My Mom and I are wired as opposites in a lot of ways - I think she's fabulous by the way. My Mom loves math – which was a really good thing for me while I was in high school. I hate math, except maybe for geometry. She always says, “I love that there’s a concrete, definite right and wrong answer. There are rules for how you get there, and you can count on them to work.” Makes sense, and they say if you like math you don’t prefer English/writing (too subjective and open ended); and vice versa. I really enjoy sitting down at the end of the day, sipping a glass of red wine and writing about whatever I want. Whether it’s a letter to my new son, or something I’m passionate about, poetry, whatever... I love it. One thing I like about both reading and writing is that the experience is different every time. There will always be new stories, there will always be a new way to take our vast inventory of words and arrange them in a new way. I love that every time you pick up your pen a brand new expression of thought can captured and rolled out on paper from the tip of your pen. There is never an end to the dynamic potential of creative expression, and I think the anticipation of the potential of writing something extraordinary is limited only by your investment into your arrangement of those words.
With sponsorship, I suppose there are ways that it can be like math – there are guiding principles and best practices that will directly impact your success; but typically those rules evolve. While it’s good to have measurable and quantitative data available to prove ROI; I still tend to think sponsorship is more like writing a book. Potential is sky high, if you work hard enough, and really allow creativity to blossom; you can create a partnership or activation strategy that moves your previous efforts from good to great. When you truly dig in, educate yourself, inventory your assets, consider new partners, consider your audience, and creatively consider how the partnership might be made valuable for each party involved – you can create a “best-selling” sponsorship story. And you can do it more than once in completely different ways with completely different partners. If there were hard set “rules” to how to advance in sponsorship, (aside from those that set boundaries and guidance), sponsorships would all look the same. This is why it’s a really good idea to consider multiple partners when you’re selling your sponsorships. There are so many ways you can partner with various organizations that you’ll want to consider the potential impact you could have with multiple partners, write a proposal that highlights the customized ideas you have in mind for each, and get a meeting scheduled. You might write completely different “books”, er… proposals, for each partner. If you land on a dynamite idea with one particular partner, go after them first – edit and polish, and consult with them on how to make it a “best seller” to them. Once the final proposal is agreed upon and signed, you’ve probably been through several drafts, added or taken away “chapters,” and creatively agreed upon an exciting activation strategy that will rock the world of your target audience.
Results of a partnership vary too. While it’s true that some books become best sellers seemingly overnight, the more realistic expectation is that it will evolve. The Twilight series was published in 2005, and didn’t become a major hit until closer to 2008 when the first movie came out. It’s still climbing in popularity today. If you can land a dynamite sponsor, odds are the longer they stick around, the more good you’re both going to get out of it. Making it worth both of your while to agree to this is a really good idea. Now, while ROI can and should be measured, you can’t guarantee a result. You simply don’t know how successful you’re partnership will be until after the fact. Sponsorship doesn’t follow a fast rule of 2+2=4.
Now I’m off to read a few more good stories (sponsorship proposals), and look forward to absorbing the creative efforts of each author!