Cause sponsorships are a great way to enhance your existing cause branding platform, drive sales of specific cause products or introduce your marketing and sales teams to the power of cause through a medium they’re more familiar with. Here are some tips on how to make sure you are getting the most out of your cause sponsorships (or any sponsorship for that matter):
Make a commitment – Consistency and frequency are the keys to making your presence stick in people’s minds, so choose your cause sponsorship carefully and plan for a long-term commitment if possible. Think through why you are signing the sponsorship and envision how it could look one, three and five years out. Does the cause align with what your brand stands for or is it just a short-term vehicle to reach your target consumer? Is the property sustainable and do they have a solid growth plan? Are they interested in helping you reach your goals? Are you committed to helping them reach theirs? These are all questions you should be able to answer.
Put yourself in their shoes – Before you plan any activation, go see the sponsorship property in person. Talk to participants, fellow sponsors and event organizers. Even better, sign up as a participant yourself to get the full experience. Think about how you can add value for the event and its participants first and your brand/company second. Participants will be much more interested in what you have to say once you show them that you understand and want to add to their experience.
Show some love to the small & local – If your sponsorship is with a national organization or event series, make sure you have something for their local affiliates/chapters/offices. Oftentimes, the local staff doesn’t see the dollars you give to the national organization and have their own local sponsors to take care of. Find ways to offer volunteers, money and product on the local level to earn their support. You’ll get better communication and cooperation in return.
Activate for the behaviors you want – Word of mouth and referrals are more powerful than any other form of advertising or marketing. Plan your activation to encourage participants to use your product on-site in fun and visible ways. Find ways to specially recognize and thank participants who are already loyal customers. Reward them and they will reward you.
Help everyone share in the experience – Educate and involve your employees and customers about your sponsorship in advance and give them ways to get involved. Use all of your internal and external vehicles to talk about the cause sponsorship and offer direction on how to learn more, participate, donate, volunteer and spread the word.
Follow the above tips and you’ll be on your way to a sponsorship that helps your brand stand out, engages your customers and makes a real difference.
- Chris Mann, Account Director