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wtorek, 29-07-14

10 Golden Rules for Advertisers on Making Sports Sponsorship Work: A Follow-Up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup

World Cup Sports Sponsorship

This report is also available for download as a PDF here.

Sport is the world's greatest theatre.

It can make us laugh, it can make us cry, it can connect with our deepest emotions and leave us longing for more.

Sports sponsorship has never been more powerful or more effective. It allows forwardthinking brands to connect with people at scale as well as at a deep, emotional level. It offers a unique opportunity to make a lasting impression and gives brands the opportunity to engage with a connected consumer with new and exciting content solutions. Unsurprisingly, this year's World Cup produced $1.4 billion in sponsorship deals with some of the world's biggest companies, and sponsorship spending is predicted to rise faster than both advertising and sales promotion spend for the third year in a row.

Here are ten guidelines that will help you get the most out of any sports sponsorship effort.

1. Make sure you know what you want from the sponsorship. What does success look like?

The days when all you could expect from sports sponsorship was a boost in awareness and a warm glow around the brand are long gone. Both these things are still desirable, but you should expect your sports sponsorship to deliver on a far wider range of metrics and help you achieve specific business goals. As with any other communications activity, make sure you and your agencies know exactly what success looks like and how it will be measured.

2. How much money are you willing to spend? Divide that in two, and spend half buying rights and the other half making your program come to life.

There is no hard and fast rule in this area, and it depends on a brand's objectives and the property in question. However, rights alone rarely activate themselves and deliver value to the brand: you need an effective strategy and resources to manage and exploit those assets in the right way. That requires expertise, creative input, specialist suppliers and internal stakeholders, to name just a few key ingredients.

3. Be merciless about finding the sponsorship that will deliver your strategy to the right audience.

Strategic due diligence is essential to understanding what different properties can achieve in the wider marketplace. MediaCom's Connected Sponsorship model can help a brand make an informed, objective decision about which property and which rights represent the best fit, based on your proposed spend.

4. Make sure your communications are fully connected.

Digital has reshaped the way we consume media, and a lot has changed since we watched Spain take the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. This year, consumers were comfortable watching the action from Brazil any place, anytime, anywhere. The preferred screen may have been a simulcast at work, a tablet on a train, one's phone, a TV or the screens in a bar or pub.

A successfully activated sponsorship will manifest itself across multiple channels and consumer touch points, with above-the-line activities driving scale and below-the-line fostering social and digital to drive engagement. Making sure all these channels work together is at the heart of MediaCom's 20|20 Connected Planning approach, illustrating both the cause and effect that sponsorship can play in a brand's communications ecosystem.

5. Involve key stakeholders at every step of the process.

Businesses and the board room are scrutinized more closely than ever; give your program the greatest chance of success by defining your stakeholders broadly. Doing so brings wider ownership and acceptance, and is a more effective approach to ensuring a sponsorship is ultimately successful.

6. Fit your content to each unique channel, and make sure those channels work together.

The right content to engage your audiences at the right time is the common denominator to all successful sports-related activity. Very few brands have the natural credibility that Nike does, so most must rely on the rights and the access to (and the credibility associated with) the resulting content.

Be sure to leverage that content in ways that take advantage of the individual characteristics of each individual channel. Take Twitter, for example: 7 of the 10 most tweeted moments in 2013 were sports-related. The key opportunity for marketers on Twitter takes the shape of short-form content that allows for easy social shares and consumption on mobile.

7. Engage your audience.

Insight is everything; understand what content consumers want and where they go to get it. Then use this informed approach to work out what creative and assets will best meet those needs. It's about creating positive experiences, having a credible and often emotive message, or delivering a human story with which people can empathize.

8. Measure and adjust. Understanding a sponsorship's holistic contribution to the business helps ensure an efficient spend.

At a time when demonstrating ROI is absolutely critical for brands, we are consistently challenged by our clients to provide accurate and insightful ways to measure the performance of sponsorship. This is why MediaCom has created Connected Sponsorship, a new set of proprietary strategy and evaluation tools that identify the full value a sponsorship package can or will deliver across all potential assets and channels.

One of these tools is The Connected Sponsorship Evaluator, which allows us to assess all the tangible benefits of a sponsorship agreement: not just media exposure, but also critical assets like access to talent, ticketing and hospitality, PR opportunities, on-site experiential marketing and even grassroots engagement campaigns. In addition, we can incorporate modeling to explore the impact of intangible (or "strategic") factors that can play a crucial role in a sponsorship decision from a business perspective.

We can then compare what's being offered with the actual price a brand would pay to purchase the equivalent activity elsewhere. And working with our Business Science team, we can identify and isolate the impact of sponsorship on the wider marketing communication system.

9. Be passionate and get as many colleagues as possible to go along.

Once again, collective stakeholder engagement is critical. If the wider business understands the potential of a sponsorship property and agrees with the idea, people internally will champion your cause, assign their budgets and utilise the assets. This will go a long way to ultimately achieving the success you believe is possible.

10. Assign experts. Put a team in place that specializes in the delivery of rights.

Rights implementation is a specialty: businesses are rarely set up to deliver a whole new project, often over a multi-year period. Even the Cokes and Nikes of the world draw on specialist expertise to ensure they're getting the most from their sponsorship spend.

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