CSR Partnerships: A Win Win 14th March, 2019

In January, Slingshot wrote a blog predicting that – amongst other things – CSR Partnerships will play a bigger part in the sponsorship industry for 2019. This was highlighted by Sky pulling their sponsorship of Team Sky in favour of increasing their efforts with Sky Ocean Rescue. It was widely speculated that Sky made this decision to target a younger demographic: millennial and gen Z purchase intention is influenced by brand’s philanthropy and purpose more than any other generation.

Beyond purchase intention sponsorship can be a tool to make real change, whether that be on an organisational level, or worldwide. Not only that, CSR partnerships provide a whole host of other benefits. Below Slingshot breaks down 3 key benefits of cause related sponsorship, and how they can be achieved.

 

Engagement:

  • Employee

CSR Initiatives provide an excellent platform for employee engagement. Whether it be cleaning beaches, building schools in underprivileged countries or caring for abandoned animals. Through sponsorship of charities, companies benefit by not only decreasing the time and resource they’d have to dedicate by creating their own initiative but also by increasing employee satisfaction through allowing employees to volunteer, fundraise and support initiatives that have meaning.

  • Client

What better way of communicating that your company has a cause than sharing it with clients? Being able to host clients, or potential clients at events like Sport Relief is a huge advantage over competitors with run-of-the-mill corporate hospitality programs, particularly as corporate transparency and CSR has been shown to encourage loyal and trusting client relationships.

 

Alignment:

Most brands have CSR, whether those initiatives be: plastic pollution, reduction in carbon emissions or commitment to equality there will be the perfect platform or charity to align with to amplify impact. Sky Ocean Rescue, their own initiative to prevent ocean-plastic pollution, teamed up with Project 0 a global marine charity for the #PassOnPlastic campaign to produce co-branded merchandise through Project 0’s ambassador network. As previously mentioned, charity partnerships can provide fantastic PR and marketing footprints for brands. In this case: Sky got access to numerous celebrity ambassadors who are usually near-impossible to reach and in return Project 0 received 25% of all proceeds from the merchandise sales, to go towards their goal of putting 30% of the world’s oceans under protection by 2030. A win-win.

 

Innovation:

Climate change and consumers are causing companies to re-think how the produce, distribute and use their goods, and sustainability has become a driver for innovation. Levi’s make jeans that use up to 96% less water in the manufacturing process and Adidas have started to make trainers from recycled plastic. Here’s the kicker: both products came from cause related partnerships driven by consumers. By forming strategic partnerships with not-for-profits, corporation can produce new products that not only save the planet but save their profit margin too. Imagine the money Levi’s are saving on their water bill!

 

Cause-related partnerships – if maximized – are a fantastic strategic tool for solving supply and manufacturing issues, saving money, raising money, and for reaping a whole host of promotional benefits along the way. They make good business sense; It’s just an added bonus that partnerships can be used in corporate communications and marketing to make consumers engage more. On a more sombre note: corporations are often the cause of environmental and social issues, such as fast fashion with child labour and carbon emissions and Oil corporations for most environmental issues. Therefore, these corporations should be investing in cause related partnerships, to help mitigate the negative effects they are having on the earth.


High Culture; a Thriving Market 10th October, 2013

Sponsorship of the arts and ‘high culture’ is a topic that has been vehemently discussed within the industry for years.  Indeed, the industry is one that has been criticised for its choice of partners; see BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery and Shell’s long standing partnership with the Southbank Centre.  Yet, controversy aside, high culture such as the opera, ballet and classical music has a deep rooted association with large corporates.

It seems, however, that the industry is changing.  Over the past few years there has been an influx of new musicians that have begun to open younger generation’s eyes to high culture arts.  Take for example, musicians such as Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, both of whom are classically trained, yet they appear time and time again on some of the UK’s most favoured music blogs.  Furthermore, in 2011 BBC Radio 1’s DJ Greg James played Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni as part of the ‘study break’ feature. The reaction was hugely unexpected with the classical piece reaching number 28 in the Top 40 Chart.

There are also a number of more intimate events and concerts popping up across the country. Ruthless Jabiru is a successful classical orchestra composed and directed by Kelly Lovelady and is entirely made up of Australian musicians living in Britain. Ruthless Jabiru runs a combination of intimate and large events across the country, playing in venues such as Australia House, London and LSO St. Luke’s, and has been recognised for its ambassadorial work by Buckingham Palace.

In the ever more saturated festival market, some brands are beginning to look elsewhere for inspiration.  Events such as those hosted by Ruthless Jabiru (see their up and coming event at Union Chapel Monday 14th October) are creating unique experiences for brands to interact with younger audiences.

Kelly Lovelady said, “Classical events like those of my own orchestra, Ruthless Jabiru, are a fantastic platform for brands to interact with consumers on a more intimate level. The passions associated with classical music in the distinctive and beautiful venues in which we perform can really create a unique experience for both brand and attendee.”

This shift in attitude is being helped by a development being seen in the events themselves, with classical artists adopting modern pieces and trading in traditional instruments for electric ones.  In light of this shift within the market, Slingshot has compiled two examples of consumer brands partnering with high culture events.

Peugeot and Bond

As always there are of course brands ahead of the curve. The Peugeot and Bond (Bond, not James Bond) partnership is one of the first examples of a big name brand sponsoring classical music band. This was designed to differentiate themselves from other brands and connect with a young, mass market. As part of the sponsorship Bond, a female electric instrument quartet, created a mini album specifically for the Peugeot 308 CC adverts, this was then given away as a free download on the Peugeot website.

Siemens and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

A different partnership to that of Peugeot and Bond, Siemens sponsorship of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is a prime example of a partnership based on the wide and international audience of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields as well as classical music in general. The orchestra allowed Siemens to access the typical ABC1 demographic of higher culture arts whilst also providing access to a younger audience through young musicians like Joshua Bell who are part of the St Martin in the Fields Orchestra.


Game, Set and Match: My Top 3 Wimbledon Sponsorship Campaigns 20th June, 2013

In a few weeks another chapter of the greatest tennis tournament in the world will be written. Wimbledon is not just one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, but also a very unique platform for sponsors, or as The All England Club calls them – suppliers.

So what is it that makes Wimbledon so different? Watching the matches on television you will realise that unlike the Premier League for example, no sponsor hoardings and perimeter advertising within the grounds of Wimbledon itself are currently allowed. You may spot Rolex next to the clock, Slazenger on the tennis balls or Ralph Lauren outfits worn by the ball kids, but these logos are only allowed on the items and services that the brands supply Wimbledon with. Despite those restrictions, Wimbledon is still exceptionally attractive to brands. Sponsors can use the association with this traditional event across their own marketing mixes.  In light of this, I’ve put together my top 3 Wimbledon sponsorship campaigns:

1. IBM at London Heathrow (2010 and 2011)

In order to raise awareness of IBM’s sponsorship of the Wimbledon Championships, IBM ran an innovative digital advertising campaign at one of the busiest international airports. Over 70 airport screens at London Heathrow were been programmed to select match updates and players most relevant to departing flights. “On average, passengers look at digital screens 99 times during their airport stay. The campaign supports IBM’s role in delivering real time player progress to Wimbledon fans at a time when they are unable to watch the match and want to keep in touch with the action”, stated JCDecaux’ Airport Marketing Director Steve Cox in an IBM press release. Thanks to the live updates IBM’s screens would have had a fair few more glances at the screens during the Wimbledon period. Check out the video summarizing this successful campaign.

2. Evian ball hunt (2012)

In 2012, Evian used its social media channels to engage with tennis fans offering them the chance to win VIP Wimbledon tickets. In their ‘Evian ball hunt’ campaign, which was supported by tennis star Maria Sharapova an Evian ball boy regularly revealed clues on the water suppliers Twitter and Facebook accounts. Followers chased him throughout London and once caught, the ball boy gave them a numbered Evian tennis ball. Each day one lucky number was chosen giving tennis fans the chance to be part of the action.

3.  Lavazza’s ‘We are the queue’ (2011)

Due to the aforementioned restrictions within the Wimbledon grounds, the famous Wimbledon queue, where people wait for up to 8 hours to get tickets, has become an increasingly important area for sponsors to showcase themselves. In 2011 Lavazza got it right. Through their ‘We are the queue’ campaign, the official coffee brand was not only serving coffee to patient tennis fans, but also made their queuing time worthwhile. Lavazza converted the area into a huge playground and relaxation bubble, where queuers could interact with games. A dedicated website and Facebook page as well as a smart phone application gave Lavazza the opportunity to engage with this key audience further. Check out the video footage of this amazing campaign here.

Sponsorship Agency Slingshot Sponsors Two Brothers and a Tuk Tuk Around the Seven Modern Wonders of the World as they Tuk the High Road 26th September, 2012

Innovative London-based sponsorship agency Slingshot just announced their sponsorship of brothers Kevan Pulfrey and Alex Saxon as they travel to the seven modern wonders of the world in a three-wheeled tuk tuk. The adventure will see the brothers cover 65,000 kilometres, four continents and 38 countries in an attempt to attain a Guinness world record for a journey they have been told by many is impossible.

The brothers expect to face extreme challenges throughout the voyage from severe weather to dangerous animals and for the most part they will camp leaving them exposed to difficult conditions. Kevan Pulfrey said: ‘We will face danger, overcome fears, break down in the worst places imaginable and have our eyes opened to the delights of planet earth.’ The tuk tuk is incredibly compact with no space for anything but the most necessary provisions and the pair will rely on basic road maps and a compass to navigate their journey around the world. Throughout the journey they will be raising money for their chosen charities the Alzheimer’s Society and War Child, two charities particularly close to their hearts. Donations can be made through the VirginMoney Giving Page on the Tuk the High Road website.

Jackie Fast managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented: ‘The journey is both incredibly unique and brave and we are thrilled to be involved.  Being involved as a sponsor helps us reinforce our own brand positioning as being challenging and innovative as well as showcasing our new international sponsorship services launched earlier this year. We are also happy to support the Alzheimer’s Society and War Child – making this part of our agency’s CSR initiatives.”

The pair drove the tuk tuk to Slingshot Sponsorship’s offices in Islington for photos with the Slingshot team before setting off on Saturday 15thSeptember towards Dover where they would leave English shores for the last time in over a year – they estimate the trip will take between 12 to 14 months. They will be keeping their followers up to date with their many adventures through their website www.tukthehighroad.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Calling all UK consultants & agencies – Slingshot Sponsorship needs you! 14th August, 2012

We have had the pleasure of working with some amazing clients recently through our One-Day Sponsorship Boot Camp.  Many of whom are on the verge of producing great platforms and strategies that will create sustainable sponsorship programmes.

However, what many of them currently lack is the resource and sales skills to effectively sell their sponsorship packages to the UK market.

Slingshot have collated a sponsorship consultant and agency roster, which outlines all the good and great agencies and consultants who are able to work with projects on a commission-only or small-fee + commission package.  However, with the recent influx of freelancers and agencies into sponsorship following the London Olympics our roster is in desperate need of an update.

We have a number of music festival and charity clients who are currently on the lookout so if you think you might have something to offer, we’d really love to hear from you so we can add you to our roster if you aren’t there already!

For more information and to be considered for our consultants roster, please contact Mark Mylam: mark@slingshotsponsorship.com | +44 (0) 207 226 5052.

Slingshot Sponsorship Nominated for the Corporate Engagement Awards 2012 25th July, 2012

Slingshot Sponsorship has been shortlisted for the second year running at the Corporate Engagement Awards.

Slingshot Sponsorship has been shortlisted for three categories at the Corporate Engagement Awards for their innovative approach with consumer publication What Car? Magazine. Categories shortlisted include Best Collaborative Approach, Best Execution of Corporate Sponsorship Activity and Best Relationship Building Sponsorship Programme.

Andrew Golby, publishing director at What Car? commented:

It is a huge achievement to be creating award winning partnerships at What Car?  We have seen first-hand how partnerships can truly achieve more together and it is great how our collaborative approach with Slingshot has helped to create this.

At last year’s awards Slingshot Sponsorship collected two Gold Awards and two Silver Awards for their corporate partnership programme with The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and credit and business information specialist Equifax.

The Corporate Engagement Awards is the only European benchmark of best practice in all aspects of the corporate partnership & sponsorship process, and three nominations in such competitive categories is a fantastic acknowledgement of Slingshot’s hard work as they enter their third successful year.

Slingshot Sponsorship delivers and develops long-term brand strategies that engage targeted audiences through sponsorship rights.  Integrated and tailored in each approach, Slingshot diversifies across a range of industries with clients based in publishing, events, trade associations, charities, motorsport and music.

Jackie Fast, managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship and also a judge at the Corporate Engagement Awards, is thrilled to be shortlisted:

It is such an achievement to not only be nominated for a second year but to also be nominated within three categories alongside some very high profile campaigns. Slingshot Sponsorship has gone from strength to strength and I am thrilled that our hard work and unique approach is being recognised. I am also delighted to be appointed as a judge for the 2012 awards and I am looking forward to helping identify the best partnerships within the industry.

The winners of the Corporate Engagement Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on September 18th 2012.

How to Build Working Relationships 24th April, 2012

Many companies feel that sales people are the face of the company and therefore are the only ones who need to foster relationships.  This could not be farther from the truth.  As the divide between marketing and sales grows thinner it becomes increasingly important for everyone to appreciate developing and growing working relationships – this includes the creative executive designing ads in an agency to the marketing manager in a brand.  Collaboration is not just necessary in smaller communities – it is everywhere.  It exists within your office as well as outside of your office – between departments and between agencies.

At Slingshot Sponsorship, building relationships is not just a service we provide; it’s the vital component to our business’s survival.  Fortunately, we are blessed with amazing, talented clients and sponsors so our job is not too difficult; however, there are some key tips we use to help us build lasting working relationships:

1.  TRANSPARENCY – Far too often there are too many secret squirrel discussions going on – between the agency, client, brand, creative team, etc.  But 99% of the time everyone is trying to achieve the same objective and so being transparent highlights where there are gaps in misunderstanding.  Sorting these gaps out early helps speed up the project.  Transparancy can also highlight where people have been given different information, which can also be the reason for delays.

In our sponsorship agency, we like to be transparent with everything – from the prices of our sponsorship proposals to the rates we charge our clients.  There is a value to everything we do and everything we sell; therefore the need to hide pricing is unnecessary.  For example, you wouldn’t pay £7 for a bag of Haribo because it’s not worth that (unless you were in a ski resort in the Alps).

2.  COMMUNICATE – This goes without saying, but communication is an obvious way to build relationships.  Furthermore, by communicating with your clients/sponsors/agencies you can find out changes within the business faster than by reading about it on the latest edition of Marketing Week.  This not only helps you build your relationship, but helps you deliver the best value.

For our rights owner clients, we try and help forge this communication with face-to-face interaction mid-way through a sponsorship programme.  For example, we sign sponsors to the What Car? Awards in May leaving a large gap of time between signing contracts and the awards ceremony (January).  In order to keep the communication maintained we have introduced a Sponsors Lunch in September to update sponsors and more importantly to build relationships – between both the rights owner and sponsor, but also between sponsors.

3.  CARE – True relationships are not built on the used-car salesman technique of faking it.  If you are like most people, you will be working in the same industry for the majority of your career – as will your peers.  People like to work with people they like and people tend to like people who are helpful, considerate, and knowledgeable.  If you don’t care about your job, you certainly won’t care about someone else’s – which is never a good starting point to fostering a relationship.

As a sponsorship agency, most of what we do is build relationships – however, the importance for building lasting relationships applies for every industry and every job you are in.

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.

Sponsorship: Pushing boundaries in an ever changing landscape 24th February, 2012

Sponsorship is a very unique industry, one that is both growing as well as dramatically shifting.  At the moment, there seems to be an inertia amongst sponsorship agencies and brands at one end of the scale, while at the other end there is an active driving force pushing the industry into a more ‘grown-up’ and sustainable form of marketing. I’d like to think Slingshot Sponsorship is the latter.

Put simply, sponsorship is a form of marketing.  And just like good old fashioned direct marketing campaigns, sponsorship needs to be measured, creative and deliver results for the client.  Somewhere along the line, sponsorship campaigns have stagnated, which has created an industry that bases success on logo views making it no different to advertising – except lacking the creativity.  This was caused by the reasons sponsorship was signed off initially – typically the CEO who was boosting his own ego and basing brand positioning on access to hospitality boxes and exclusive tickets, rather than marketing ROI.

However, sponsorship is so much more than that and for the brands and sponsorship agencies out there who are willing to work a bit smarter, the returns can be significant.

My favourite example of smarter thinking is with the Direct Marketing Association who dramatically shifted their involvement with sponsorship enabling them to provide more value to their members at no additional cost (view case study here).  Rather than just being an add on, this membership organisation now counts sponsorship revenue as core to their business processes and integral to their overall income.

Another smarter thinking client we have is the What Car? Awards, which saw an increase of 1032% on sponsorship revenue this year simply by shifting some of their current activities in order to create value for their sponsors (view case study here).  For example, instead of just having sponsors involved with the presentation ball itself, What Car? created new promotional channels including promotion of the shortlist through media sponsor The Metro; providing sponsors a significant amount of national exposure.  Neither additional resource nor expense was needed as the shortlist was always part of their programme, but by changing the promotion and involving partners, this dramatically changed the value derived for the What Car? Awards sponsors.

We like to think we are pushing boundaries  and making sponsorship work harder and smarter for our clients so if you are interested in pushing some with us, make sure to get in touch or sign up to our newsletter.