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Be a Good Storyteller; Cast Your Vision

by Emily Taylor
  
14 09 2009

Good storytellers have the uniquely intriguing ability to capture the attention of their audience.  People simply stop and drink in their words and the voices of the items on their attention seem to fade while they listen.  Stories are powerful - people identify to themes, plots and characters unlike the dry to do lists and hum drum conversations that seem to control much of our days.  People like stories most when they can relate to them.  Even more when the story is about them.  Every noticed how easy it is to get people to talk when you ask them to tell parts of their own story?  Leaders throughout history have earned the trust and intrigue of their followers with the ability to illustrate meaning through stories.  As a sponsorship opportunity looking for sponsors, consider yourself a story teller; you are painting a picture for your audience (the potential sponsor) that not only captivates because of your passion, but also because of how it could affect their brand.  It invites them into the story, unfolds the possibilities for them and the results of their involvement.  I like to call this “casting a vision.”  Seth Godin has a similar marketing parallel which he refers to as “idea-viruses,” and “sneezers,” the idea has to be catchy, and you need a group of people to spread the word – sneezers. In sponsorship, you need an opportunity to offer that’s worth “sneezing” about. If it doesn’t generate excitement for anyone but you, it won’t likely catch the attention of a sponsor.  There really are two parts: telling your story, and involving your sponsor.  We at SponsorPark consider your description section as well as your uploaded photos to be the place where you summarize these details and cast a vision.


When you cast the vision by telling your story and inviting your sponsor into it, you are offering emotionally charged, exciting, impactful information as well as factual, intelligent, relevant information.  You need both.  People want to be involved in something that is much bigger than themselves - look at hollywood, celebrities are not alone in their desire to impact and affiliate with something big; but when it comes to a brand, you can't just be a feeler - they are looking for an outlet to meet their own needs as well.  If you can't connect the dots in your story for how their support is going to strengthen their marketing objectives, you are in the wrong place. 


I sat through a speaking engagement where Gary Haugen from IJM (International Justice Mission) presented.  He was riveting, and by the end of his speech I was ready to go overseas, to counter injustice, to take action!  I bought his book, I researched their company, and was further fueled in our business efforts with an interest in supporting such organizations.  Why?  Because he cast a vision for me to easily grasp, identify with and catch the excitement for.  Now, truth be told, when you sit down with you potential sponsor after interest has been established, you will without a doubt need to stop, ask and listen to what it is they want; but initially you need to illustrate the possibilities for them.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming they’ll figure the benefits out on their own - don’t rely on the creativity you expect them to have before you invite them into your perspective.  Start the vision casting up front.   


The second part of the casting of your vision is to make sure they have an idea of how their involvement impacts their own objectives.  Let’s face it; nobody invests that which is most precious / influential to them (time and money) unless it strikes a chord with their values.  What’s important to a sponsor?  The ability to create good exposure for their brand, build loyalty with their customer, and growing their bottom line.  Communicate the history of your opportunity, the ways in which you might have supported other sponsors, the loyalty of your audience, and the assets you have to offer (tangible and intangible).  It’s a good idea to include quotes from those audiences your sponsor identifies with (attendees and other sponsors), and any property specific information that might intrigue a listener.  Remember, people absorb information differently, and are primarily either visual, auditory or tactile learners, so include other mediums to capture this information - such as your pictures.  They should capture sponsor involvement, audience size, sponsor to audience interactions, logos, venue, etc.Your perks need to resonate with these make or break realities.  When your potential sponsor is intrigued with what you are doing, and  they listen to your story, they need to be able to envision their company meeting their marketing objectives and growing because of their support.  If you can’t offer this insight, your chances of landing their partnership significantly diminish - most sponsors won't take the time to connect the dots on their own.  Cast your vision well and watch while the right people say “yes” to your proposal.

 

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