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Why Sponsorship is Like Writing a Book

by Emily Taylor
28 02 2011

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!

Categories:   General
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Why Sponsorship?

by Emily Taylor
23 02 2011

“I need a new solution to funding our organization’s efforts,” is a statement we hear from time to time as we chat with new members.  Especially the not for profits who have never really relied on sponsorship as a way to generate funding for the efforts they are so passionate about.  It is smart to spend time educating yourself on how to do sponsorship – because it really is a new concept to ask for sponsor support in exchange for something that will value them.  There are right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it – but that’s another topic entirely.

 For most organizations we agree that sponsorship is a good idea for many reasons, and we thought we’d just take a moment and underscore the reasons we love sponsorship and think it’s a really good idea.  Now, I don’t think sponsorship is for everyone. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with Joe Smith who wants a sponsor to fund his education or Sally Sue who wants a sponsor to invest in her new business she’s trying to launch in two months.  Sponsorship is not a donation and it is not a new venture to invest in.  It’s a partnership.  And if you’re not prepared to be a partner, you’re not ready for sponsorship.  With that in mind, here are some of our favorite things about sponsorship:

  1. It’s innovative marketing – compared to traditional marketing, sponsorship is not the “same ol” attention getting techniques that used to be effective.  It’s unique, custom fitted, and creative. It’s new.
  2. It meets an audience’s need – when done right, sponsorship makes an audience’s experience better.  It can take an experience from good to great.  And this is good for all parties involved.  You want your audience to enjoy your organization more?  Sign on a partner that has the ability to impact the experience and watch your popularity grow.
  3. Every partnership is unique – the potential for something new and different is there for every effort.  Like a snowflake or a friendships, no two are just alike, there’s fresh new potential for every effort. 
  4. The potential ROI is explosive with the right partner.  A brand can really mold their image and create a favorable perspective with the right partnership through their sponsorship investment.  Granted it takes good planning and dynamite activation, but if done well a sponsor and property can gain a lot of insight into what works and why and how to improve the next time around to keep growing their brands.

Truth be told, this is just a handful of reasons why sponsorship is a good idea; what have you experienced that drives you as a sponsorship professional.

Categories:   General | Marketing
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Being Remarkable in a Pool of Ordinary

by Emily Taylor
15 02 2011

I just saw the movie recently; The Social Network.  Wow – I have to say it was an impressive and entertaining movie, and I highly recommend it.  You’ll like it even more if you’re fluent in web development language… I think the stat that gripped my attention the most was the stunning fact that the site Mark Zuckerberg launched on Harvard's campus (pre-facebook) received so many visits in just 24 hours that it brought down the whole Harvard network.  One word came to mind: Remarkable.  Word spread fast because he created something that impacted his target audience and commanded their attention in such a way that they had to pass along the news. There are a million websites out there that ask for our traffic, competition is fierce and companies that help you stand out are in high demand. 

In the world of sponsorships there are a million opportunities out there begging for the attention of potential sponsors.  Competition is fierce, and it’s going to take more than a good agency to make you stand out in a sponsor’s stack of partnership options.  It takes being remarkable.  We always ask our clients as they write their proposals with us to think about what it is that sets them apart, what makes them truly memorable, what makes their target audience spread the word – and highlight that first in foremost in their proposal description.  If you want a sponsor to take a second look at you, you need to be able to communicate how you’re unique, something that is worth spreading around.  Now, we all know that most property reps are quite passionate about what they are doing – sort of like a parent is with their child. You know that parent that thinks little johny is gifted, but no one else cares or sees it but them.  Well, take a piece of humble pie and for the benefit of your efforts and your target audience, identify what sets you apart in an explosively attractive way and underscore that in your message to potential sponsors. 

Facebook didn’t become a household name because it was just another website.  They knew what their target audience liked and hit a home run in creating a tool that invited interaction, viral marketing, and their popularity skyrocketed.  You won’t become the next big thing without being remarkable.

Categories:   Marketing | sponsorship sales | tips
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