The end game of sports partnerships is selling more of the sponsor’s products and services. Brand awareness and brand consideration are essential to moving sales in the right direction. Brands can get there by employing clearly defined strategies – strategies that are informed and devised with metrics that matter. As we have seen with sports sponsorships before, success lies in boosting brand engagement by forming meaningful connections with fans.
Nissan Australia understands the importance of implementing a smart sponsorship marketing strategy. We recently had the chance to sit down with the Senior Manager of Brand and Sponsorship Marketing for Nissan Australia, Alison Tyson. Alison shared some of their key strategies that help forge sponsorship relationships with some of the biggest sports in Australia.
We were inspired by the conversation and are sharing 7 ways that brands can develop diverse and inclusive partnerships, drive partnership results in competitive markets, and leverage partnerships to tell their authentic story.
1. Define the Sponsorship Goal
Defining the main sponsorship goal may seem like a no-brainer. Yet, there are times when brands are tempted to invest in a particular communications channel without knowing how or if it will move the needle. What metric(s) will measure success if the goal is not clear? How do we measure return on investment without knowing the goal? It is a little like bowling without being able to see the pins.
2. Diversify Sponsorship Spending Across Sports and Gender
Sponsors typically choose to target and reach as many consumers in as many relevant segments as possible. Partnering with multiple sports enables sponsors to reach diversified fan bases.
Diversity applies not only to sports teams and leagues but also to cross-gender of those teams and leagues as well. In this age of gender equality, sponsoring both male and female sports is not only politically correct, but it’s also responsible behavior. Reaching both male and female fans will help close the gap separating male and female sports broadcast share of voice.
Diversity is especially important if a brand wants to talk to both men and women across multiple demographic and psychographic market segments.
3. Tell the Brand Story– Emotional Connections Drive Brand Metrics
Sponsor partnerships should communicate the brand story and the brand promise. “Who are we?” is a question every brand must answer. Brand stories are indispensable marketing assets. They respond to the “what, why and how” in the minds of consumers. Sports partnerships place brands in a rich environment where fans are passionate and loyal. Brands benefit when they find ways to harness fan passion by connecting to their feelings and emotions. Fans are more likely to consider brands that align with what they love and value.
4. Find and Exploit Communication Gaps
Brands can gain the advantage by finding and exploiting marketing communication gaps. Nissan Australia noticed that no one was talking to a particular Netball audience segment. Netball is a basketball derivative played in many commonwealth countries. Nissan took out naming rights to some of the important elements of the game. It was able to connect the idea of athletic performance to its brand performance. The result was an enhanced fan experience.
This kind of gap analysis can align athletic performance with brand performance. It’s all about finding new and meaningful ways to engage fans while telling the brand story.
5. Build Brand Trust
Recent studies show that brand trust is one of the top three reasons that influence buying decisions. If brand awareness is high but brand consideration is not, a lack of brand trust might be the problem. Fans may see and hear the company’s name and message over and over but still not put the brand on their shopping list. Low emotional attachment leads to low brand trust.
So, if brand trust is low, sponsors need to understand why their strategies aren’t working. Why aren’t the messages connecting with fans? It may take some primary research to figure out what’s working, what’s not and why. Once the dynamics are understood, strategists can then pivot to make the necessary course corrections.
6. Measure, Analyze and Adjust
There’s an old advertising adage that goes like this: “I know I’m wasting half of my ad budget. I just don’t know which half.” That’s where understanding the relevant metrics comes in. Every sponsor should ask, “What role do the metrics play in our decision-making? Do we know what content fans want to see from us? Are we creating emotional attachments? How do we measure progress?”
At the end of every season, brands must measure sponsorship and partnership metrics. With the help of outside research firms or internal teams, brands can measure and analyze input from fans, properties and the general public. The data can then be used to formulate plans for the next season, correct mistakes, and emphasize the strategies and tactics that are working.
7. Develop Tighter Sponsorship Integration in the Marketing Mix
Brands that have a tighter integration of sponsorship into a brand’s marketing matrix will see greater results. In the past, above-the-line marketing communications included traditional and digital channels, but sponsorships were sort of set to the side– almost an afterthought. That is changing. Marketing communication strategies should extend into, and integrate sponsorships. Synergy can be achieved with tighter integration of sponsorships into the overall marketing mix and budgeting.
Driving results while remaining authentic, innovative, and relevant doesn’t have to be a challenge. Caravel provides sponsorship marketing strategies to help companies reach unrealized potential. We help brands shift their broad marketing strategies into actional programs that support the communities and consumers they serve. Learn more at https://www.caravelmarketing.com/our-services/.