Yokohama Tires recently announced a five year deal with Chelsea worth £200 million while Emirates are in the midst of a £150 million partnership plan with Arsenal. And of course the owners of UAE-based Etihad Airways currently own Manchester City.
With a potential audience of 4.7 billion people around the globe, does getting your company name on a jersey of a Premier League team provide worthwhile ROI? And beyond awareness and increased brand visibility, will sponsoring a team lead to greater sales? Does watching Everton play make someone want to drink Chang Beer, or do Manchester City fans prefer to fly Etihad?
The answers to these questions aren’t so simple.
The benefits of a sponsorship is much greater than just product sales. For Chang Beer, the sponsorship of Everton has led to a focus on improving football talent in Thailand and investing on projects which may popularise the sport in the country. For Chevrolet, on the other hand, the sponsorship of Manchester United and their other football asset, One World Play, has meant that the brand is able to deliver more than 1.5 million of the indestructible footballs to 90 countries worldwide – bringing play to over 45 million youth.
From CSR to marketing
With so much banking on sponsorships, every dollar that gets spent must be measurable. Sponsorship budgets have moved from CSR to marketing, and measurement has also become scientific. An analysis by the Association of National Advertisers uncovered that only 35% of brands consistently measure the ROI on a sponsorship.
Just having a brand on a backdrop or a jersey isn’t enough. In the age of engagement, sports sponsorship has the power to cut through clutter, allowing a brand to deliver their messages to the right audiences in the best way possible. That means for every dollar brands spend on sponsorship, they should be looking to spend an equivalent amount of that, if not twice that on activation and PR.
So what should sponsors do? Here are our top 5 steps on how brands should look to push their sponsorship through PR:
- Meet the people, bring the people
The teams or athletes you sponsor are influential. Rather than just having them front your brand in media, let your clients, your suppliers, your partners meet the athletes. This will help provide truly valuable experiences to your partners.
- Don’t just look for a face of your product, look for a face that lives your product
When looking for an asset to sponsor, get them to buy into your philosophy, product and what you stand for. Only when they understand and believe in your product and brand will they be able to authentically share your stories.
- Content developed for you and your fans
The saying “content is king” is probably one of the most over-used clichés in the PR world, and it’s well known that to have your content work best for you, you need context and craft. Work with your sponsorship assets to develop exclusive content (like interviews and videos) which can be shared on your own media platforms.
- Let’s talk about it
Yes, there’s usually a big announcement that goes out when the sponsorship deal is signed, but then what? Don’t stay silent, give updates, and talk about how you’re leveraging the sponsorship and what it means to your brand.
- Make friends
One good thing about being a sponsor is that you’re probably not alone. Use the opportunity to build a network of like-minded sponsors. By doing so, brands are able to build their own business circles, and customer base.