Sponsoring an event, team or charity is a great way to promote your brand, especially if you’re a startup. By associating with an established business who’s loyal customers are in your target market, you can build the credibility of your product, increase visibility of your brand and enhance your public image. All at once! Clever, no?
Now, I know as soon as someone says ‘sponsorship’, my mind immediately goes to partnerships like David Beckham and Samsung (mostly just David Beckham, actually). However, becoming a sponsor doesn’t have to cost you millions. In some instances, you can even offer to provide sponsorship in-kind—offering complimentary product or services instead of a cash payment.
So what are you waiting for? Oh, the list of five ways sponsorship can benefit your business. Ok, then. Here it is:
1. Brand awareness
By becoming a sponsor, you are talking directly to a captivated audience who will associate their experience at that event with your brand, therefore building their awareness of your business and product or service.
Sponsorship opportunities are also measureable, which is sometimes difficult with brand awareness campaigns. You can often find out who attended, source contact details and provide special offers to measure response rates—leveraging the opportunity to find out more about your target audience.
2. Networking opportunities
You will receive some great networking opportunities that you may not otherwise have as a new business. If your sponsorship allows you to associate your brand with other high-level brands and contacts, it will increase the perception of you as an expert in your industry and may even provide you with some new sales leads.
Hospitality benefits like free tickets, VIP areas and gala dinners also provide an opportunity for you to thank key clients, schmooze potential clients and even reward staff throughout the year.
Of course, you shouldn’t just throw money or product at any event and expect to receive a valuable return on investment. It’s important to choose your sponsorship carefully to ensure it aligns with your businesses values. This way, you will have the opportunity to share your key messages and differentiate your business from its competitors.
For example, if one of your business values is teamwork, a team sport might be the way to go. Innovation? Perhaps a technology scholarship or trade event. Creativity? The arts are always desperate for sponsors and are usually able to offer fantastic hospitality benefits.
4. Highly-targeted audience
Everyone these days is hungry for content and becoming a sponsor not only gives you something to talk about, but a ready-made audience to talk to. You may have access to their database for direct mail and promotional opportunities, promote your business values via their blog, advertise within the program guide and promote the partnership to your existing clients. In any case, you’re not wasting time and money communicating to the whole world, when all you want to do is talk to potential customers.
5. Media opportunities
Even if your sponsorship itself isn’t enough to warrant media attention, you can always use it to jump on the back of media opportunities managed by the event organisers. If you do decide to launch a new product or make an announcement during a sponsored event, it may generate more interest than if you did it alone.
Over to you! Have you had any success sponsoring an event, team or charity? This week I’ll be working with Permission to leverage its sponsorship of Online Retailer 2012 . If your business is an e-tailer (or moving that way) you should come along. Hope to see you there!