By D’ARCY RAHMING
Every month I am inundated with requests for sponsorships, both personally and for my business. It is the revenue model for many non-profit organisations, who rely on the goodwill of sponsors to make their event possible.
I have been on both sides of this fence. Full disclosure here: I am a major fundraiser for Bahamas Judo, and now the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC). But in this article, I am writing from the point of view of a businessman who is faced with various requests. I attempt to answer the question: Should sponsorship be a viable part of your marketing strategy?
Sponsorship must work, or why else would companies such as McDonalds spend millions to sponsor the Olympics? Would this money have been better spent on some really good commercials? Sponsorship can also lead to tremendous community goodwill. Even sponsoring a space ad for a booklet, which may or may not be seen by many people, helps a company develop a relationship with the community that advertising alone can never accomplish.
A pure advertising strategy can indeed work, but people don’t like to think a company is in business just to make money. They want to know that your company is part of the bigger picture of the community. That you are giving back. That you care and that you are a good corporate citizen. So, first of all, let’s look at some of the ways big companies use sponsorship.
One strategy is finding common ground through shared values. In the McDonalds example, people associate the Olympics with athletic excellence and high performance. While few persons would associate McDonalds with athletic excellence, the brand is consistent with the actual Olympic values. These values are excellence, respect and friendship. This is common ground, as McDonalds also prides itself on similar values, since its products are produced with excellence and consumed in the spirit of friendship and respect.
Companies advertise to get their product in front of more people, and that is the same reason that they sponsor. Sponsoring even a small event can have a multiplier effect. So, let’s say you sponsor your local judo tournament and they hang a banner at the officials’ table. Your product exposure goes way beyond those persons seeing the banner at the tournament.
This increased exposure is mainly due to the modern camera and social media. Fact is, a correctly positioned banner will be viewed over and over again on youtube and Facebook by those persons posting their performances. In the next article, I will continue with the theme of sponsorship and how you can best apply it to your circumstances.
NB: D’Arcy Rahming holds an MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. A lecturer at the College of the Bahamas, Mr Rahming has clients in general insurance, retail, the health and medical fields, sports federations and financial services. To receive his marketing newsletter FREE go to http://darcyrahming.com