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.


XTC Sponsorship Series Presents: Jungle Creations As Sponsor For Social Media Vertical 4th September, 2017

Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) is excited to introduce first time judges and proud official sponsors of the Social Media Vertical category Jungle Creations to the 2018 XTC Sponsorship Series. Jungle Creations specializes in viral content creation and distribution for an array of global brands and regularly tops the charts for the most shared branded campaigns on Facebook. Regularly achieving over four billion views a month on its social channels alone, they’re in the top 10 most viewed media platforms in the world and in March 2017 their channel VT was the most viewed channel on all of Facebook.

Now in it’s fourth year, XTC 2018 returns more exciting and innovative than ever as the competition brings together the world’s brightest entrepreneurial minds to compete for the chance to pitch their budding business ventures to an all-star panel of judges on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Jungle Creations will be be joining the team of global sponsors who will be on hand to guide and support this year’s applicants as they compete in the Tech Challenge of their lives.

“At Jungle Creations we’re always on the look-out for exciting and innovative technology companies to showcase to our billions of viewers. With our platform reaching millions of people a day, we think it’s important to use this influence to give ground-breaking tech companies an opportunity to be seen.We’ve carefully crafted our network to offer specific, relevant audiences for brands. By building platforms with unique identities and audiences, we’re able to market category-specific brands to the right people at the right time.We’re proudly sponsoring the Social Media vertical to help start-ups learn how to market the right way on social by utilising platforms like ours to grow their businesses, drive sales and raise awareness of their world-changing tech.” – Mitch Strong, Jungle Creations Commercial Partnerships Director

As part of its sponsorship, Jungle Creations will offer prizes to the contestants within the Social Media Vertical as well as to the Winner of XTC 2018. Up for grabs is one Social Media Consultancy session with the Head of Social at Jungle Creations and one branded video distribution on its largest page VT.

Commenting on the partnership, XTC COO, Sabine Schindlbauer said: “We are delighted to welcome Jungle Creations as the official Social Media Vertical sponsor. Integrating brands into XTC helps the entire competition grow, whilst also helping Jungle Creations achieve their objectives. With Jungle Creations’ leading content platforms showcasing our start-ups technology, it will enable them to grow and drive global awareness.”

Deal brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship.

Jungle Creations: Website | Facebook | Instagram
XTC: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Evolve With Social Or It Will Pass You By 12th July, 2017

Social is soaring and it doesn’t look set to slow down anytime soon. The majority of online users are moving away from computers in favour of smartphones. Figures released by OFCOM show 66% of the UK own a smartphone, as do 90% of 16-24 year olds. It’s the latter group that makes brand sponsorship on social platforms very profitable to those targeting their content at millennials. Social media sponsored content is fast becoming the best way to reach out and inform a digital generation.

Brands generally prefer the  method of sponsored content as it differs from usual native advertising and its purpose is to inform and not necessarily convince its audience, keeping the brand message much more authentic.

A case study posted on the Instagram website claims that sponsored posts results in 2.8x higher ad recall than other online advertising. The soft nature of the posts and the tailored way in which Instagram integrates the posts are the likely reasons for the higher re-call rate. The company has also moved to close the gap between celebrity endorsements and sponsored posts by placing them under one umbrella. Snapchat has also introduced it’s sponsored filters campaign, where brands can sponsor a filter for a specific amount of time. With 150 million users daily it makes for a very lucrative opportunity.

Facebook has gone a slightly different way and created a unique sponsorship system, which  is now in high demand. The company allows brands to sponsor user activity instead of posts. Partner’s simply pay to highlight an action that users have already taken on the social network or within a Facebook-connected app.

Social platforms have created great ways for brands to capitalise through sponsored content and thus far, audiences have been receptive to this influencing method due to sponsorship’s credibility to not be so intrusive. With social media continuously evolving and creating new opportunities for brands, rights holders must ensure that they are constantly up to date with changes so that they too can offer relevant opportunities for brands. It is not enough anymore to offer Facebook or Twitter posts as part of a sponsorship package. Rights holders need to understand how brands will want to use social platforms to ensure maximum cut through.


Recognise the Value of Social Influencers for your Brand 18th January, 2017

Influencer endorsement is not a new concept, it has however taken on a completely new meaning since the emergence of social media.

A celebrity’s influence has become larger and far more valuable with the ability to personalise their endorsement of a brand. Through ‘organically’ integrating products into a social media post, followers become more susceptible to influence, and are more inclined to listen when it is in a celebrity’s own words.

Currently the most liked image on Instagram is a Coca Cola sponsored post from Selena Gomez, with 6.2 million likes and counting. When an influencer seems to genuinely like and use a product on social media it is arguably far more effective to a consumer than traditional advertising, even when that celebrity is featured. What Selena Gomez proves is that when ads are incorporated well, fans respond positively to the brand.

It is this fact that brands have come to recognise and is why paid social media posts are fast becoming celebrities most lucrative asset.

Sponsored content however, is not just for celebrities. Any ordinary social media user with enough followers can utilise their influence to make money from sponsored content.

Users with as few as 100K followers can make significant money from sponsored content, proving fame is not everything when developing a successful social media brand.

Many have found the secret to success is finding your niche and remaining consistent. Repetition is key to successful accounts. Followers respond when they know what to expect from an account and when you stray away from your niche, you lose followers.

Therefore, smaller accounts remain successful for brands to advertise through, as they value follower engagement over sheer number of followers. An account with 100 followers where all followers engage with posts can be worth more to an advertiser than one with 1000 followers where no-one engages.

You can’t make an impact with people who aren’t paying attention. Brands that recognise influential individuals and utilise their reach and personality well will see the results.


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.


Connecting with the Youth- Successful Sponsorship Strategies to Young People 3rd December, 2013

Digital media proliferation has led to social media platforms becoming paramount to successful sponsorship strategies directed at the youth. Younger consumers also tend to be far more receptive to campaigns based around their passions, of which sport and music are the most universal.

Deloitte and Further Education

Sponsorship campaigns in Universities are becoming increasingly common, with the most well-known examples coming through sport. Deloitte’s collaboration with the British Universities and Colleges Sport body (BUCS) is particularly successful. The 5-year partnership deal focuses on a ‘Leadership Academy’ model which delivers events to BUCS members to experience and develop leadership and communication skills.

Through the partnership, Deloitte has first-hand access to thousands of graduates which enables them to maintain their position as one of the top graduate employers (#2 in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2013). It also gives Deloitte an opportunity to build a rapport with students, making them a leading choice for career-searching graduates.

Spotify and Bacardi on Tour

Consumers tend to be more receptive to campaigns that draw upon personal interests. ‘Spotify on Tour’ tapped into this by teaming up with Bacardi to bring music based experiences to fans across America. They created intimate gigs and festivals with renowned artists such as Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lemar with an emphasis on musical discovery for real music lovers.

The project was supported by a dedicated ‘Spotify on Tour’ which enabled sharing of tour dates, exclusive images and video content. The campaign resonated with the younger generation, which in turn helped Spotify increase its Facebook ‘likes’ to over 2.7 million.

Coca-Cola – Fusion of Music and Sport

Sporting events also represent golden opportunities to engage with young people. Coca-Cola directed its sponsorship of London 2012 towards the youth with the innovative ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign. ‘Move to the Beat’ celebrated British talent by combining the critically acclaimed architects Pernilla & Asif and award winning DJ Mark Ronson. It was based over four different platforms: the Coca-Cola song, documentary, Facebook app and the Coca-Cola Olympic Games pavilion, and had the overall objective of bringing ‘teens closer to the Olympic Games by fusing sport with their passion for music’. The campaign generated a vast amount of online activity including 245 million search impressions, an additional 1.5 million Facebook likes and 21,000 Twitter followers. In addition, Coke became the 2nd most talked about brand during the London Olympics.

Much of the success of these campaigns can be attributed to the use of highly  relevant content for young people and the right platform for the market. Given the significant changes to the way young people are now marketed to it will be fascinating to see how the sponsorship landscape continues to evolve and how brands adapt to this fertile marketing demographic.


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.



How to Make an Impact through Social Media: Slingshot Sponsorship Partner with That Lot 16th October, 2013

Slingshot Sponsorship is delighted to announce a partnership with That Lot Creatives to provide a Bootcamp service on how to make an impact through social media.  The Bootcamp aims to provide organisations with an insight into the sponsorship industry with a focus upon developing sponsorship proposals and approaching and securing sponsorship.  Over the past three years, Slingshot Sponsorship has developed the Bootcampto become a highly tailored service suited to all organisations.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director, Slingshot Sponsorship stated: “We have successfully delivered tailored Bootcamps for over 50 organisations.  The success of the Bootcamp has been through Slingshot’s insight into the development of the sponsorship industry and it felt like a natural progression to advance the offering into the digital sphere.  Social Media has become an ever increasingly important tool and we are thrilled to be working with That Lot to develop an astute Bootcamp for future clients.”

That Lot is a new social media agency, headed by writer, comedian and Twitter obsessive David Schneider (150,000 followers and counting) and the UK’s foremost professional tweeter, David Levin (@BBCApprentice and @BBCTheVoiceUK).

David Schneider commented: “David Levin and I have worked closely with Slingshot to create informative, enjoyable workshops that give individuals and companies the tools to really cut through online platforms. We want to make sure that people leave our course inspired and able to tweet and post with impact and humour.”

The courses form part of the Bootcamp offering from Slingshot and can either be added to the current Sponsorship Bootcamp or provided on a standalone basis.

David added: “I’m a bit of a Twitter evangelist, keen to spread the word about how to do Twitter better. Working with Slingshot is a great fit for us. I’m not saying that, together with them, we’ll turn every company or individual Twitter feed into @OscarWilde, but we’re confident we can help people grow their influence online enormously.”

Opportunities for the Social Media Bootcamp are currently available.


Secret Cinema: The Changing Nature of the Live Experience 10th July, 2013

Last month, I was fortunate enough to get tickets for the first night of Laura Marling’s eagerly anticipated ‘immersive live music experience.’  For their most recent venture, the magical minds behind Secret Cinema – ‘a growing community of all that love cinema, and experiencing the unknown’ has teamed up with Miss Marling to launch Secret Music, alongside the release of her album ‘Once I Was an Eagle.’

Through their relatively short existence, Secret Cinema has grown a fan base of epic proportions and, if my experience last month was anything to go by, I can understand why.  Secret Cinema has an innate ability to transport attendees into a different world, delivering first class events based upon a truly unique model, which in my opinion, is beginning to alter the future of the live experience.

After purchasing my ticket for the event, I received an invitation dated 1927, a dress code of Vintage Black Tie and a list of required objects that ranged from a bouquet of flowers for the mistress of the house, a photograph of an ex-lover and a satchel filled with unwanted clothes.  The venue for the evening was the ‘Grand Eagle Hotel’ an old school that was filled with butlers awaiting your arrival, giggling maids, croquet on the front lawn, a smoking room with women lazing on chaise lounges watching gentlemen play chess and pool, rooms named after Marling’s songs filled with film projections, wild leaves and tree trunks.  Actors milled in and out between guests playing out narratives and creating whispers of secret happenings – and then, of course, a beautiful set from Marling herself.

Yet aside from the immense production throughout the evening, one thing stood out for me, the complete absence of camera phones.  Upon arrival, each guest was politely asked to hand over all technology, which meant the entire evening was void of irritating flash and smartphone screens shining on your face, everyone was there simply, for the experience – and it was wonderful.

The banning of camera phones has begun to be implemented at more and more gigs, with bands such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Savages championing their absence – requesting that guests fully immerse themselves in the live experience.

From a sponsorship point of view, this is an interesting occurrence.  At its core, sponsorship is about engaging with audiences, and enhancing the overall experience of events – and in many instances low budget filming disconnects attendees from this.  What is more, in many cases, videos popping up around YouTube ruins it for all those with tickets eagerly awaiting the event.

The ban of camera phones at events also allows rights holder/artist to use video content and photos in an interesting and unique way, delivering it to the attendee as a kind of gift.  As you can see below, each evening, the Secret Music team take a photograph of the audience and post in on their Facebook the following day for attendees to enjoy.  Alt-J have also championed this with the creation of a new piece of technology called Soundhalo which delivers  an entire live set for download immediately after it is performed.

For sponsors, having ownership of such precious memories allows them to communicate this back to event attendees, allowing the brand-consumer journey to continue further than the event itself.

I was well and truly immersed into another world for the Marling-Secret Music venture and I welcome more of these experiences in the future.