Let’s start by playing a game. What is the first sponsor that comes to mind when you think of the following events? The Six Nations, the Football League Cup, London Marathon, Queen’s Tennis Tournament & The Grand National.
Perhaps one, or maybe two, of these brands came to mind: RBS, Coca Cola, Flora, Stella Artois and John Smiths. If you did consider any of these brands then that would be perfectly reasonable and understandable. The fact that none of these brands are current title sponsors of any of these events, with the most recent ending in 2017 (RBS) and the most historic concluding in 1998 (Coca Cola), tells us something about the long-lasting impression a title sponsorship can have.
Just recently we have seen OVO Energy end their title sponsorship of the Tour of Britain cycle races after three years, while Blancpain has just announced that it is ending its title sponsorship deal with the SRO Motorsports Group at the end of 2019 – a partnership that has been in place for 10 years. Both of these announcements got us thinking about the true value and impact a title sponsorship can have.
Perhaps slightly less so in the case of OVO, but certainly for Blancpain, the likelihood is that when referencing any of the SRO Motorsports Groups GT championships, the Swiss watchmakers name will still be uttered long after it has left. So synonymous has the name become with GT racing that you could just use the term ‘Blancpain’ and those within the motorsport paddock would know precisely which series and type of racing you are referring to.
But much like RBS, Coca Cola, Flora, Stella Artois and John Smiths, this doesn’t happen by accident; it takes time. It requires patience, it requires contract longevity, it requires a well-considered sponsorship strategy, and it requires effective activation. Between these five brands they have a combined total of 69 years of title sponsorship with these events. The shortest being 6 years for Coca Cola and the longest at 29 years for Stella Artois.
This proves that if you invest in a title sponsorship over a number of years, it can have a lifespan well-beyond the end of the contract period, and as a result continue to offer a return on the initial financial outlay long after the sponsorship has ended.
This is another area where sponsorship really comes into its own, and when compared to traditional advertising, can be a much more powerful platform for your company. Whereas advertising talks at you, sponsorships engage with you. Advertising lacks the emotional connection that sponsorships offer, and because of this, the lifespan of an advertising campaign tends to be a lot shorter.
As with any sports sponsorship, you are able to tap into the memorable experiences and positive association that the sport conveys, and the impact this has on the fans that are watching. However, signing-off on a title sponsorship over a number of years doesn’t equal instant success, after all, there are as many unmemorable title sponsors as there are memorable. To get the best out of a partnership, you have to work hard to find the right property, define the required assets, and fully activate the sponsorship.
Of course, there is also an element of luck and subjectivity that can dictate the success of any sponsorship. Certain brands stick long in our memories because we associate them with happy times and experiences for us on an individual basis, or perhaps a brand happened to be a partner of a team when it won a trophy or achieved the peak of its success. However, if you’re not there in the first place as a sponsor then you’re not even giving yourself the chance to succeed!
Title sponsorships can initially appear daunting, both with the investment required and the work needed to get the most out of them. If done correctly though, they have the potential to be remembered long beyond the end of their contract period and resonate with individuals for years to come.
At SQN we have experience in sponsorship property selection, contract negotiation, partner activation, and sponsorship evaluation. As industry experts we are here to make life easier for you. Sponsorship doesn’t need to be daunting; it can be a powerful tool in helping you to achieve your marketing objectives while ensuring a return on your investment. To find out more about the power of sponsorship, and how SQN can help you to extract the full potential of a partnership, please click here.