The Evolution of Sponsorship: speaking at Bournemouth University 14th March, 2012

I was recently asked to present at the sixth annual Mike Warne Annual Marketing Communications Lecture at Bournemouth University in partnership with the CIM.  My presentation was titled The Evolution of Sponsorship: A Sponsorship Agency Perspective (view on SlideShare here).

Arriving at Bournemouth University, not only was I amazed at how crowded the lecture hall was, but more importantly amazed they managed to secure a sponsor for their event – an energy drink Little Miracles.  I was truly impressed by the whole evening!

My presentation provided a view of how sponsorship is shifting alongside the shift in marketing – how one way communications are now two way communications and what that means for the sponsorship industry.  How traditional forms of sponsorship are becoming integrated messages utilising multiple platforms and how this development in integration is creating loyalty and cut through amongst the many consumer brand messages we receive each day.  As a sponsorship agency, one of the areas we often discuss is how sponsorship is more than just signing off on the sponsorship proposal and ensuring that your logo is placed on the right billboard.  Although this does form part of sponsorship, it can be so much more – truly uncovering synergies between brands to create something truly unique.  For some examples of great sponsorship campaigns make sure to check out the Coca-Cola Polar Bowl and the JayZ & Bing collaboration.

The keynote of the evening was Jeff Dodds, Executive Marketing Director of Brand and Marketing Communications at Virgin Media, whose presentation showcased not only their sponsorship platforms, but more importantly uncovered the reasons behind why they chose to invest in those specific platforms.  Alongside my favourite answer of WWRD (what would Richard do?), Jeff explained how sponsorship was used to demonstrate how being a Virgin Media customer and leading the Virgin Media life is better than leading their competitors.  They activated this through the experiences that Virgin Media customers receive during their sponsored events – for example, Virgin Media customers receive VIP access and free stuff at V Festival just by being a customer.  This is an excellent example showcasing how sponsorship can be used to increase loyalty and develop brand experiences beyond logos.

To get a complete run through of the event and what was discussed make sure to read Rebecca Crafts Blog here.