Having just hung up with the latest reporter doing their homework for post-Copenhagen-announcement stories, it occurs to me that I should share with readers of this blog first the ideas that may make it into general media publications later this week.
Most of the interviewers calling IEG are from stateside media wanting to know if Chicago 2016’s sponsorship revenue projections of $1.8 billion are achievable should the IOC award the games to the Windy City.
My response has been that although Chicago faces the largest challenge because it set its sponsorship goals much higher than the other bid cities, whichever contender ends up as the 2016 host (and I do hope it is my city) will have to change the way we think about Olympic Games sponsorship.
Tough times call for drastic measures. Unquestionably the tough economy has led pro sports leagues and teams to make difficult decisions regarding both their brand and their bottom line. Although the practice was once uniformly (no pun intended) considered taboo stateside, the NBA and NFL have carved out an additional revenue opportunity for their teams by allowing them to sell sponsorship to their practice jerseys.
In one recent week, the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns, as well as the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, signed deals providing sponsors the rights to their practice jerseys and coaches’ apparel.
Although these deals have created quite a buzz in the sports business world, I question what relevance (past the initial media coverage/shock value) these sponsorships will have with sports fans and consumers.
“Generic” might be having a good run in pharmacies and grocery stores right now, but hotels are looking for assets that differentiate them from the guy down the street.
An article in Monday’s The Wise Marketer highlights a recent study of hotel rewards programs, conducted by Razor’s Edge Business Intelligence. As most of the chains have run their loyalty programs for many years (some more than two decades), Razor’s Edge is predicting that the programs will “move on from simply adding more partners and more benefits toward developing in whole new directions. . . . such as the creation of sub-clubs that appeal to special interest groups (e.g. sportsmen, sports fans, or bikers) or the addressing of environmental concerns.”
In conversations over the last week—with an association client or two, a group of zoos and aquarium sellers, and a financial services sponsor—the appropriate use of social networks for sponsorship activation has been a hot topic. How do we take sponsorships—those that live primarily off-line and those that have a foot firmly in both worlds—to the social nets?
In keeping with the old mantra of “if one person has the question, probably a lot of people have the question”—here are a few takeaways from those conversations.
The changes in the music and recording business in recent years have generally not been kind to musicians. However, they have created some compelling opportunities for musical artists to partner with corporations to help market singles, albums, tours, etc.
Now, however, along comes R&B artist Riz, who is about to go out on tour in support of his second album, iRIZistible. Riz and his team have come up with their idea of a unique marketing opportunity for corporate America—selling ad space by the square foot on Riz’s 45-foot-long tour bus.
“United we stand, divided we fall.” Words spoken in some form by Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and which many credit to John Dickinson’s “Liberty Song,” published on July 18, 1768, in the Boston Gazette. These words ring as true as ever considering the current economic climate. So, what does this have to do with sponsorship?
Many associations are spending countless hours figuring out how to keep sponsors, and, hopefully, continue to grow their sponsorship programs. Sponsors seem to have less to spend, while associations don’t really have an overwhelming amount of new and different opportunities. Sound familiar? What it means is that as an association, you need to bring new value to the equation.
A reporter contacted us last week for comments on the California State Parks' decision to work with corporate sponsors to keep open as many as 100 parks threatened with closing due to budget cuts. For more information on the program, click here.
It can be tricky to attract and recognize sponsors appropriately in any venue, and green spaces like parks are especially tough to do well. Tough, but by no means impossible. The CA State Parks are not selling naming rights to their green spaces, but will recognize sponsors with “tasteful” signage crediting them with helping to keep the park open. (Source: The Los Angeles Times.) Provided that signage doesn't block any vistas, it should be seen as appropriate acknowledgment of the sponsor's contribution, much like a philanthropic gift would be recognized. That sort of strategic philanthropy may be just the thing for sponsors seeking a low-profile community connection in these sensitive times. more
The Wise Marketer published an article yesterday summarizing findings of a study, conducted by customer loyalty agency Direct Antidote, on how well loyalty programs (e.g., frequent flier miles, points cards, and frequent shopper clubs) are resonating with U.S. consumers. We have come a heck of a long way since the sandwich shop punch card, yet the data shows companies are still not doing enough, as “only 32% of US consumers rated reward programme communications at 8 or higher (on a scale of 1 to 10) in terms of relevance to their personal needs.”
The article and study suggest three solutions: more
IEG has written about—and recommended to certain consulting clients—the idea of properties teaming up to create a better offer for sponsors, whether that be a larger package of rights and benefits, an expanded—or more diverse—audience, broader geographic reach, etc.
Typically, this has been advised for smaller properties, many of whom wouldn’t have robust enough benefits or audience numbers to attract significant sponsor interest on their own. But with larger properties facing unforeseen revenue challenges, perhaps some of them should give the two-properties-are-better-then-one idea a try.
While many festivals, sports teams and other types of events have long had informal relationships with other properties, the economy has prompted more property-to-property collaboration than ever before.
Property-to-property relationships can either be full-blown sponsorships, or more informal “friend of the festival” types of partnerships.
Those types of relationships can often help properties promote their events to new audiences or generate business-building opportunities.