“After taking the decision to sponsor a sports or music property, the most important thing is to understand what kind of stories can be told through it and how sponsorship activation can be used in a creative way in order to engage the fans and to be authentic”
Last week, I was at supermarket with my kid, a bright ten year boy who knows what he wants in life. I watched him choose a chocolate bar and instead of going for his favorite one he carefully checked the brands and information in each product. He had watched a documentary with his mother about child slavery on Cocoa farms in Africa, and had decided to avoid “bad brands”.
The story of the documentary and its plot had a huge impact on him. In the past, traditional media was the main communication platform for brands. Now consumers have more access to information than ever, so its not possible to hide secrets anymore and brand stories need to be consistent across employees, clients, providers, community, press and of course consumers.
Brands now have the opportunity to shape their own stories in so many more ways than advertising. It needs to be authentic in order to appeal to costumers; it is not possible anymore only to tell a story, there is the need to prove it, to show your values, to live by it. These are the most important things to build a reputation, an identity, a personality, generating brand equity. So brands needs to be linked to things that are important to costumers, prospects and community.
One of the most important platforms are sponsorship programs, especially ones related to passion points. Areas like sport and music cut through the brain clutter and connect with the emotion in consumers. Too many brands still see sponsorship as an add-on to the communication programs. Sponsorship programs can help brands tell the stories about their values, personality and history. Successful sponsorship, can be used to talk to the property’s target fans, brand’s prospects and clients in way that gives credibility to the story of the organisation. Sponsorship is about telling a story around a property through the use of live activation, social networking dissemination, use of brand content, grass roots actions, endorsements, etc…
After taking the decision to sponsor a sports or music property, the most important thing is to understand what kind of stories can be told through it and how sponsorship activation can be used in a creative way in order to engage the fans and to be authentic. This may sound logical but all too often marketers don’t spend time and money to audit the sponsored property and the shift in sentiment amongst fans. The risk is that campaigns will be misunderstood or even worst to be seen as a negatively disruptive.
The fit between the sponsors, sport and music properties and fan is the most important thing. In order to create the right story it needs to be told though the program, be something unique and strong that will generate value and deliver great results. The success of a sponsorship program must be measured by various metrics from sentiment to sales. Tracking consumers we can now measure when someone feels good whilst in front of a brand or product.
Of course this only happens when sponsorship delivers a meaningful, authentic and powerful story, that creates unique emotions and sensations among consumers. In the end, after avoiding the bad brands, my kid, a sport fan, just decided to go for one chocolate that is known for its successful sports sponsorship program. He decided for a brand that had positive impact on him, using sport as a tool tell a good history and to be associated with good feelings.