You can deliver big-time ROI with the right sponsorship activation in place. We define sponsorship activation as what you do with what you own. Simple as that. We also consider activation the driving force behind the ongoing value you expect to see from your sports marketing programs.
This can take many forms, but it is bringing your brand to life from things as simple as booth spaces at an event to more sophisticated programs like employee engagement initiatives, sales contests, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and customer celebrations.
The what you have portion is defined by the rights you acquired when you became the "official brand of the best property ever." When your brand sponsors something, what you bought is access to assets on a particular platform, but that's it. Whoever sold you that sponsorship more than likely isn't going to continue knocking on your door making sure you use what you bought.
The sponsorship ROI formula is primarily driven by activating the assets you have access to.
At the Event
The last two years have underscored how important this element of your sponsorship is. The experience, and the visceral nature of being somewhere in person, are difficult to replace. That's coming from a team that got very creative in trying to do just that for our clients when events weren't an option.
Take great care in making your onsite experience the best it can be. Being together with your stakeholders can spark a lot of future projects and connect people that may have otherwise not gotten the chance. We also recommend taking advantage of the excitement leading up to an event and the buzz of an event afterward. They are a significant (and irreplaceable) investment and their value can be furthered by the right digital content that expands your reach beyond the event itself.
Away From the Track
You can integrate the most critical stakeholders in your business such as your employees, partners and customers by bringing excitement to them. For your customers, you could bring a replica showcar to high-traffic areas like a retail store or a shareholder meeting that gives them surprising and unique access to your brand.
Something like a driver meet & greet in a business setting is a great way to reward high-performing employees. The metaphors taken from the sports world to the business world can engage your team in new ways. It’s one thing to see professional athletes on TV sporting your brand’s logo, but for them to see their favorite driver in-person singing the praises of your partnership, now that’s something special.
Leveraging Digital Media
Whatever you decide to do with your sponsorship property, make sure that you document the process. This can take one event and allow you to extract a year's worth of marketing value from it by creating thank you videos, sharing photos from the experiences you have created and more. Fans love to see what types of things your brand is doing in the real world, so by sharing you are in the middle of some of all this can earn your brand respect that is hard to come by.
Engaging brand ambassadors to document their experiences can be a great way to reach additional audiences organically.
Giving Back to the Community
By engaging with the local communities around your brand, you’ll forge a deeper bond with those who matter most. Hosting events that inspire students and other community members can help you get to know your audience infinitely better than regular market research can accomplish. Inviting the team or driver you are partnered with can be a great way to enhance the value of your event. Other elements of your marketing strategy can then be brought in to make your brand look larger than life, and a chance for you to get to know your neighbors in a meaningful way.
Expecting results just because you’ve spent money on one particular property won't get you far. It is what you do with the property that matters. As a general guide, spending $2 on activation for every $1 spent on a property will deliver the most value to your program.
Updated for added value.