By Steve Knipstein - As spring turns to summer, sporting and lifestyle events will fill the calendar and introduce us all to brands old and new as their logos dance across banners, telecasts and promotions. Sponsoring sporting and lifestyle events is a tried and true technique for reaching customers and bringing brands to life. But many brand teams fall short of reaching ROI nirvana by not activating their hard-earned sponsorship through an integrated campaign.
Global sponsorship spending was projected to grow nearly 5 percent in 2016 to $60.2 billion, according to IEG. Supporting sponsorships with a combined experimental, social media and media relations campaign is a cost-effective way to get the most out of your spend and drive all important ROI.
Here are five ways to give it your all when planning sponsorship programs in the coming year.
1. Engage consumers with a social media campaign – make the experience connect with customers on social media. Providing platforms for sharing photos of their interactions with the brand extend the sponsorship beyond game day or concert week. Build an add-on to that virtual reality experience that lets people share their wild VR ride socially. The additional reach is well worth the added expense.
2. Use media relations to extend messages beyond the sponsorship – create a larger story around the activation that connects the brand to the conversation of the day. Cause-related partnerships turn brands into heroes and are noticed by the media.
3. Boost with paid social – content grows and engages quickly when supported with a small paid search campaign. Videos and graphics that relate the brand to the success of a sponsored event go a long way in building further consumer engagement.
4. Extend reach through a sweepstakes or contest – an oldie but goody technique finds new life through social media. Don’t forget to think of ways to build buzz in the lead up to sponsorship week by providing consumers chances to win unique experiences or limited edition brand offerings.
5. Use digital tools to collect usable data through onsite experiences – on-site activations give consumers the chance to sample brands and provide marketing teams with valuable data that generates leads. Mobile devices and new software bring the power of data collection to the hands of brand ambassadors, giving a valuable way to drive sponsorship ROI data.
Sponsorships are big financial commitments and require buy in from many internal corporate teams. So don't stop short and accelerate your investment through an integrated activation campaign.