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Over the Top Applies to Both Chocolate and Sponsorship

by Emily Taylor
25 05 2011

A few weeks ago my Mom was visiting and she made a comment about how thin I was looking (probably an obligation to say to a new mommy, but I’ll take it!); and apparently I took that as a green light to eat half a bag of Hershey kisses… not sure what it is with me and chocolate these days. Needless to say, they tasted like Heaven as I was popping them in my mouth, but after a short while I began to realize the damage I had done.  My poor stomach felt like I’d eaten a brick, and since I’ve been off of caffeine for a while I felt a little like a crack addict for the night. One look at the remainder of that bag of chocolate and I might have puked. With a solemn vow never to touch chocolate again, the experience went down in the books as a bad decision and I cut up some carrots and celery for the next day.  Granted my solemn vow lasted about 2 days, but hey, memories are fickle things, aren’t they? I can’t help but consider the fact that sponsorship can bring on similar results with “over the top” activation, and unfortunately those kinds of memories don’t wear off in two days.

Let’s face facts: We live in a culture of people who are tired of playing games, tired of “in your face” marketing, and won’t tolerate loud sponsorship.  People like down to earth, transparent, genuine and thoughtful experiences with brands.  No one wants to feel manipulated, they want to feel invited; they don’t want to feel like your brand exploded on the scene, they want their experience improved.  Consumers don’t care about a brand that doesn’t care about their consumer; so if you’ve implemented a marketing strategy that is clearly tinged with selfish intentions, people will likely avoid you like that bag of chocolate after an over indulgence.  This is yet another reason why logos are no longer the optimal activation effort.  While you still want to be recognized for your effort, you don’t want to be so loud that your voice drowns out the rest of the experience.  It’s kind of like those sweet teenagers that pull up next to you windows down, blasting their music so loud you can feel the vibrations a block away.  Were they noticed?  Yep.  But the majority of the onlookers aren’t likely smiling and singing along.  In the same breath, not taking appropriate steps to be recognized for how your brand impacted an experience leaves you open to ambush marketing – someone will take credit if you don’t.  It’s like going to a wedding and leaving a knock your socks off gift, and then not signing your name.  If you don’t claim the gift as the giver, surely someone will. 

Consider the fact that people simply don’t like feeling like they were tricked or manipulated into feeling something.  If you can activate a partnership in a way that is transparent and genuine, leaving no guessing games as to your true intentions, you’ve scored some quality points with the exposure you gave your brand. And the memories (which really do last), will result in loyalty, a positive brand perspective, and an invitation to continue a relationship; which is a definite sponsorship win.  So if you ever find yourself in a place where you wonder if you’re going over the top, just tell yourself; “put down the chocolate.”

Categories:   Marketing | sponsorship activation
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Lessons About Sponsorship from the Experiential Marketing World

by Samantha Rose
18 05 2011

First, a bit about Picture Marketing… in a nutshell, we're in the business of amplifying the effectiveness of a sponsorship - or the attractiveness of a sponsorship opportunity. We use experiences, captured in the form of photos and videos, to create an emotional connection with attendees. And we integrate each onsite touch with an online platform where sponsors can re-connect with attendees and build a one-to-one relationship with each individual.

When we offered to write a guest post about sponsorships and experiential marketing, we admitted to a slight bias; after all, that's the business we're in! But at a macro level, we believe that sponsorships can learn a lot from experiential marketing best practices. And of course, our business simply focuses on one very effective way to leverage experiential marketing for the benefit of the sponsorship world. Doesn't have to be about photos, or videos… when your sponsorship turns into an experiential activation, the possibilities are as endless, and positive, as the emotions you create!

So, without further ado, here's some time-tested wisdom from the experiential world for sponsors and sponsorship opportunities alike.

1. Deliver experiences, not just impressions
Once you've connected with the right sponsorship event or venue, make sure you're taking advantage of the opportunity by creating an activation that's dynamic, memorable, and emotionally in tune with the audience. Last we heard, no one ever said those words about a branded plastic banner! Recent research by the Experiential Marketing Forum and IMI International demonstrated that experiential activations can extend advertising reach by 10 times. An experiential activation could amplify your sponsorship dollars across millions of consumers as each generation of world-of-mouth travels to the next. In fact, in a sample study of 200,000 individuals, the first generation (direct attendees) told an average 6 people about a memorable sponsor experience; that second generation told 4 people on average. The result? Millions of impressions from that first batch of a couple hundred thousand. Certainly worth the extra creative push to deliver an experience rather than an impression.

2. If you're a sponsorship opportunity, invite sponsors to do more than toss up a logo
This goes along with our first rule for sponsors: deliver experiences rather than impressions. Whether you're a venue, team, fundraising organization, or any other sort of sponsorship opportunity, you should be more to your sponsors than a two-dimensional display space (they can buy that anywhere!). Go back to the reason you invited or attracted the sponsor in the first place - what about your opportunity made it such a great match for them? Whatever the reason, we'll bet it had something to do with people. Your sponsorship opportunity is valuable because it has a human face (well… faces!). Your sponsors want to connect with those faces. They want more than a momentary impression - as the explosion of social media has demonstrated, sponsors want to get to know your audience, and connect at an emotional level.

So: think of ways that your opportunity can help sponsors connect with their audience. Beyond brand impressions, how can a sponsor really leverage your event or venue to reach attendees at a deeper emotional level?

Here's some data to back that up, courtesy of the Experiential Marketing Forum:


3. Emotion is the key to memory - so start creating emotions!
An emotional experience crystallizes into a memory much more readily than an experience that's devoid of emotion. So, to put it simply… if you want people to remember you, you need to reach them at the level where you'll have the greatest impact: their emotions. The experiential marketing industry is founded upon this idea. Individuals are also more likely to engage with sponsors that elicit passion (which is one reason why brand experiences linked with a property, such as a sports team, are so impactful). Creating an emotional experience is one factor, and a powerful one. But sponsors can also use this as a lesson in choosing effective partners: an emotionally engaged audience (whether they're active patrons of the arts, sports fanatics, hot air balloon aficionados, or Justin Bieber fans) is an audience more likely to be receptive to your message, and more likely to have their purchase intent influenced by seeing you associated with the object of their passion.

4. Create your experience… and then make it digital+live
We've made it clear that experiences and emotions are key to a powerful sponsorship. Let's bring it to the next level: digital+live. Use your live sponsorship activation to funnel attendees to an online platform. Complement each onsite impression with an invitation to your web presence, social media streams, or a microsite targeted to your sponsorship audience. In doing so, you'll plug into the online conversation that individuals are already having about your brand. Most importantly, remember that behind every fan, there's 1,000 friends who want to meet you. When you go digital+live, you start with one impression and end up influencing an entire social graph.

Follow these tips and you'll be on the road to offering sponsorships and opportunities that create emotion, track toward a relationship, and keep people talking long after the event is over!

About Picture Marketing
Picture Marketing creates a digital+live sponsorship experience, leaving attendees with a memorable photo or video and providing powerful, trackable benefits for sponsors and shows looking to connect with their fans. The easy-to-use FotoZap® system comes loaded with networking tools that allow fans to connect with a sponsor, share their photos, and post the memories online. The result? Better attendance, new fans, more sharing, and more loyalty. Picture Marketing transforms a photo op into a powerful and personal way to move the needle on engagement or boost a sponsorship's social presence. It works so well that it's become known as "The Social Network Camera." For more information, visit http://picturemarketing.com


Categories:   General | sponsorship activation | Sponsorship Valuation | tips
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Spotlight on Sponsorship! The Race for Fetal Hope National Race Series

by Stephanie Lochmiller
10 05 2011

As a way to draw increased awareness and attention to some of the standup sponsorship opportunities on our site, we set apart one blog per month to put the “Spotlight on Sponsorship”! If you have a premium level listing on SponsorPark, and would like to have your event featured, please contact [email protected] to submit your event, as we are currently looking to fill our 2011 Spotlight calendar.  This month our spotlight shines on “The Race for Fetal Hope National Race Series”.
What is The Race for Fetal Hope National Race Series all about?
A proven family-centered event, the National Race Series offers not only a 5k run/walk with a unique stroller division for parents pushing little ones, but a free Kids Fun Run and growing Sponsor Expo and Family Festival. The Series focuses on celebrating family and friends while raising awareness of and funds for research and support of fetal syndromes. Each host city offers a post-race expo complete with sponsors/vendors, activities, refreshments, prize giveaways, and entertainment. Current hosts include Denver, CO, Atlantic Beach, FL, and Kannapolis, NC with possible expansion to Atlanta, GA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Houston, TX. With an average of over 1,000 attendees at each event (and growing!), your business will reap maximum exposure for minimal cost. All proceeds benefit the Fetal Hope Foundation in supporting research at leading fetal centers around the country and specifically in supporting families affected by fetal syndromes through information and education, and travel grants when treatment is necessary.
What makes this opportunity unique?
The National Race Series integrates various social media outlets including Facebook and YouTube, as well as e-newsletters and video slideshows to keep past participants intrigued and to engage potential new sponsors and participants who possibly wouldn’t hear of us otherwise. Local Race Directors also use personal site visits to maintain good rapport with current sponsors.
Surviving Sponsorship in a Heated Economy
According to VP of Marketing and Fundraising, Talitha McGuinness, the lagging economy hasn’t proved to be too much of a challenge for their event.  According to McGuinness, “We have maintained our level of service and commitment to marketing our sponsors and partners at various levels and will continue to honor benefits at the highest level going forward.  Sites like SponsorPark have worked to further their reach to potential sponsors throughout the country.
Preferred Partners?
Potential sponsors types that would be a great fit for these events might include those in the medical industry or any businesses looking to market to a highly desirable demographic. Event participants are loyal and well educated, and this market is great for any brand looking to break into the cause marketing venue.  To learn more about this event, or to contact event managers take a look at their SponsorPark listing.

Categories:   Elements of a Proposal | featured listings | General | Introductions | Sponsorship resources | sponsorship sales
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