Event sponsorship: How to build brand value

Investec Derby, Derby Day 2014

Investec Derby – Derby Day 2014

Sponsorship – whether of a sports team or event, a conference or a concert – can be an effective way to build brand presence and awareness for the overall benefit of your business. And it’s not only an option for larger companies. Sponsoring a smaller event, especially if your broader activation strategy is clever, can deliver an excellent return on investment. But how can you do it successfully?

First, and most obviously, it’s important to select the right sponsorship opportunity. This is partly down to analysing the audience – the simple principle of ensuring that the event or team will be watched by people you want to talk to. But more subtly, it’s also about working out what you’re trying to achieve and matching that to the opportunity. We have looked for Investec’s sponsorships, for example, to resonate in the UK, South Africa and Australia, hence our involvement with English test cricket and international rugby. But these partnerships enable us to showcase our own brand values too: that we’re different and we like to stand out.

Second, it is not enough to simply secure the sponsorship and ensure that your business’s branding and messaging is displayed prominently. Maximising the value of a partnership involves more proactive activation, including through PR, digital strategy, or broader advertising that links the opportunity back to the business and its brand values. In other words, it’s important to look at the sponsorship and see what you can really make from it. It could be an opportunity to better engage with clients, for example. If the success of your business is built on relationships, a day at the Derby, for instance, can have outsized benefits – especially if you add points of interest during the day so that it will ultimately be remembered by the client.

But this also means embracing the sponsorship as a partnership – and not just paying a fee to the rights holder. We work with the Jockey Club, for example, to make the Derby as high profile and impactful as possible, and this benefits both sides.

Third, you should measure how your partnership is being engaged with to ensure a clear return on investment. There are many ways of doing this. For televised sponsorships, you can simply look at broadcast figures and equate them back to different markets. You can also measure press coverage and interactions with your digital communications. But as you can measure as much as you’re willing to pay for, you do need to draw a line where you’re happy that the partnership is showing a good return.

Ultimately, making the most of sponsorship comes down to two things: first, choosing the right property to get maximum exposure for your brand and business, and ensuring that your message is reaching your target audience; second, building an integrated strategy around it using all the different marketing tools to broaden the reach and create depth of meaning.

This article was originally published by Investec.