The shipping and logistics category has come a long way in how it activates sponsorship. 

While UPS, DHL and other companies continue to use sponsorship to demonstrate their expertise in action and gain business from sponsored properties, they are increasingly using social media and other new platforms to deliver their message.

Case in point: UPS last year activated the NCAA with the UPS Team Performance Index. The index—created in conjunction with sports data and technology company STATS LLC—measured offense, defense and special teams for all 120 NCAA Division I college football teams.   

“We developed the index to showcase high-performing teams. That’s the kind of business that we run and the kind of message that we want to send,” said J.W. Cannon, UPS’s manager of sponsorships and events.

The company this year expanded the platform to men’s and women’s college basketball.

UPS also is placing more focus on storytelling. For example, the company last year leveraged its status as the official logistics partner of the Pac-12 Football Championship as a platform to tell the story of how it successfully shipped TV production and other equipment to the game on short notice.

The Pac-12 chose the location of the inaugural game based on the division champion with the best overall record.

“A system where the number one team gets the game can create logistical challenges, which it did. We were part of the solution, and we used the partnership to tell a creative story that customers and potential customers were interested in,” said Cannon.

UPS shared the story via online and social media, he said.

Similarly, DHL this year is placing more focus on social media activation. That includes capturing behind-the-scenes content from Formula One and Fashion Week events for its Facebook page and Youtube channel.