Corporate sponsorship is an increasingly popular venture amongst businesses looking to boost their brand visibility in front of their key audiences. From offering funding to providing products and services, sponsors can support worthwhile organisations, teams or events whilst gaining significant business exposure themselves in return.
Having recently sponsored Generation Gap, a team of rowers taking on a 3,000-mile rowing challenge across the Atlantic, by providing PR and marketing support, the V Formation team shares the benefits of corporate sponsorship and explains why we decided to lend our support to team Generation Gap this year.
In general terms, corporate sponsorship is a form of marketing in which a business pays for the right, either financially or through providing its services, to be associated with a project, program, event, organisation or charity. Businesses typically sponsor entities that are well aligned with their own services and relevant to their marketing goals.
Some of the many benefits of corporate sponsorship include:
Increases brand visibility
In a world where it is now far more difficult to get out and about, sponsorship is an excellent way to amplify the public profile of a brand in a relatively cost-effective manner. Generally speaking, the bigger the event or organisation being sponsored, the greater visibility achieved, though some smaller and focused regional or local sponsorship opportunities still have potential to add real value.
There are several questions worth considering before diving into any sponsorship opportunity. Will the opportunity receive significant media interest and coverage, in print, online and broadcast press? Will there be physical promotion that showcases your logo or branding, such as roller banners? Is whoever you are sponsoring active on social media? If so, how big a following do they have? Is the organisation or event you are sponsoring aligned with your own culture and values? The answers to these questions will help establish the level of awareness that will likely be achieved through the sponsorship, which in turn can help determine if it is worthwhile.
Broadens your competitive edge
In saturated markets, it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. Sponsorship is a good way to help businesses stand out from their competitors. Supporting charities, events or projects can positively impact consumer perception and result in customers making a favourable association with a brand. When they’re looking for a service or to make a purchase, this association could be the deciding factor in persuading them to choose one business over its competition.
Helps you reach your target audiences
Sponsoring an aligned charity or event that is likely to attract ideal clients will expose brands to their target market and provide businesses with the opportunity to showcase their products and services to these new and larger audiences.
Far more than just logos and branding, sponsorship is an opportunity for businesses to associate their brand with something of relevance. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that any sponsorship opportunity is part of a focused strategy; it should always be in line with business objectives and it should always be relevant to the business.
Return on investment
Though it can be tricky to measure the success of sponsorship, some opportunities promise specific returns. Thinking carefully about what return on your investment you are looking for is essential at the outset. For instance, with conference sponsorship you may be looking to broaden your network and engage with potential new customers, or simply to raise awareness of your brand within a given market.
As a sponsor, it is important to maximise your investment and this will require some proactive effort from you. For example, some agreements involve a level of promotion of sponsors by the event organisers in the days leading to the event as well as in the days following it. This will primarily be achieved online through tagging sponsors in social media posts, allowing sponsors to submit a post on the event or company website, PR or mentioning sponsors in email newsletters.
Sponsorship in action
Sponsorship is also a great way to throw your support behind clients or friends and their charitable efforts. When Roger Staniforth, Head of Group Finance at Nova Laboratories, told V Formation that he planned to take part in the 2020 Talisker Whisky Challenge alongside his daughter Brittany Staniforth and her two friends Victoria Mico Egea and Edward Raymont, we knew we wanted to get involved.
Over the last 12 months, V Formation has been providing PR support to the team, named Generation Gap in recognition of the 31-year age gap between its oldest and youngest members, as they take on the 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, in aid of Rural Assistance Nepal, Women’s Aid, Royal Marines Charity and Mind.
“V Formation has worked with Roger and the Nova team for a number of years now. As soon as he told us about the challenge, we knew we wanted to support the team in whatever way we could and help them raise as much money as possible,” explains V Formation Director, Sue Carr.
“Through providing Generation Gap with a year-long PR programme involving liaison with press and media across online, print and broadcast, V Formation has helped get the Generation Gap name out across a number of platforms, including the Leicester Mercury, Love Business East Midlands, Swindon Link, Yorkshire Post, The Wave and BBC Radio Leicester.
“We’re so pleased to have played a small part in the team’s incredible journey by giving our time in return for sponsorship, and the V team has loved working on such a meaningful and exciting project.”
In return for our PR support, the V Formation logo is featured on the side of the team’s boat, Mandy, that is currently taking them across the Atlantic. Images of the boat have been shared on numerous news and social media platforms, helping the V Formation brand to reach new and larger audiences.