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Sponsorship as a way to market your brand

June, 2023

Erica Jones, Account Director at Kent-based PR, marketing and public affairs agency Maxim looks at an alternative way of promoting your business.

In simple terms, marketing involves spending money to tell people you’re great, while public relations involves spending money to gradually encourage them to decide you’re great, but what about a middle ground?

Sponsorship is a simple, effective way of finding that middle ground. You pay an agreed fee for an agreed level of promotion – and usually that promotion takes place over a period of time.

Sports team

For example, you sponsor the kit of a sports team so your logo appears on their tops for the season. Or you sponsor an event so your logo appears in all the publicity material before and during the event (corporate or community). Maybe you choose a thing instead, perhaps an exhibit at a museum, refurbishment of a town centre statue or even an award or prize of some kind.

All of these examples involve connecting your organisation with a positive thing, effectively marketing your brand and – hopefully – generating warm, fuzzy feelings about you (otherwise known as building up good public relations).

It really is that simple.

Unless you’d like to do more and maximise the benefit of your sponsorship.

Maximum involvement

For the sports team, you may wish to visit one of their games and meet the team. Or perhaps you’d want to give away a raffle prize for a fundraiser, or maybe provide flags, pens or other merchandise for one of their community days. Some of that involves additional expense, but attendance is really just a time investment, as well as potentially being a fun experience for you.

Event sponsorship can involve a little more thought for the “doing more”, because it depends what you’re supporting. For a corporate event you might wish to attend to meet participants and benefit from the networking opportunity. If you’re sponsoring an award, you’ll perhaps attend the ceremony and present the award, meeting finalists and other sponsors. At the (Maxim-organised) Kent Press & Broadcast Awards, category sponsors get to make connections with each other and meet shortlisted journalists. Such networking has then resulted in sponsors being called upon to offer professional comment when their field of expertise ends up in the news – something we consider a more long-term benefit.

A community event could see you accept the offer of tickets to watch (or join in) the activity (which depending on numbers could double up as a teambuilding day out of the office). Freebies can be great for these too, for instance giving out branded hats or sunglasses for an outdoor event and enjoying a sea of your branding milling around a park. Throw in a competition for the best selfie wearing your hat and your sponsorship expands beyond the event and into the outside world.

Share it

It goes without saying that sharing on social media, putting photos in your own publicity material, or simply telling people about your sponsorship commitment, also shouldn’t be missed, because if you’re sponsoring a thing you should do your bit to make sure the message of your support gets out there.

So how do you decide what to sponsor? I’m afraid that answer’s as long as a piece of string, but if you’ve heard of an organisation, event or thing you think of in a positive light and it aligns with your brand values, give them a call. There’s no commitment when you make an enquiry, and if they are unable to accept your support, they may be able to point you in the direction of a similar organisation that can.

This article originally appeared in Kent Director.

Erica Jones - Account Director

Erica Jones

Maxim / Account Director

posted in: advice, marketing, public relations,

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