The success of a sponsorship depends on a number of key ingredients that unfortunately don’t always make it into the mix. The best sponsorship programs are the ones that manage to achieve clear, pre-set objectives, are capable of measuring results and have a strategic vision that stays in focus over time.
O2’s sponsorship program, though not new, remains one of my all-time favourite examples of how to get it right. As well as being incredibly well designed, the winning program developed by this Telefonica-owned mobile company became a core driver of the firm’s corporate marketing strategy. In this case study, we take a look at the context, the program, the strategy and the performance metrics behind O2’s outside-the-box approach to sponsorship.
Co-branding—also referred to as brand alliances—is the short- or long-term partnership of at least two brands. As sponsorship is already an association between two brands, it accelerates two types of co-branding phenomena: 1) several brands joining forces to create a unique activation or 2) a sponsor leveraging several of its brands in its partnership with a single property.
Why should two different brands join forces? Managers opt for this approach to improve their brand positioning, a tactic that the science of consumer behaviour tends to support, specifically when it comes to the sale of co-branded products. In fact, consumers generally perceive such alliances as positive, making it a winning strategy even if one of the two brands has weaker brand equity than the other.
How many times have you heard that sponsorship is no longer about visibility but all about engagement? Pretty often, I’d wager. While this is true enough in principle, the fact remains that 1) sponsorship can still be an effective way to build brand recognition and 2) before even thinking about engagement, you’ve got to first be sure consumers are going to remember who you are. Almost in all cases, the link between sponsor and property needs to be made before moving on to more complex objectives.
So what are the factors that positively influence a brand’s recognition as a sponsor? The ones that have the biggest impact are media exposure, activation, sponsorship status and endurance.
For events that are broadcast on television—or are available for streaming on the Web—the sponsorship value for brands has more to do with the viewers seated in front of their screens than it does with the spectators sitting at the venue.
So how is the value of brand exposure in a broadcast measured? While this type of evaluation has been around for years, it is plagued by a number of myths and preconceptions. But developments in broadcasting and broadcast technologies are changing the way it is done. Let’s take a closer look.
The vast choice of sponsorships can by tempting for any company, especially if you assess each one in a vacuum. It’s easy for a sponsor to feel like a kid in a candy shop when so many options abound, but the wrong choice can lead to a scattered portfolio. Such an approach can sometimes yield positive results for a sponsor, but a well-structured selection can enhance your performance tenfold. Here we’ve broken down the strategies successfully leveraged by major brands, and drawn a few important conclusions. Here are six sponsorship strategies worth taking note of: