands viewing the platform with trepidation as opposed to optimism. Brands should look towards e-sports as an exciting platform to engage with their market using all of the crucial buzz words of content and media coverage of the industry today (in 2014 over 70 million hours of content was captured from League of Legends online, with the BBC streaming the 2015 contest live on their IPlayer and Sport platforms).

2016 is set to be a monumental year for the growth of the e-sports industry, with tournament prize pools reaching up to $20 million and huge strides pending in the Western market.  With new launches of multiplayer sensations (such as Overwatch, Battleborn) sponsors will have the ability to engage in real-time with the audience something which is rarely achieved through traditional sporting means.

For those brands who position themselves as ground-breakers E-sports offers the perfect challenge. The only question is, who will click play?


Bank of America restoring faith in Super Bowl mania 4th February, 2014

Ah, the Super Bowl – the time of the year that makes little to no difference to my life, apart from on Monday, whenAdweek provides us with the glory of the previous evening’s ad-off; with the added bonus of no touchdowns in between.

This year, we bore witness to a Clydesdale horse falling in love with a puppy and (to many people’s dismay) another showing of Bob Dylan selling a car.  Dylan sticking it to the man aside, the ad that struck me most was that of Bank of America.  The Bank used its prized slot as an opportunity to launch the company’s partnership withAIDS charity (RED).  The 60 second slot showcased U2 with the release of their first track in 5 years, ‘Invisible’  and directed fans to download the track for free off iTunes for 24 hours after the ad’s airing, with Bank of America donating $1 for every download (up to $2 million).

The showcasing of this partnership leads perfectly from the piece Patrick Nally wrote last week for #Synergy30.   Within the article, Nally makes the crucial argument that for the sponsorship industry to progress, it ‘needs to be directly involved in the debate and examination of the relationships between sports and the worlds of commerce, education, technology, governments and politics and society in general.’  For me, this 60 second ad did just that.  The Super Bowl had the world at their feet on Sunday (well, until the second half) and granted Bank of America, U2 and (RED) a platform not only to gain global exposure, but to raise awareness and funds for the charity.

What is emphasised through this partnership is the endless opportunity for corporates to use sponsorship/advertising at global sporting events as a platform for greater good.  Through the ad slot, over 3 million free downloads were purchased on iTunes – reaching the $2 million mark within hours, encouraging Bank of America to continue donating further into the night.  Such an overwhelming response to this partnership emphasises the influence corporates, global sporting events and even aging Irish rock stars can generate when given the right opportunity.  Of course, the Super Bowl is at the highest end of the spectrum, but what we need now is for more rights holders to offer platforms that can facilitate these partnerships, and for sponsors to recognise the undeniable value in them.