Hey, Sponsor Me!
Ahhh sponsorship marketing. Whether or not you’re aware of it, you’ve definitely seen it. Sponsorship marketing is the fastest growing form of marketing in the U.S.
From sponsoring local community events, to internationally known sports events, brands are always looking for ways to get their product, message or service in front of their target consumer. Why? In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores why sponsorship marketing is vital to powerful brand marketing, and what brand marketers need to know to get started.
What is Sponsorship Marketing?
Sponsorship marketing is the financial, or in-kind, support of an activity used to further one’s business goals. In most cases, the one providing sponsorship dollars is a brand that’s looking to engage with the audience of said activity.
Please keep in mind however, that sponsorship marketing is different from advertising.
So what's the difference?
Sponsorships require a stronger and deeper relationship with an entity, as opposed to just an exchange of value, like advertising. A sponsorship is an ongoing relationship with the event provider in exchange for a predetermined amount of exposure.
Advertising, on the other hand, is a single message point placed into an event and is typically part of a larger campaign. Ultimately, the difference between the two can be difficult to distinguish, and often times come down to semantics, but all in all, think of sponsorships as a more in depth version of advertising.
For example, a Coca-Cola advertisement at the Super Bowl may include a banner along the sideline and a commercial during halftime whereas a sponsorship will include branded Coca-Cola cups throughout the stadium, Coca-Cola ‘special moments’ cut throughout the game and a “brought to you by Coca-Cola” shoutout.
What Types of Sponsorships Are There?
The world of sponsorship marketing is so vast that it would be impossible to include all of the different types of sponsorships available to brands in this blog. So, for the sake of not boring you to death, we’re going to discuss two of the types of sponsorships that we see day in and day out.
Events: The first type of sponsorship is event sponsorships.
An event can be anything from a small picnic to raise money for the girl scouts in your community to the World Cup Final. Both of these are perfect territory for a brand to sponsor, depending on the brand’s size and goals. For a small picnic, a local grocery store, let's call it "Odessa Grocery", may decide to sponsor it. Why? This could be an opportunity for Odessa Grocery to shine itself in a positive light and show that they care about the community. This may even influence some of the attendees to go shop there, instead of a big supermarket like Kroger. Or in the world our team lives in, events are typically also shared with celebrities and influencers - and brands get to play in their world while getting some stardust shimmer knocked onto the brand itself.
Endorsements: A second type of sponsorship that we see all the time are athlete/celebrity endorsements.
Take a quick look at Lebron James’ Instagram and you’ll see that it’s flooded with Nike apparel. Well, that’s because Nike sponsored Lebron James in exchange for him to wear and promote their products. We see this all the time outside of athletes as well -- Rihanna’s Puma sponsorship, Michael Phelps’ Talkspace sponsorship and so on. Athletes and celebrities are businesses in themselves with highly engaged audiences so the right brand-celebrity sponsorship could be very beneficial to all parties involved.
Why Are Sponsorships Beneficial?
Shaping Brand Image:
One of a brand’s ongoing goals is to enhance its image and shape consumer attitudes. Well, one of the best ways to do this is by sponsoring an event, athlete, tv show, etc. that aligns with your target market. Being part of these events will likely help cast your brand in a positive light and enhance consumer desire to purchase from your brand. For example, if a restaurant is looking to show that they care about their surrounding community, they may sponsor a food drive that helps provide meals for the less fortunate.
Of course, a brand can just buy TV or social media ads to get their brand out there, but today’s consumers are kind of tired of seeing traditional ads. Consumers want to engage with, or experience, brands first hand nowadays. There’s no better to do this than through sponsorship marketing. For example, if GoPro were to sponsor a camera convention, one of their branded assets could be a photobooth that lets attendees come up and use the camera for themselves. In doing this, not only does GoPro get their name out there but they also allow people to engage with their brand and see how it works in hopes of increasing their likelihood of them going to purchase.
Differentiate from Competitors:
In such a saturated marketplace, all brands want to figure out ways to stand out from their competitors. Sponsorship marketing is a great way to fight for the attention of your consumers through alternative channels. Traditional ad space is just too crowded these days. But, through sponsorships, you can make your brand front and center, especially if there’s an exclusivity clause built into the contract. In addition, sponsorships are a great way for brands to compete with brands that have larger ad budgets. When done tastefully and thoughtfully, sponsorship marketing is kind of like guerilla warfare in the marketing game, planting your brand seeds from the ground up.
Of course, the world of sponsorships is bigger than this blog can handle. We could write an entire handbook just on sponsorships. In fact, maybe we will do that...stay tuned!
Anyways, as a brand with massive budgets all the way down to quite small budgets, sponsorship marketing is an incredible way to organically place your brand in front of your target consumer. It can help loop your brand into content that will resonate with your consumer for years to come. And not to mention, a well put together sponsorship deal can be quite fun for both the consumer and the brand.
- Brand Sponsorship At The Oscars
- How NBA Uniform Sponsorships Were Established
- The FTC Takes On Social Influencer Sponsorships
- Why Millennial Brands Like To Sponsor Music Festivals
Interested in learning more about ways you can leverage third parties (or their content) to create more awareness around your brand? Check out our event calendar to find options that may be a fit. We're always here to help!