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Effective Sponsorship through Engagement

by Greg Neverka
14 12 2010

This week, we hand our blog over to Greg Neverka of Performance Research. Neverka, Reports Manager for Performance Research, is responsible for creating and implementing research methodology to analyze the effectiveness of event sponsorship across a wide range of industries.  Though a native of Long Island, New York, Neverka is now based in Newport, Rhode Island. When he is not analyzing charts or conducting on-site research, he travels the world with his surfboard in tow. 

Performance Research (Newport, Rhode Island) is the world's leader in consumer research and evaluation for the sponsorship industry. Founded in 1985, the company has taken the leading role in understanding the marketing impact of sponsorship, as well as the phenomenon of emotional triggers and passion points among sports and arts enthusiasts.  Performance Research's consulting and evaluation work affects nearly $800 million worth of corporate sponsorship investments each year. Custom studies include on-site event surveys, telephone interviews, online surveys, and in-depth qualitative focus groups that explore the marketing impact of sponsorship / advertising from the consumer perspective.

And now, over to Greg...

Whenever you have the chance to speak with someone from Performance Research regarding event sponsorship, it is likely that they’ll make one specific point during the conversation.  They will tell you that sponsorship is extremely valuable, that when executed properly, can trump other marketing tactics as an effective tool in reaching consumers and maximizing event potential.

When discussing sponsorship being a valuable tool, we might as well put an asterisk (*) next to this statement.  Often times (too often!) we see event sponsorship that is not activated effectively and therefore misses the mark.  So how do you activate?  Well, for starters, both the sponsor and the property will have to start with an agreement that works for both sides.  Forget any monetary exchange; we are talking about the sponsoring party being prepared, in some way, shape, or form, to make the event better, while the property offers them this opportunity in order to help the sponsorship maximize its potential.  

Once everyone is on board, it is the job of both sides to evaluate the event and determine who the sponsor is trying to reach, how they can reach them, and how their sponsorship activation can add value to the event.  This is where we see most sponsors miss the mark.  Gone are the days when just hanging signs and banners with your company’s logos is acceptable as this will add little but clutter to the event.  The way in which the sponsorship is activated, must be engaging to consumers.  For example, this past year, we saw a Home Depot fan zone at a large sporting event in Texas.  Rather than just advertising at the event, Home Depot went above and beyond by having a fully staffed area, stocked with supplies (all of which can be purchased at Home Depot) for attendees to create large painted posters in support of their favorite players and  birdhouses for children to take home.  Home Depot not only added something special to the event, but they engaged fans by allowing them use their products, while adding to their overall enjoyment. 

Another activation that caught our “SponsorEye” over the past year was presented by the fashion design company Angela Moore.  The Angela Moore sponsorship of a regional, albeit high profile, tennis tournament was activated with a champagne breakfast and fashion show.  The fashion company leveraged their boutiques close proximity to the venue and hosted an event that not only enhanced the tennis tournament, but fit perfectly with the property and the clientele.  By hosting this ancillary event, the designer clearly understood how she could benefit the attendees, while staying in line with her sponsorship and adding a unique facet to the tournament.

While both are very different in theory, it is easy to see how both of the activations discussed above make sense for their particular event.  It is great to see when sponsors and properties both “get it” and put forth an effort that creates a lasting impression for those attending.  Not only is the profile of the event boosted, but value is as well.  Hopefully we continue to see more of this positive engagement from sponsors as we move forward.  Making the right decisions on how to reach consumers through sponsorship will certainly separate your brand from the rest in these difficult economic times.

Categories:   Elements of a Proposal | General | industry happenings | Marketing | sponsorship activation | Sponsorship resources | Sponsorship Valuation | tips
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