Sponsorship as a Marketing Tool


Sponsorship can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal, but it can be very hit and miss. Sponsoring high profile celebrities or sports teams is a pricey investment but you can choose to sponsor on a localized level and achieve results in the form of greater brand awareness and ultimately more sales. The salient point is to understand what sponsorship may or may not achieve and to also be able to have a tangible measurement of your effort.

With sponsored marketing, you can make informed decisions, benchmark against competitors and understand if your assets are being valued correctly. More importantly, you can learn from your marketing to identify your weaknesses and strengths in your approach, planning and execution.

Some say, “Sponsorship is not advertising”

In terms of getting a message across about an offer or maybe about a change in your business, then sponsorship is not advertising in the strictest sense. However, you can spread and build your brand through both dissemination and association with whatever you are advertising. You may not penetrate an audience with your offers, but you can put your brand in the back of a consumer’s mind and take advantage of drip-drip marketing in a meaningful and hopefully positive way.

Tarred by association

Do not forget that you need to pick your who you sponsor very carefully. Sports players are notorious for losing sponsors for their behaviour, be it cheating on their wives or swearing on camera. You can enjoy a very positive association with whomever you sponsor, but the door swings both ways.

Are fans or viewers actually seeing and registering your brand

This is a question that puzzles a lot of people. Why pay money if you cannot be sure your logo or brand taglines are taking effect? For example, there are many times when fans watch soccer players with logos on their shirts and cannot recall all the brands or logos featured on the kit. Does this mean that the sponsors are wasting their money?

Opinion is divided, but most will admit that their branding has some effect on the fans. For example, if a new logo from a new company appeared on a soccer player’s shirt, people would be less cautious and less sceptical of the brand when they see it at a later date.

There is also the effect on a human’s subconscious. People have studied psychology for thousands of years and it is only recently that we named the field. Nevertheless, it is widely known that we take in more information than we consciously realize. That is why things such as smells, photographs and even dreams can stir up memories that people thought were lost. That being the case, it is highly likely that people remember and retain brand taglines and logos whether they may consciously recall them or not. The question you have to ask is, “Is it better to risk a low impact sponsorship or remain absent completely?” Most would agree it is better to have little or an immeasurable impact rather than nothing at all.

Tim Aldiss writes for Generate, sports & events sponsorship experts.