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Turn off the Beats

by David Rachell
20 10 2014

The NFL fined San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick for wearing Beats by Dre headphones at a news conference following the Niner’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs.  The NFL’s new Bose sponsorship is exclusive and therefore the NFL has banned any other headphone brand to appear in or around NFL activity.  

While it may seem audacious, the NFL should prevent players from wearing, eating, drinking, playing or performing in or around any NFL event that doesn’t include official sponsors.  It may be their football, their rules, but the NFL is protecting their brand, players and sponsors.

Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Barry Church and other players were also spotted wearing their Beats by Dre’s this weekend around the stadium.  These players are seemingly defying the NFL because they think it’s important to protect their individual sponsors.  But, here’s what these players DON’T understand.
The NFL is protecting their sponsors, sponsors that make it feasible for Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick and other players to enjoy big contracts.  If the NFL doesn’t protect Bose, they set the precedent for future sponsors.  The value erodes when a property doesn’t protect their agreements.  Players should not only be fined, but suspended without pay for defying sponsor agreements.  It sounds harsh, but as old trekies would site, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The same rule applies whether you’re running a professional football league or a local little league. Whether a festival or event producer, you have an obligation to protect your sponsor because in reality, you’re protecting your event too.  You’re assuring and protecting the integrity of your sponsorship program and the reputation of your organization within the sponsorship world. 

If you have a rogue vendor that decides to bring their own water to sell rather than use the official water of you’re event, you need to lose that vendor. Believe me, the lost vendor fee is not worth losing the integrity of your sponsorship program.  After all, it’s your football, your rules and your reputation.

Categories:   contracts | General | industry happenings
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A new year brings new opportunities

by David Rachell
8 01 2014

Sponsorship marketing is now one of the fastest growing forms of adverting according to the Association of National Advertisers. Sponsorship is becoming more mainstream on main street, as smaller businesses look to use sponsorship as a way to differentiate their products and services and stand out above the advertising noise.

It’s also important for rights holders to stand out above the noise. So, here are five ways to better your sponsorship acquisition efforts for 2014.

1. Be prepared to report on your deliverables
Sponsors are being required to justify their sponsorship spending now more than ever. It’s vital to justify outcomes and the deliverables provided to sponsors as part of the value created through the relationship. As a rights holder, you need to do all you can to help the brand justify their spending. If you aren’t able to justify your fees, it makes it easier for the sponsor to say no to you and yes to those who can.

2. Strengthen your social media
Sponsorships provide one of the best methods for organically building a brand’s social media. Rights holders who provide a rich social media platform to engage consumers have a greater chance to garner sponsors.

3. Build activation for your sponsorship that outlasts your event
Even local or regional companies are less apt to sponsor one-day events or activities. Sponsors want to be able to activate against their sponsorship portfolio with events that last longer than a day or two. While your event may only last a day, try and create ways for sponsors to be part of your organization or fan experience long before and after.

4. Deepen Fan Engagement
As a rights holder, you should be seeking partners that are going to provide a greater experience for your attendees, not just a check writer and sign maker. Greater fan engagement means you provide your consumers a better experience and an opportunity to grow your event while also creating a platform for a more successful sponsor.

5. Well Educated Sales Team
Brand managers have a richer selection of good sponsorship opportunities to choose from today. Your sponsorship program must not only provide great benefits and activation options, but industry knowledge by rights holder representation is critical. More times than not, brand managers know when someone understands the business and benefit values. So, instead of trying to snow them, wow them with your understanding of their needs.
Your sales team should research the industry and the companies they target. Make sure you subscribe to industry magazines and research articles, look for quality online content, go to seminars and training to learn about what sponsors are looking for from rights holders.

Categories:   General | industry happenings | Sponsorship resources
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An Olympic Sized Suggestion

by David Rachell
26 08 2013

Yes, you are the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and yes, you wield a large amount of power.  You hold this power because you’re favored and embraced by billions of people on the planet.  You exist, in part, because corporations provide you with funds, through sponsorship dollars – and you allow those companies to activate their relationship with the Olympics and protect their rights to do so.  Good for you.

However, the current gay rights issue in Russia will unravel the whole feel good experience if you’re not careful.  See, companies need to embrace the LGBT community and not just because there exists a percentage of their business that depends on that community.  It’s the wider scope of consumers that have decided it’s not just okay to be gay, but a RIGHT to be so.  If you force the hand of those companies to turn their back on this community – sponsors will end up turning their back on you. 

Listen IOC, it’s NOT your fault this is happening.  Your selection committee chose Sochi – and the Russian government’s ill-timed release of their stance about the gay community is not a reflection on you or your committee.  By simply releasing a statement that the IOC embraces all communities and diverse people, you will have done ALL YOU CAN to protect the rights of those global citizens participating in and attending the Olympics.  And that may be enough. Period.  That’s all you need to do to get your corporate partners out of hot water.  That’s all you need to do to ensure those billions of people will still embrace you. 

That’s not all.

Perhaps, in the same statement, you can arm your selection committee with the caveat that you will not seek future Olympic game locations that prohibit the inclusion of all people of their inalienable rights (or whatever language you chose).  If a country wants to bid on the Olympics, they would be required to embrace your policies for the inclusion of a diverse audience.  By including this new language and separating your policy from that of the Russian governments, you will defuse your sponsor’s current crisis.  They will be glad you did.  Because the longer you wait, the uglier this is going to get for them.  And, it could force the hand of multi-national companies like McDonalds and Coke to tell you to find other sponsors for your games. 

Categories:   General | industry happenings
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