Let’s talk about how your brand can take advantage of athletic sponsorship.1. Align your prospects with your brand’s image
It’s just as important to assess your potential partners’ brand value as it is to consider your audience’s willingness to buy in. This isn’t as convoluted as it sounds, because – believe it or not – your target market won’t want to buy in if your sponsored partner doesn’t match or elevate your brand’s message.
For example, athletic retailer HockeyShot.com
holds a number of partnerships – all with the intent to promote athletic education, regardless of background or geographic location. The brand partners with
app developers, coaches, trainers and more, providing valuable funding and support for worthy organisations and competitions. For HockeyShot, education is part of the brand image.
The same is not true for a brand like Ralph Lauren, which suffered a significant setback
in the early 2000s. Previously an exclusively high-end brand, the company expanded its portfolio to include products at multiple price points – and lost significant value among affluent customers as a result. However, by partnering with the US Open in 2008, the Polo brand has become synonymous with exclusivity and prestige once again. 2. Consider what you bring to the table
Remember, every successful sponsorship goes both ways. When you’ve determined whether your brand partner will allow you to reach your key target audience, evaluate what your material support will change for them. This will give you more leverage as you negotiate opportunities.
For example, Bing sponsored the release of Jay-Z’s autobiography
in 2010. Intending to expand its audience beyond its middle-aged, Midwest-based core user base, Bing capitalised on a culturally significant moment to appeal to a younger audience based on the coasts. By launching a digital gaming experience, Bing allowed users to gain a massive sneak preview into the book.
Because the game required using Bing’s search engine and maps function, the company saw a major increase in web traffic. Meanwhile, Jay-Z’s Facebook fan page increased by one million fans – which helped the book rise to second place on the New York Times
bestseller list. In short, the sponsorship was mutually beneficial. 3. Tap into the spirit of the sport
Companies often spend a lot of money on sponsorship rights and then very little time or energy on making an impact and promoting the campaign. Becoming a sponsor alone won’t drive business
. Even if the sponsored event or team sees great success, a lack of promotion could cause you to lose out on thousands of dollars in sales.
Instead, embrace a persona that appeals to fans of the sport – because that’s who you’re trying to reach, right? Brands like Gatorade have this in the bag, because their product is based on satisfying an athletic need. Campbell’s Soup, on the other hand, was able to massively leverage a partnership with the NFL to show how their product helps athletes get “filled up right” with a satisfying meal. As a result, Campbell’s Chunky Soup has a huge following among NFL viewers. Conclusion: Evaluate Performance
When all’s said and done, the value is in the numbers. Sponsorship ROI can be tricky to assess, because sometimes the visibility you build around your brand has more value than it can initially seem. The easiest way to evaluate performance is to conduct a survey among customers, partners, and employees – but whatever your strategy, the most important aspect is to make sure you discern its impact and use it to set future goals.