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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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