Every company dreams of having consumers repeat their purchases, especially in competing markets. Loyal customers are those who purchase your products regardless of price and convenience, (Hello Apple!). Companies work diligently to establish brand loyalty with their customers through relationships, marketing campaigns, service and quality of products.
But first, consumers have to know that your company and its products and services exits.
How do you get people to know that your company exists?
Brand awareness. Sponsorship Activation takes brand awareness to the next level.
What is the goal of Sponsorship Activation?
Sponsorship activation is the intention of independently promoting and advertising, from a sponsor’s point of view, towards a specific marketing opportunity.
In other words, it's brand PR through experiential marketing. Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers, connects brands to a new audience and gives potential customers a look into the brand.
When most people think about the word “Sponsorship”, it’s usually in the context of “corporate sponsorships”. Meaning, your company’s name across a backdrop of a red carpet during a televised event. Industry giants like the NFL use mediums such as television advertising to keep customers aware of their brand. Sponsorship Activation on the other hand, is more about connecting with consumers through experiential marketing.
Sponsorship Activation helps deepen customer relationships
Marketers are using Sponsorship Activation to create target segmented events to deepen customer relationships. Sponsorship Activation usually takes place at public events with the goal of raising brand awareness. This unique form of marketing enables companies to engage with consumers, build relationships and introduce new products and services.
As previously mentioned, sponsorship spending doesn’t stop at T.V. advertisements. Companies are increasing their marketing budgets to focus on creating unique experiences at fairs, festivals and community events. In fact in 2017, a total of $904 million was spent on sponsorships, a 3 percent increase over 2016, per ESP research.
This is definitely not a blog post encouraging companies to “spend more” but to think about a variety of strategies for engaging with consumers, while introducing your company’s products and services.
Sponsorship Activation enables brands to leverage their partnerships with companies who already have a customer base. This strategy helps companies maximize their brand awareness campaign efforts.
Recently, 5 big brand names such as Michelob Ultra, The Red Cross and HBO’s hit T.V. series Game of Thrones used sponsorship activation to drive user engagement, while creating unique consumer experiences.
HBO’s Game of Thrones and the American Red Cross
Game of Thrones the popular best-selling book turned HBO series, partnered with the American Red Cross at this year’s SXSW 2019 festival. Jon Snow’s infamous line “There is only one war that matters. The Great War. And it is here”, sparked the idea of turning an event space into a “war camp”. Attendees were invited to an immersive experience of the “battle field of war”. Attendees were encouraged to donate blood to the American Red Cross .
Why did this partnership make sense for The American Red Cross and the hit T.V show? Game of Throne is HBO’s most popular series to date, with a viewership of 30 million per episode.
The strategy: use a popular hit T.V. show, which relates to a segmented audience, to raise awareness about the importance of donating blood.
Michelob Ultra and “The Big Quiet”
Beverage giant Michelob Ultra gave attendees a moment of “Zen” at the SXSW 2019 festival, hosting a “Pure Golden Hour” with "The Big Quiet”. Attendees were able to reconnect with nature, and find balance during a mass sunset meditation. The event included special performances, healthy food and of course, cold Michelob Ultra beer.
The Strategy: The Michelob Ultra brand boasts its products as low calorie, organic, with 0.0g of fat. The company often sponsors fitness related and sports events from running and cycling, to golf tournaments. The Big Quiet, hosts large scale meditation events around the world. This partnership made sense considering both brands have the same audience that could benefit from each service and or product.
MAGIC Fashion is one the largest trade shows in the fashion industry with upwards of 100,000 attendees annually. The trade show is held twice a year in February and August. The weekly event gives retailers an inside look, into fashion trends, allowing brands to purchase items to carry in retail chains. Every year Fashion brands create new experiences for attendees, such as networking lounges that provides companies the opportunity to network and build relationships with vendors off the showroom floor.
I realize that many of you don’t necessarily have the same budgets as the brands mentioned in the post however, where you lack, you also have the benefit of unlimited possibilities for creating your own unique consumer experiences. I suggest, researching brands who are in alignment with your products, services, and even have the same customers. Use companies such as Michelob Ultra as case studies, to research events, attendees, and themes, to get an idea on how to create your own Sponsorship Activation experiences. Learn what works and why. Care to elaborate a little more on this subject? Tweet us or start the conversation up on Instagram!