5 Ways to Create Sponsorship Programs That Attract Awesome Brands and Enhance Your Event
November 17, 2017 by Kristi Yim
Sponsorship programs offer incredible value to all involved—to your event attendees, to the brands who sponsor and to you...but only if they’re done right. When you connect the right brands with your event attendees in strategic and meaningful ways, you’ll create unforgettable experiences that offer significant value and meaningful connection for everyone.
You likely already know the value of partnering with the best brand sponsors—and you likely already know it’s not always easy to get them to sign on the dotted line. Consider these five ways your sponsorship program can attract the best brand sponsors before you start outreach for your next event.
- Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is pretty much Business (and Life) 101. Get familiar with your event attendees by researching their demographics (such as gender, age and marital status), psychographics (values, interests and lifestyles), social media preferences and more. The better you know the general makeup of the people at your event, the better you’ll be able to provide them with an experience they’ll enjoy and remember—and the more adept you’ll be at partnering with brand sponsors who will connect the best with them. Plus, when you’re well-versed in the details of the audience a brand can reach, the more confidence that brand will have in their return on investment (ROI), in their ability to create meaningful brand activations for your attendees and in you.
- Be Authentic and Transparent
You know your event, inside and out. You know the attendees well, of course—see Tip #1—but you also know the activities, the atmosphere, the location and likely even the projected weather patterns, too! When talking to potential brand sponsors, make sure you give them all of this information. Be authentic and transparent when discussing sponsorship opportunities, so they can accurately decide whether their presence and involvement align with the experience you’re planning. It’s important for brands to be relevant not just for their own image and investment, but to ensure their brand activation is relevant and valuable to attendees, as well. Remember that your goal is to create a meaningful, memorable experience for all involved—and that starts by being authentic and transparent with potential sponsors about exactly what that experience will be.
- Maintain Integrity When Securing Sponsorships
And while we’re on the topic of authenticity and transparency, maintaining your overall integrity throughout your sponsorship outreach will always ensure you come out ahead in partnership with the best brand sponsors. Of course, most rights holders start out with great intentions: setting parameters for partnering only with perfectly-aligned brands. But all too often, even the most authentic amongst them start offering discounts or accepting any brand sponsor who will pay as the event date nears and sponsorship goals have yet to be met. (Or worse yet, rights holders hire an inexperienced person or agency to sell sponsorships—and integrity goes out the window long before that time.) While meeting sponsorship goals is undoubtedly important, meeting those milestones should never compromise the integrity of your entire program.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Connect & Cross-Pollinate
The purpose of your event is to create connection: between consumers and your property/event, between consumers and brands—and even between the brands and other partners! While some rights holders tsk-tsk the idea of cross-pollinating event partners, they’re missing out on a great opportunity to build relationships, deepen trust, enhance promotion and increase the value of the experience for your attendees. Show your potential brand sponsors that you’re not afraid to connect them to the right brands and other partners, when it’s for the good and benefit of all involved.
- Create Custom, Valuable Opportunities for Brands and Consumers
This last tip may seem the most obvious, but it’s still worth stating: create unique, custom opportunities for your sponsors that integrate good experience, brand access, relational connection and significant contribution in all brand activations. Show your sponsors that, through your event, they have the opportunity to not only create value for consumers, but to also drive positive behavioral change and reinforce their brand message. This isn’t just about gaining visibility by putting a logo on a pop-up tent or a tchotchke—this is an opportunity for brands to build emotion-driven relationships with your attendees that can last long after the event is through. Once they realize that, you won’t be able to keep the (right) brand sponsors away!
Your best bet for creating a sponsorship program that incorporates all of the above points and more? Partner with an experiential marketing agency that is skilled and experienced at creating turnkey, results-oriented sponsorship programs! (Hint, hint: We can help.) But even if you can’t do that, you can utilize the tips shared above to easily and efficiently attract the best brand sponsors to enhance any event.