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A Rant on Post-Event Fulfillment/Sponsorship Recap Reports

By Carrie Urban Kapraun Jul 16, 2009

After reading Bill Chipps’ recent blog on post-event fulfillment reports, I realized that I had a lot of opinions on what a post-event fulfillment/sponsorship recap report should and shouldn’t be.

I have to be upfront, as a Senior Valuation Analyst, I don’t write fulfillment reports and I don’t typically give a lot of advice on them (I leave that to our expert consulting staff), but as someone who reviews and sorts through boxes and binders of sponsorship information for both properties and sponsors, I have some pretty clear ideas of what types of information I like and what information makes my job easier. Additionally, as an objective third-party, I often hear sponsors’ gripes about their partnerships, which can include complaints about lackluster fulfillment reports. Frankly, sometimes I feel like a sponsorship therapist. Finally, I’ve seen quite a few fulfillment reports, some good and some not so great.

First, I think a fulfillment report should be specific to each sponsor and should include somewhere in the beginning of the report a statement of the sponsor’s objectives, followed by either a few bullet points or paragraphs on how the partnership helped them achive their objectives. This section, in my mind, should highlight some of the unique opportunities provided and how the sponsor was able to tap into those opportunities. It should be high-level and should not simply be a recap of the benefits provided (e.g., Sponsor recognition on 100 banners). That can come later. A better example might be something like this: Sponsor opportunity to showcase large-scale printing capabilities via sponsor printed and branded signage (assuming their objective included showcasing their large-scale printing capabilities). It would be great to include here any introductions or business meetings, either with your property or outside contacts, that you helped facilitate for the sponsor. If you have any results to report, include them here. This is your executive summary.

A helpful tip is to try to obtain from your sponsors any internal activation documents or other information that they have developed around the partnership. Having that information will enhance the information you are able to report by tying together your assets and how the property was able to use them. I know getting these types of documents is sometimes easier said than done.

A possible shift in thinking for fulfillment reports is to focus on the sponsor and not the property. Of course, you’ll want to include information to highlight your property’s successes, demographics, trends, but the sponsorship is really a catalyst to help the sponsor achieve their goals. The sponsorship is a means to an end, a tool for the sponsor. See Dan Kowitz’s blog on Don’t Make Selling Sponsorship Like the Worst Date of Your Life!. This applies to fulfillment reports as well.

To add to that, I think it hurts a property’s credibility if a substantial portion of the recap report is dedicated to “pie-in-the-sky” figures. For example, property X delivered 100 billion impressions. This is pretty meaningless. A few of these are ok, but just not the whole report.

Also, don’t underestimate the usability of well-written, comprehensive contracts. A comprehensive contract can be used as a guide when writing a recap report. Just make sure you have all of the contractual benefits covered and then include any value added benefits.

As someone focused on content and details, some areas where I often find that information is missing or is incomplete include:

  • Research on audience loyalty and interest in your property and particularly your sponsors
  • The amount of broadcast exposure a sponsor receives and the sources of that exposure (if applicable)
  • Details on how the property helped to facilitate co-sponsor networking or other networking opportunities
  • Particulars on sponsor servicing and how the property helped facilitate activation
  • Details on editorial features or recognition that goes beyond simple logo recognition
  • Press coverage that is quantified either in terms of dollars or number of mentions received
  • Details on third-party agreements than can impact a sponsor
  • Daily vehicle traffic reports for signage that is visible from the street
  • Accurate rate-card rates or face values for à la carte advertising and hospitality
  • Specific details on the extent of category exclusivity or ambush marketing

Additionally, as much as possible, try to deliver some version of the report during an in-person meeting, or at the very least, during a conference call. Include their agency if they are involved.

A few final thoughts: don’t cover-up areas where you didn’t deliver. Provide a solution and a brief explanation. Always remember who your audience is and tailor the information to them. Lastly, provide the information in a way that can be easily distributed within an organization.

Anyway, after my long rant, I am prepared for some disagreement and I would love to hear your opinions and your challenges on this topic.

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Comments

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Kimberly Abey 9/4/2009 6:03 PM
Carrie,

First, let me congratulate you on a very well-written 'rant'.

You are correct that it is critical sponsor recaps are customized to each individual sponsor with relevant content, objectives and stats for each sponsor. There are areas that can be general for all sponsors - property stats, forward-looking comments, etc. - but customization is vital for sponsor engagement and renewal.

A little feel-good fluff is fine but it is all about the individual sponsor data, the return on investment, objectives and presenting it in a meaningful and easy-to-understand way. Recapping audio, video and media files, at least for top-tier sponsors, is an important physical facet of the recap presentation as well. Tying the message, imagery and media back to the objectives brings everything 360 degrees.

Recaps are a great way to build the property's brand and honor the sponsor's brand. The recap needs to be as professional, or more professional looking, than any other deliverable. It is what the sponsor keeps, presents to other stakeholders, displays with pride -- or files in a drawer. The recap fulfills a current commitment, but when done well, becomes an investment tool for future sales.