Sponsorships can be a strong, mutual benefit for two organizations that enable fundraising, audience attention and growth, and better brand reputations. But opportunities can easily be missed without ambitious goals and thorough planning.
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, a sponsorship package will include a mixture of direct marketing efforts and behind the scenes promotion. At one point or another, we’ve all been audiences to a sponsorship or partnership, from brand names on NASCAR race cars to brand logos on NBA jerseys. But a robust sponsorship package isn’t just about facetime. It includes the relationships cultivated with new interest gained for the long-term, which ensures a high return on investment for both parties.
Here are a few thought starters for brand partners.
Where will audiences encounter the sponsor?
Consider what kind of event you’re hosting, what attendees and audiences will be doing, and when their attention will be on the main feature rather than absorbing other details.
There are countless places you can create a brand encounter. For instance, at a large conference, a sponsor could host a photo booth, or give away fresh chocolate chip cookies as a snack, even if the cookies are from a third-party vendor.
Think about the various ways that sponsors can connect to an authentic, core brand offering; if the sponsor is DoubleTree by Hilton, fresh cookies would make a lot of sense, because they’re offered at the front desk during every stay, and may even serve as a nudge or reminder to a booth visitor that they should choose a Hilton property the next time they travel. As far as DoubleTree is concerned, that may be its own reward — but more on sponsorship benefits below.
What role can technology play?
The examples above are more traditional, and sometimes you won’t need to invest in IT to generate brand interest. But event tech can plug plenty of gaps, including for:
Sponsors who are too far away to send a representative or booth to the event.
A sponsor who has to suddenly pull out of attending in-person, but still wants to recoup their investment in the event with some kind of appearance.
A sponsorship plan that is centered on an audiovisual offering, such as a video preview before the “main attraction” of an event, or showcasing a new technology the sponsor is selling.
While this is not an exhaustive list, a general rule of thumb is not to feel pressured to include a technology element to your sponsorship package where it otherwise isn’t necessary. As with everything in the planning realm, only proceed if it is on-brand and makes sense.
What is the agreement’s quid pro quo?
The sponsor and the event host should obtain a benefit from working together, whether it is an in-kind benefit, one paid with cash, or another type of investment. Nonprofits, for example, may want a donation to a specific cause their organization champions, like a scholarship support fund. Influencers, or organizations wanting to promote a product or service, may ask for cash in exchange for participation or want a certain number of customers steered to them after they participate. It is best to make the agreement up front, and when it comes to promising a benefit for your sponsor, be honest and realistic about what the event will achieve.
Aim for measurable objectives that are backed up by data — this will determine whether a sponsor will want to work with you long term. Don’t be too concerned if you fall short of expectations, as long as you can pitch the sponsor a plan about what would go differently next time if you work together again. Why did things fall short? If you felt that things succeeded, how can you prove this to the sponsor? Was there anything unexpected that attendees liked, on the other hand? A sponsor will probably be accommodating in situations like these — unless there is no data or quantitative results to point to.
Remember that general advice isn’t a replacement for working with a skilled event management company or planner, who will draw on their experience and expertise to give you an idea of what might or might not work in your unique situation. Behind the Scenes would be happy to offer our perspectives in a consultation meeting.