• Van Hawke Sports

Sports Sponsorship: 6 things to consider

- By Alex Bidwell

Sports sponsorship is a superb way to market brands of any size at any point in their marketing journey. The potential advantages and benefits of sports sponsorship are multi-faceted in utilising your brand’s growth.

At Van Hawke Sports, we are a leading sports marketing agency specialising in sports sponsorship for brands. Consequently, we are frequently in touch with the interests of the brand and the opportunities and benefits available in sport sponsorships. Here are six key points to consider in ensuring maximum value is obtained through your sports marketing venture.

1. What are your brand values?

Your brand values are one of the most important key assets to establish when considering sports sponsorship as they shape the foundations of your company’s DNA. The underpinning question here is - can those values be achieved through a sports property, and if so, is there an opportunity available that shares those principles? The marketing campaign that then emerges should be distinctive and concise, tying the values, e.g. environmental sustainability or innovation, of the partners succinctly together.

Sports sponsorships met with the most favourable response are those that have perceived sincerity as both the brand and the sports property collaborate together over shared goals, to make the partnership a natural fit.

2. What is your target market?

Sports sponsorship offers an unrivalled opportunity to increase your brand’s awareness, be that locally, nationally or globally. Taking in consideration your geographical interests when investing in sports sponsorship will help grow your brand’s image and position in a certain area of the world or country. It is as equally important to ensure that you are sponsoring a sport that is widely respected there – e.g. cricket in India, AFL in Australia, or NBA in America. Once this has been set in place, you must also contemplate the specificities of each region you are looking at.

Moreover, you should liaise with potential sports properties to gain an understanding of who their target demographic and see if they have a thorough customer profile. This will allow you to decide which sports property is a good fit for your brand and if a sustainable relationship can be built with their fanbase. For example, it may be inappropriate to advertise alcoholic brands in countries or states where alcohol consumption is banned.

3. Is your brand B2B or B2C?

Given the mass audiences that sports attract on a global scale, sports sponsorship is a great way of reaching out to a defined and engaged audience to market your brand. Whether your company is B2B or B2C, sports marketing provides the necessary tools needed for both brand types and is as equally effective. For B2C brands, there is greater potential to harness an amicable and more idiomatic relationship with the consumer through social media or television adverts that are amusing and memorable.

B2B focused brands can also generate great results through sports sponsorship. The hospitality opportunities are unique and diverse and can be tailored to each client’s needs to ensure they strike a chord with the client, resulting in memorable events that strengthen professional relations between brands. Moreover, B2B brands can also make use of social media via other professional channels, such as LinkedIn, to demonstrate the progressive work that their sports sponsorship is committed to.

4. How long do you want your sports sponsorship program to be?

Every sports sponsorship agreement is different, and the longevity of potential partnerships is another crucial point to consider. If you are looking for instant impact and rapid ROI growth, an event sponsorship may be a suitable option, as demonstrated by Red Bull’s success hosting various high-octane events.

Usually, depending on the brand’s objectives, marketing campaigns tend to be executed over a longer timeline allowing to build trust between the consumer and the brand before becoming a trusted name. Budweiser have recently signed 3-year deals with both the Premier League and La Liga respectively, and are looking to slowly but surely build up a stronger relationship with the fans of these leagues and essentially become their beverage of choice whilst also adding value to the sport featured in.

5. How does sports sponsorship fit into your wider marketing strategy?

Having a coherent and refined marketing strategy throughout your brand is crucial to success. Sports sponsorship is malleable in its nature as a great marketing tool, used to effectively complement and reinforce the messaging of your brand’s wider marketing strategy including specific goals and objectives.

There are many innovative ways to market your brand through sports, some include using the moments that sports create, sponsored by your brand, in adverts to tell great stories, as social media posts or on billboards etc. Brands can also have their logo on sports stadia, equipment, in the backdrop of interviews, and on rights holders’ social media channels, to name a few.

All your marketing efforts must be defined by clear objectives so that they become measurable. This ensures that the marketing strategy is streamlined and is permanently accountable to your goals outlined at the beginning of each project.

6. What is the budget?

One of the crucial questions to ponder when considering sports sponsorship is regarding the budget to allow you to maximise your investment’s value.

Whilst sport sponsorship is a flexible field there are definite price ranges, and the range in cost between the elite and global sports sponsorship partnerships versus the more local ones is vast. These costs regularly act as a barrier to smaller brands, meaning the most prestigious teams in the world will be partnered with similarly positioned brands. However, there is still great opportunities available to brands lower down the pecking order that can be great avenues to explore and invest in for your brand’s ROI success.

Van Hawke Sports is a leading sports marketing agency, here to assist brands across all sectors of any size. We offer a complimentary advisory service to brands interested in sports marketing. If you want to learn more about us and how we can assist you, contact us today.

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