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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
passionate and get as many colleagues as possible to go
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
experts. Put a team in place that specializes in the delivery of
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