Sponsorship Sales Basic Series – Part Two: The Three As to Building a Package 17th August, 2015


We have been running a monthly Sponsorship Sessions event at our Head Office since December and some of the challenges and hurdles that are being faced by quite diverse companies we have been helping seem to be the same.  Therefore, I have decided to create a Sponsorship Sales Series for the beginner.  If you are an expert, this blog is not for you – you might be more interested in reading this.


Benefits are key to any partnership as they provide the rights and capability for any brand to activate.  Essentially they are the rights of usage.  It seems simple enough; however, surprisingly many people don’t truly understand what a sponsorship benefit actually is and how it differs from the use of that asset.

Audience:  Your audience is what a sponsor is interested in reaching.  Your audience is not a sponsorship benefit and shouldn’t be included in a contract. The sponsorship benefit is what enables a sponsor to reach your audience.

Asset:  An asset is the benefit you are providing a sponsor and is included in a contract.  This forms part of a rights holder’s deliverables during the term of the agreement.

Activation:  Activation is the activity a sponsors chooses to utilise with the asset(s) they have purchased.  Typically the more creative, engaged and insightful – the more the activation will resonate with the audience, which is key to driving ROI for all parties.  Activation developed alongside the rights holder typically engages audiences better due to the fact that the rights holder understands their audience better than the sponsor.

For example, in a sponsorship agreement with the benefit of social media for the sponsor the breakdown is as follows:

  • Audience = the rights holder’s Twitter network
  • Asset = 5 Tweets
  • Activation = running a Twitter competition giving away 5 prizes to the first person who responds to a Tweet

Far too often, rights holder bulk up their sponsorship package by creating a lot of benefits that is really one asset communicated in different ways.  Although this may make the rights holder feel like they are offering a great deal more, it doesn’t add any value to the prospective sponsor.  Additionally, because rights holders feel like they are giving so much away, then tend to overvalue what is on the table because they themselves are confused about the benefits and the activation of those benefits.

By truly understanding what your assets are, you will start being able to clearly identify what packages and the value of those packages will be – rather than over inflating your proposition.

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.

Make Money with your Blog – Monetising Social Media through Sponsorship 25th October, 2011

Monetising social media is a tricky business.  Although we are not experts in this (for social media experts, get in touch and we can pass on some recommendations!), we are however experts at sponsorship and utilising sponsorship to reap financial rewards for our clients.

These sponsorship tips can be utilised on a number of social media platforms, but more commonly can be found and developed on a blog. Freely available (see WordPress), blogs can not only drive conversations and showcase expertise, but can also provide the perfect platform to integrate new sponsorship revenues.

A great example of integrating sponsorship with social media can be seen with the DMA Email Marketing Blog.  A fantastic source for everything email marketing and written by industry gurus, this blog is read globally and has become one of the prime resources for email marketers.

Here are some of our tips for integration:


Sponsorship is only possible if there is an audience.  Fortunately, the DMA Email Blog had been going for some time and had a significant number of registrants already.  This not only proved that there was appetite for the content, but also that any sponsors involved with the blog would be guaranteed to reach an audience.

Do not try and sell anything until you have a proven audience.


A number of integrated benefits were provided within the DMA Email Blog sponsorship proposal.  These assets were tailored to reach the prospective sponsor’s objectives – the two most important included:

  1. Opportunity to write guest blogs – providing industry expert positioning
  2. Online display advertising – to promote the services or run competitions

Always think about your prospective sponsors before you look to build the assets into your sponsorship proposal.  What might be something key for you may not be of value to a brand.


Pricing for sponsorship can vary, but should always have a value attributed to the tangible benefits you can offer.  Tangible benefits typically include media rights, physical space (events), access to a database, etc.  As the DMA already provided online advertising on their homepage and throughout the site, there was a base CPM rate for the audience.  The sponsorship of the DMA Email Marketing Blog was based on this precedent.

In the case where you do not have anything to base your pricing on, refer to other advertising costs for online display in similar fields bearing in mind that your reach with a blog will be far less than with an online publication.


Ensure that you have analytics to back up the cost and show the value to the sponsors you are aligning with.  Without measurement in place, sponsorship will have no value and you will not be able to attribute ROI to the brand.

For more information on social media and sponsorship, make sure to check out the presentation Property Rights Owners Make Money with Social Media on SlideShare.

What Car? announces TRACKER as Associate Sponsor & Security Category sponsor at UK motoring Oscars 23rd May, 2011

What Car? has announced details of a new strategic partnership with TRACKER, the UK’s leading supplier of vehicle tracking systems. TRACKER is to become the associate sponsor of the What Car? Car of the Year Awards – regarded as the UK motor industry’s equivalent of the Oscars – which will next be held in January 2012.  In addition TRACKER will also sponsor the security category.

Andrew Golby, What Car? publishing director, said: “We are delighted to announce TRACKER as associate  sponsor of the 2012 awards. Plans for next year’s event are well underway, and with the support of one of the industry’s most trusted brands, we are certain of putting on a great night. The Awards are the centre piece of our year and we will have a comprehensive publicity campaign aimed at both the industry and the nation’s car buyers.”

Clive Girling, marketing and technology director for TRACKER, said: “TRACKER is thrilled to be part of the motor industry’s most celebrated event of the year, both as an associate sponsor and backer of the security award.  As a champion of stolen vehicle recovery and the fight against vehicle theft, this is an excellent opportunity for us to formally recognise and reward the manufacturer that is at the forefront of vehicle security”.

The benefits of associate sponsorship include alignment with the most authoritative and trusted brand in motoring, VIP attendance at the awards, print and online advertising within What Car? and on whatcar.com, extensive public relations opportunities, exclusive networking and involvement throughout a multi-channel promotional campaign lasting more than eight months.

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards are acknowledged by many as the UK motoring Oscars.  The event is the automotive industry’s best-known and most influential awards ceremony and the awards are coveted by car makers both in the UK and overseas.  The event is attended by more than 1200 leading industry figureheads alongside many of the most influential motoring correspondents in the UK.

The next event is to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on January 12, 2012, with top-class entertainment yet to be announced.  Previous headline acts have included Jonathan Ross, Jimmy Carr, Al Murray and Jo Brand.

The sponsorship deal was secured by London-based agency Slingshot Sponsorship.


The What Car? stable includes the long-established magazine,  the award-winning website whatcar.com, What Car? TV, What Car? Mobile and What Car? Video – available online or as a video podcast.

Latest National Readership survey results indicate that 797,000 people read What Car? magazine every month, while  two million consumers consult the What Car? website every month.

What Car? is owned by Haymarket Magazines, the UK’s largest independently owned publishing company with a portfolio of more than 150 titles, ranging from specialist consumer magazines to business titles and customer publications, published via wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and under licence worldwide.


TRACKER is the UK market leader with nearly one million systems installed

Using VHF and GPS technology, TRACKER’s SVR system enables the police to pin-point a stolen vehicle, even if it is hidden in a container or lock-up.

The underlying VHF technology is in use in 30 countries throughout the world and to date is responsible for over 250,000 recoveries of stolen vehicles worth $5billion (USD).

TRACKER’s recovery statistics speak for themselves. To date TRACKER has recovered more than 20,300 stolen vehicles – worth a staggering £443 million – since 1993. Each month TRACKER helps to recover an average £2million worth of stolen vehicles.  It has also led the police to arrest over 2,060 car thieves.

For further press information on TRACKER please contact Justine Hoadley, Dominic Dennis  or Cecile Stearn at HSL, Churcham House, 1 Bridgeman Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 9AJ.  Telephone: 020 8977 9132.  Fax: 020 8 977 5200. email: [email protected]

Social Media and Sponsorship: Can Facebook & YouTube Ever Become Co-brandable Assets for Brands? 19th May, 2011

I recently was asked to write a guest blog for Content & Motion – a fantastic social PR agency with some great clients.  They wanted some insight into whether or not their area of expertise could be used to create sponsorship opportunities for brands.  It is a question I get posed often and it was a great opportunity to put some thoughts together.  The blog looks at developing online audiences and how access to these audience could be turned into sponsorship rights.  It also looks into specific opportunities that could be built within Facebook and You Tube.

And in the nature of social media – we’ve just launched our Facebook page where you can get a backstage pass (photos, quotes, vox pops, and competitions) for all of the events we are involved with!

Excerpt from the Content & Motion blog:

With brands utilising and recognising the power of Social Media to drive revenue, such as @DellOutlet attributing $3million in sales to its Twitter account, it’s no surprise to learn that brands are trying to monetise the audiences they have built.Although the majority of social platforms already have built in advertising functionality (i.e. the Video Targeting Tool powered by Google Ads on YouTube), there are additional opportunities to create new media assets within your content as long as it is not intrusive to the audience experience…

Check out the full sponsorship & social media blog post here.

Celebrity Endorsement in Sponsorship 13th December, 2010

Celebrities used to be fantastic opportunities for sponsorship and brand endorsement.  Not only did they look the part, they had massive fan followings and innumerable opportunities to endorse the brand through paparazzi shots and interviews.  However, I anticipate that gravy train will soon run dry.  With the numerous scandals affecting some of the leading brands, how could anyone risk millions of dollars on one single individual anymore?

The celebrity endorsement fallout that led the pack was the infamous Tiger Woods scandal.  The slow leaking of women coming out of the woodwork led a fallout from sponsors Gillete, Accenture, AT&T, and even Gatorade, which didn’t even have a sponsorship relationship with Tiger Woods. 

With the recent allegations that Wayne Rooney has cheated on childhood sweetheart with a prostitute, this is the final nail in the coffin.  Celebrities are not worth the pain, hassle and fan fallout that their ‘private’ lives bring with their endorsement.

As such, we have seen an influx of sponsors supporting festivals rather than individual musicians and of government initiatives rather than sports stars.

I can’t imagine Wayne Rooney will maintain his sponsors throughout the backlash that will soon ensue.  Nor can I imagine the Marketing Directors will ever be able to get through the red tape.

UK AWARE Announces Sponsorship Opportunities 20th October, 2010

UK AWARE, the UK’s only green and ethical lifestyle exhibition, releases sponsorship opportunities to brands.  Leading brands looking for a platform to communicate their current sustainability programmes now have the opportunity to partner with this grass roots social enterprise to deliver something truly exceptional.

With significant exposure both locally and nationally, UK AWARE will help sponsorsposition themselves effectively against other brands who are just ‘whitewashing’ green credentials.

Through a two day exhibition held on the 1st & 2nd of April 2011, with over 15,000+ sustainable advocates in attendance and business networking events held throughout the year, sponsors of UK AWARE have the ability to communicate to both the consumer and business market.  They also are able to help their current and prospective customers live a more sustainable lifestyle by providing them with practical tips and products through partnership with UK AWARE.

Danny Carnegie, co-founder of UK AWARE comments, “UK AWARE is a social enterprise with three main purposes. The first goal is to deliver events that simplify the environmental message for consumers.  There is simply too much confusion in the market and while most people want to be green they are not clear what they should or should not be doing. The second goal is to provide a platform from which green businesses can reach consumers and offer their products and services in a face-to-face environment. And thirdly we want to offer larger companies that are not exclusively green the opportunity to support start ups in the sector through sponsorship, investment and guidance.”

Previous exhibitors of UK AWARE have included Transport for London, Fiat, Zipcar, ActionAid, RSPB, BT, and hundreds more businesses hoping to make a significant impact on the environment in a meaningful way.

Slingshot Sponsorship have been assigned as the exclusive sponsorship agency working with this fantastic opportunity.  New sponsorship rights have been developed in order to effectively leverage this platform for UK AWARE sponsor brands in 2011 providing a new and unique opportunity to reach the sustainable consumer and business market.

If you are interested in finding out more information on being involved with UK AWARE as a sponsor or an exhibitor, please contact Jackie Fast, e: [email protected]

For more information, please visit www.ukaware.com or follow UK AWARE on Twitter @UKAWARE

How SMEs can utilise Sponsorship to Grow 24th September, 2010

Sponsorship gives the impression that only international brands and high salary footballers can benefit from these strategies, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Sponsorship by its nature is a partnership opportunity for two organisations to create synergy.  Synergy creates savings for both businesses and so should really be something every company should undertake – especially in an economic climate such as ours.  Small businesses are even better organisations to undertake sponsorship initiatives as they are more flexible providing them the opportunity to leverage their sponsorship activation strategy when and as it is needed with the opportunities that arise.

Small Business Sponsors Supporting the Community

Sponsorship works for businesses who understand their target audience.  This needs to be the starting point.  Once you understand your target audience, you then have to consider where this audience communicates and how you can communicate with them.  Community sponsorship programmes are a great starting point, especially in the ways of sport.

Many school and community sporting events/teams are desperate for sponsorship to provide their athletes with new equipment.  Sponsoring these teams can be a cost-effective way to build brand awareness to your community.  This works especially well if you are a business who deals with customers within your area – such as restaurants, flower shops, etc.  If you considered the amount of people who are attending the games (both home and away!) and compare that to an advertisement spend in your local paper, I’m sure you will see the benefits.  In addition to providing a CSR programme for your company and its employees. 

Getting involved with community sponsorship programmes such as sport can also bring an additional element of staff engagement to your business.  If this is your objective, speak with the organisers of the event(s) you are sponsoring and see what opportunities you could create.  It might be that your local pizza shop provides pizza for the team when they have won a game or that your staff help out at practice.  This will give your staff the opportunity to be a part of something bigger – part of the community and part of your company – through your sponsorship.

Contra Agreements to Provide Your Services

Your business offers a great service or product which others need.  A great way to get involved with sponsorship with little investment would be to provide your services or products for free in return for sponsorship of an event/programme or perhaps your branding within their communications to their clients.  The key to choosing the right sponsorship contra agreement is to make sure that the event you are sponsoring and the sponsorship proposals you are considering have a large enough audience for you to gain the benefit of reaching them.

Another great example of SME sponsorship is from one of our current sponsors Phil Stannard Associates.  A small audio visual company, but with great potential, they approached the DMA Awards to get involved.  Through a contra deal, they are now the Judging Event Sponsors – an event that brings together 200 of the most influential people in the marketing industry during a four day event.  With no financial investment, they are able to showcase their services and their equipment to the people that are most likely to purchase from them in the future providing them significant ROI moving forward.

These are just a couple of the thousand ideas that are out there on how SME’s can integrate sponsorship within their organisation and utilise the benefits that many of the top brands receive, just at a smaller investment level.  If you ever need further sponsorship tips, be sure to check out our Top Sponsorship Tips on the Slingshot Sponsorship website.

Surge in Digital Sponsors 21st September, 2010

Sponsorship is gaining footing in the digital sector, where sponsors know how to best maximise ROI from these channels.  By its nature sponsorship creates ideal digital marketing opportunities.  It has the flexibility to provide platforms for brands to create exclusive content and online experiences as well as being able to engage directly with their audience.

One of our clients, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), has some surprising figures in this regard.  Seen as a more traditional marketing organisiation, you’d be surprised to learn that over 50% of their sponsorship comes from digital marketing partners!

Marketers are desperately searching for new and economical avenues to create stronger relationships between their brands and target audiences. One avenue that’s resurgent is sponsorship, which is proving a powerful way to engage with consumers. At a time when people are constantly marketed to through an increasing number of channels, consumer engagement is vital for marketers to get their messages across.  When reaching its target audience, sponsorship provides an ideal medium to facilitate this engagement by providing tangible “touch points” for the consumer.

For example, when Silverpop, a U.S.-based organisation that provides worldwide web-based solutions to its clients, was interested in building brand awareness among the top marketers in the United Kingdom, it chose to incorporate a bespoke DMA sponsorship programme within its marketing mix to do so. Silverpop chose to sponsor the DMA B2B Email Marketing Event in London. This sponsorship has allowed the right’s owner the DMA to provide new training for the B2B email sector while also providing the sponsor Silverpop with the best platform from which to showcase its expertise.

For Silverpop, the many touch points and benefits of their sponsorship proposal included:

  • A speaking opportunity at the event
  • Production of a joint press release to associate themselves with the DMA
  • Increased profile among delegates throughout the promotional campaign

This sponsorship provided the perfect platform from which to increase brand awareness and engagement among the people that matter most to the company. 

If you haven’t yet thought about integrating sponsorship into your marketing mix, or felt it wasn’t useful to your type of business, you might want to take a fresh look at your current marketing and what your competitors are doing—it may surprise you.