Sunday, November 26, 2006

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

I think I'm going to focus on sponsorship for a little while. It's an interesting arena and I see a lot of examples of how it should and shouldn't be done. In my eyes anyway.

Everytime I go to a big sporting ground and see signage around the ground which has a brand on it, I cringe. Especially when over the course of the game, that's all I ever see of the brand. A sign around the ground does bugger all.

If all you can afford to do is put some signage around the ground and drink cocktails in the box, then you can't really afford to sponsor.

The other part of successful sponsorship - relevant branding and engaging with the audience - are the most critical elements of a sponsorship program. Red Bull has done it brilliantly with their crazy plane flying lunatics.

Mount Franklin is one of many sponsors of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and has whacked pink caps on it's water bottle for three months. Whether that's driven more loyalty from women (and from the women I've spoken to, it has) versus turning the brand into a gay brand for blokes (and from the blokes I've spoken to, it has), remains to be seen.

I remember reading a book by Sergio Zyman a few years in The End of Advertising as We Know It, and he was putting forth that everything is advertising. Not just the traditional stuff, but PR, customer service, sponsorship, the delivery trucks etc, are all forms of advertising where there is a consumer touchpoint involved.

That book came out 4 years ago and since then 360 degree planning and engaging the consumer at all touchpoints etc has become the norm (in theory anyway).

Within a company however, I wonder how much of sponsorship is viewed as advertising. I'm sure there are a number of aspects the team will work through in terms of what they want it to deliver. For instance:

* Build and drive brand values through a positive association
* Drive commercial return
* Engage staff
* Connect with the Community

For me, if you're investing $2 million behind a sponsorship, then it should deliver some kind of sales return.

Because ultimately, if you can't show your sponsorship investment to be having some impact on your bottom line sales, then there's a risk that that money could end up back behind stock standard brand advertising.

That's the challenge I guess. What are the right measurement tools to gauge success?

Anyway, this is my preamble. I'm now on the sponsorship hunt!

RSVP Online Dating knew they had made a mistake when they started sponsoring Shane Warne

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