Increase brand credibility and awareness, influence consumers, increase sales, heightened visibility, gain competitive advantage, positive PR and an enhanced image; with all of these things being direct outcomes of strategic and creative partnerships, it’s no wonder that sponsorship is the fastest growing form of marketing. However, knowing which partnership opportunities are the best alignments for your brand and will produce the best outcomes will help you meet both the KPI’s and the strategic objectives of your organisation is difficult.

With economic insecurity having plagued business and individuals in recent years it has become imperative for businesses to create more meaningful linkages with their consumers to gain competitive advantage, all whist keeping the marketing budget to a minimum.

With sponsorship and strategic partnerships being relatively new concepts in some industries it’s important to clarify that sponsorship is a business arrangement and not a charitable donation. Sponsorship must show some positive return on investment and deliver a wide range of benefits back to you, the sponsor.

When choosing an event, not-for-profit or another brand/company to align your brand/company with there are five key factors that should be given consideration.
Firstly, consideration of values, long term objectives and goals of both your organisation and the prospective event or organisation and confirming that these complement each other is key to ensuring a dynamic, fruitful and long term partnership.

Sponsorship can not only help you reach your target audience but provide a platform to directly interact with your consumers and in turn, have them directly interact with your product. Whether your goals are to engage with your existing consumers or gain access to a consumer group or target a specific demographic, it is important to evaluate the audience of the event/company that you are considering sponsoring to ensure that your investment will deliver in this aspect.

There is a saying in the industry when seeking sponsorship that “cash is king”. What may come as a surprise to some is that sponsorship is not all about big cash injections! Some of the most creative, fruitful and mutually beneficial partnerships come from organisations providing their products or services to the event/organisation seeking sponsorship. This is called budget relieving contra and is the equivalent of providing cash in most instances.

When your own marketing budget is tight, consider what services or products your own organisation may have to offer instead of cash injections.

Consider what other organisations are aligned with the prospective sponsor. Strategically aligning your organisation with these brands may also benefit your brand and provide you with networking opportunities that may assist your business in the long run. A great sponsorship manager will always encourage networking, provide referrals and encourage their partners to forge working relationships with each other.

Ensure that the benefits schedule is tailored to your organisation and more importantly to meet your goals and objectives. This will mean some open communication on your behalf about what your organisation is trying to achieve however there is a raft of innovative benefits that can be created to help your brand stand out, help you network and help you connect with your audience.