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Name in Lights - Essential or Ego?

by Emily Taylor
26 10 2011

I recently read that as an interesting fact, “a detailed study of telephone conversations found that the most frequently used word is the pronoun ‘I’.”  It’s generally agreed upon that people like to talk about themselves, they like to be seen and heard, or at the bare minimum – noticed.  It makes us feel good, it makes us feel relevant.  The problem is our name in lights mostly affects… us. 

Personally, I would love to attend a sporting event where logos on banners were banned. Can you imagine how incredible creative a sponsor would have to be if they weren’t relying on their little logo represented on left field to hit home with their target audience?  I’d love to walk into a baseball game (the College World Series is hosted here in Omaha – it’s one of our claims to fun around here), breath in the fresh air, look out at a clean field with whitewashed borders and NO logos.  Sponsors can still touch my experience by valet parking my car, or offering a beverage, perhaps impacting a half time show ( I know, that’s football…), taking pictures with key players, etc.  I want to go home and say – wow, that was a blast, my feet don’t hurt from walking a mile due to bad parking, my stomach is full and thanks a million XYZ companies for making that happen for me and my family!  Wishful thinking?  Maybe part of it…

In sponsorship, the go-to offering is to give brand exposure.  Your logo up on a banner, your name in lights. I would personally argue that this is the cherry on the cake, but it shouldn’t be the cake itself – it’s just not that impactful.  An audience’s experience isn’t altered for good or for bad when they see the sponsor’s logo on a sign, jersey, banner, etc.  And it’s arguable how many of that audience even remembers the sponsor’s presence at the end of the day. 

In the same breath, I don’t think this type of effort is bad – it just shouldn’t be by itself, and it definitely should be considered on a case by case basis.  Audiences are becoming more and more wary of sponsor involvement – they don’t like flashy, over the top, “look at me” tactics.  They like the laid back, relatable, distinguished experience builder.  Word to the wise – sponsors, if you want your name in lights and are willing to pay for it, a property is probably not going to tell you no.  Properties, if you want your sponsor to stick around for longer than a “one and done” experience, it’s to your best interest and that of your sponsor to put your heads together and come up with a dynamic activation strategy.  Memorable and impactful is what you’re going for, and the subtle efforts very well may be more effective than the grossly overrated banner. 

Categories:   sponsorship activation
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Proposition for Partnership or Request for Funds

by Emily Taylor
19 10 2011

When my husband proposed he did a really good job.  Hence – the “husband” title.  He had taken careful consideration of what was important to me; what would stand out to me, and he painted a picture of what I could expect in our future.  It was intentional, thoughtful – and I wasted no time in responding with an energetic “yes!”  Had he taken another route – perhaps casually approached me with a request that clearly was more about him than me, more about convenience than romance, I would likely have been not only offended, but flabbergasted, and I can assure you the answer would have been very different. 

I’m convinced that sponsorship is an easy parallel to relationships (if you haven’t already gathered from my previous blogs).  And you don’t have to be married to see it.  That being the case, the same is true – when you want a brand to commit to offering their partnership, you need to offer a proposition that indicates you’re not asking out of selfish motivation, or as an off the cuff inquiry.  You have to demonstrate that you have a particular interest, that you understand why the fit is perfect, and how you envision the partnership rolling out when you “join forces.”  Imagine the reaction of a woman who found out she had been 1 of 25 other proposals for marriage that day… now, a sponsor’s reaction probably wouldn’t completely match the fury of a woman scorned, but they probably aren’t going to set the bar of loyalty any higher than you have already indicated in your pursuit.  Meaning – IF they agree, they probably aren’t going to stick around long unless you prove you’re willing to do what it takes to make this clearly beneficial.  When you pursue a sponsor, here are some ideas for how you can indicate your interests in a way that helps you get taken seriously:

  • Layout your activation ideas.  Clearly there will be tweaks, additions, and even subtractions to what you envision once you dialogue about what your partner’s specific ideas/goals are; but you need to indicate that you’ve taken the time to consider what’s in it for them as a unique partner.  Are you reaching out to them because you know exactly why they would add value to your customer experience?  Are you proposing partnership because the opportunity just makes sense to their brand interests which complement your own? 
  • It’s all about the delivery.  The same old thing is just that – the same old boring thing.  While the same old thing might be a good thing packaged plainly, it never hurts to stand out a bit. Maybe you get creative about how the sponsor receives their inquiry.  I heard of a client who packaged their proposal in a nice spiral bound booklet, wrapped it in a red bow, included a pair of scissors for a ceremonial “snipping” of an exciting new launch of a partnership, and the note on the first page welcomed their review and promised a phone call 24 hours from receipt in order to discuss interest and next steps.   Not only did the sponsor smile, but they read the proposal that morning.
  • Paint a picture – add photos.  People like a story, and pictures engage!  But I’m not talking about self-centered stuff; while I like the idea of the sponsor getting to know you, always remember they want to know what’s in it for them.  Take a picture of the venue and point out the banner that will have their name on it as the runners take their mark at the starting line of the marathon.  Show a picture of the tables and crowds where product sampling would be offered.  Add quotes from audiences about the goodie bags that were handed out and how much they looked forward to them.  Show a picture of the line of cars waiting to get in and park when you pitch a bussing company who could be the solution to the problem.  Pictures say more than words can sometimes – at the bare minimum, they support what you’re saying.

I offer this mindset as an ideal because the truth is many properties are simply requesting funds.  When you simply knock on the door and ask for money, no one is going to jump up and down to work with you.  I spoke with a sponsorship director for a major property yesterday who said – “I love pitching a sponsor and discussing how I will creatively add value to their experience with us. That’s my job – to add value.”  I love it. Someone asking for money from anyone anywhere has not taken the time to consider their job of adding value.  Someone who is proposing a partnership has the mindset of “mutual benefit” and adding value in a way that the sponsor simply can’t ignore. The same gentleman told a story of a recent sale he brokered for a regional brand who’s mere name perfectly complemented the property’s image.  It was almost comical – and probably would have been laughed off except that the proposal for partnership support could not be ignored – the brand would be given national exposure for an audience they had been trying to reach for expansion/growth.  It was a perfect fit – and they said yes. 

Ultimately, a brand responds when you have clearly taken the time to consider them uniquely. We all have only 24 hours in a day – when you dedicate precious time out of your schedule to pinpoint, pursue and propose partnership to a unique sponsor; carefully outlining the benefits, what you envision, and ask them to join you for an explosive opportunity, they’re going to pay attention.  This doesn’t always mean they say yes, it might even mean there’s more to your story – maybe the timing isn’t right; but you got their attention and perhaps when you ask again next year the response will be different. 

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Spotlight on Sponsorship! The World Ice Snow Sailing Championship!

by Stephanie Lochmiller
12 10 2011

As a way to draw increased awareness and attention to some of the standup sponsorship opportunities on our site, we’ve 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 the remainder of our 2011 Spotlight calendar. This month our spotlight shines on the “World Ice Snow Skiing and Snowboarding Sailing Championship 2012”.

What is the World Ice Snow Skiing and Snowboarding Sailing Championship all about?
The World Ice and Snow Sailing Championship event is the longest running international competition in the history of Windsurfing and Kiting. It’s also the most prestigious winter sailing event in the world. Held every year since 1980, the event location alternates annually between Europe and North America. This year it will be held in the 3rd oldest city in the U.S., St. Ignace, MI which was established in 1671.

What Makes this Opportunity Unique?
Offering some of the best winds on the Mackinaw straight for Lake Michigan, this year's event will run from February 20-26th, 2012 in St. Ignace, Michigan, USA. WISSA is the ONLY world event where wings, kites and sails all compete together on snow or ice, slalom and course. This event, which is the oldest event of its type, will be celebrated for 32nd time right here in the United States. This event offers potential sponsors the opportunity to reach an international audience within a well-established market with loyal followers.

Surviving Sponsorship in a Heated Economy
WISSA has partnered with Action Sports Enterprises to gain increased exposure and reach a wider audience. As a result of this partnership WISSA has remained on the cutting edge of sports and have continued to find innovative ways to get their event out to more people. In addition, ASE has joined up with SponsorPark to offer their clients even more exposure.

Preferred Partners?
Although the event is unique in its own right, clothing, vehichles, food, drink and lifestyle brands can all benefit from a partnership with WISSA, and event organizers are eager to custom build packages from the ground up in order to suite their sponsors specific needs. If you’re interesting in learning more about WISSA, or ASE, take a look at www.wissa2012.com or take a look at their SponsorPark listing.

Categories:   Elements of a Proposal | featured listings | General | sponsorship activation | sponsorship sales
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