As the newest addition here at SBA, I was asked to blog about something interesting to me with regards to advertising and marketing communications. I’d be happy to! What I am here to discuss today combines two things that are near and dear to my heart: marketing and sports. In particular, the idea of “Sensible Sponsorships” and how brands can maximize their partnership.
Sports sponsorships are very commonplace and the value to the brand investing their budget is undeniable. The brand can increase their exposure through an association with an existing team or event, often to a new audience that they haven’t reached yet. And we all know how passionate sports fans are, so this association can only be beneficial to the brand activating the sponsorship. Fans, by definition (it’s short for fanatics after all), hold deep loyalty and positive associations towards their teams, and the brand can tap into these feelings with a strategically targeted sponsorship.
Now, it’s easy to just slap a logo on a wall or put a “is brought to you by” tagline on a broadcast, but is that really a well-targeted sponsorship? Is that the best way to spend what is often a sizable portion of your budget? How is anyone supposed to remember your brand and their association with the team, especially in such a cluttered environment? The key to having better brand recall is to create an association, not just with the team or event, but a deeper connection with the brand itself.
Here’s a real-life example from my own career: my client was a large hospital, and we were engaging in a sponsorship deal with the city’s MLB team. Now we could have just sponsored the starting lineups, but what does that have to do with our hospital? After some brainstorming, we created a brand new segment on the nightly broadcast called the Injured Players Report, brought to viewers by our hospital. Now that is a sensible sponsorship!
Creating that extra layer of connection between your brand, the team, and your product/service’s association with that team can really go a long way to improving your brand’s resonance with the fans. And isn’t that the reason you engaged in the sponsorship in the first place?
So the next time you’re at a game and you see a sponsorship in action, try to see if the brand and team strengthened their connection by thinking through the relationship, or whether they just inserted Logo A into Placeholder B and called it a day.
(Special Shout-Out goes to one of my all-time favorite examples of Sensible Sponsorship – one that was both surprising and clever: Reynolds Wrap on the baseball tarp at Wrigley Field!)