National Business Awards Q&A with Jackie Fast, Slingshot Sponsorship

If you haven’t heard yet, we’ve been nominated for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award at the prestigious National Business Awards (full press release).  As part of our nomination, we’ve also been featured in Outsource Magazine with a bit of a Q&A.  The Q&A outlines exactly how Slingshot Sponsorship is truly helping organisations increase their profitability, why innovation is key for us and our industry, whether we think the definition of partnership in a business sense is evolving, and what we think is the perfect client.

You can read some of our answers below, but the full article can be found here.

 

Excerpt from Outsource Magazine:

O: When a buy-side organisation engages with a supplier, how far do you think it transfers responsibility for innovation?

JF: This is a topic much debated at the moment as historically the brand was always responsible for the activation. However, it is in both parties’ interests to actively engage and ensure that the programme, event, or campaign is successful for the audience. Therefore, I would strongly argue that the onus is placed on the rights holder side to ensure that activation falls in line with the overall business strategy to help align objectives.

O: Do you think the very definition of partnership, in a business sense, is evolving and if so how?

JF: The output of partnership is still the same; however, the input of partnerships is radically changing, which is why there are discrepancies around definitions of what sponsorship or partnership is. Sponsorship makes marketing work harder and always has; however, who is involved in that partnership is different now through the advance of digital technology. This will inevitably change our industry.

O: What’s your definition of the perfect client?

JF: A client who understands their business and their reason for bringing on partnerships beyond the financial. A client who isn’t about just selling the logo.

Partnerships can deliver far beyond the investment of rights. When clients understand this implication and its potential, we then have the ability to create sponsorships that deliver value well beyond expectations.

Thatcham to Sponsor new ‘Safety’ Category at 2015 What Car? Awards

Thatcham Research, the UK insurers’ automotive research centre, has announced its involvement in the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2015, as a sponsor of the newly introduced ‘Safety’ category.

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards are the most coveted accolades in the automotive industry. The Awards recognise cars that meet the highest standards in their sector after being put through the toughest tests by the most experienced team in the business.

As the UK’s only Euro NCAP accredited crash test centre and pioneers of the Euro NCAP and insurance industry’s testing criteria for Autonomous Emergency Braking technology, Thatcham has established an unrivalled reputation in the field of vehicle safety. The centre is therefore a natural choice to put its first-hand experience and research knowledge into recognising and rewarding the efforts made by vehicle manufacturers in this important area.

“With the introduction of numerous driver assistance and semi-autonomous vehicle safety technologies, manufacturers have really pushed the boundaries of possibility in recent years and there’s certainly more to come.” said Thatcham’s Chief Executive Peter Shaw. “It’s hugely exciting to be involved in this new award category and one which we truly believe can have a major influence on consumers’ future purchasing decisions.”

What Car? publishing director Chris Lowe said: “We are delighted to have Thatcham involved with the Safety Category at this year’s What Car? Awards.  This is a brand new category for What Car? and has been made possible through the support of Thatcham and their expertise in safety, security and crash repair.  We look forward to working with them and delivering the best What Car? Awards yet.”

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards event is attended by more than 1,400 leading industry figureheads alongside the most influential motoring correspondents from the wider media.

The event is to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on January 7, 2015. 

This deal was brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship

London Twenty What? Brands opt for sponsorship flings as opposed to the ball and chain

Whatever happened to legacy? During the 2012 London Olympics we could scarcely move for the word, and in regards to sponsorship there is very little evidence of it. Since 2012 there have been four major global sporting events and yet still very few campaigns follow on after the life of an event. And why not?

As Lucien Boyer explains, the buzz of an event doesn’t last forever and as such brands should look to the long term if they want their partnership to provide an effective return, rather than being accused of ‘cashing in’. Sponsorship should be seen as a marriage combining the event and brand strategy in a long-term partnership, this sets a clear direction for a company’s future marketing, allowing the brand to develop a strong message and engage with the target audience consistently over time.

The London Olympics and subsequent 5 years offered a plethora of global athletic events all located within the UK; first London 2012, now the Glasgow 2014 Games, and soon to follow the London 2017 World Athletic Championships (not to mention Team GB competing at Rio 2016). If a brand had wanted to align themselves with the values of athletics and use global sport as a means to engage the audience (UK or abroad) there might rarely have been a better opportunity.

Sainsbury’s serves as a prime example in delivering sponsorship this way. Having sponsored the 2012 Paralympic games to great effect (as the only ‘big four’ supermarket to make gains in market share during this period posting a 5.6% increase YOY), Sainsbury’s didn’t stop there. They finalised an agreement to partner with the British Paralympic Association for the next four years and also to sponsor the British Athletics Major Event series, including the Anniversary Games and British Grand Prix in August. In addition to this they launched a one million pound scheme to provide coaching and facilities to help disabled children lead more active lives providing an ROI that “will not just be measured in pure marketing terms.

So having returned this week from a jaunt north of the boarder to indulge in the Commonwealth Games, I couldn’t help but hear that word again on everyone’s lips. One of Glasgow’s major sponsors SSE is looking to change this. As an Official Partner to the games, SSE used the GoGlasgow leaderboard to engage on Twitter and experientially at the Green Zone. Furthermore, they had a number of brand ambassadors from the home counties, provided long term naming rights for the SSE Hydro (hosting the netball and gymnastics), and are looking to continue the long term effects by increasing the funding for the SSE Next Generation programme giving support to aspiring athletes in the UK.

Only time will tell with how much vigour brands will continue to engage now the curtain has closed on Glasgow. Who knows, come Rio 2016 perhaps the word ‘legado’ will never even be uttered.

 

 

How To Get Sponsors Working For Your Business

The sponsorship industry is changing.  The opportunities are endless and ways of engaging are ever increasing.  And yet, the sponsorship industry still remains fairly static.  Since inception, the typical transaction includes rights holders trading ‘space’ to sponsors for money.  Everyone seems pretty happy.  But is everyone getting the most out of the relationship?  With ROI crucial to good business, I’d question whether everyone is getting as much return for the investment that is being put into the sponsorships created.

But money talks and quite rightly, rights holders utilise sponsorship to drive revenue.  However, sponsorship can do so much more.  When done cleverly, sponsorship can open business avenues and new profit centres rights holders wouldn’t have been able to create by themselves.

But it needs a rights holder who is willing to look at the bigger picture with an ambition to think outside of the box commercially.

Rather than just chasing money for logo placement, rights holders need to identify what their ideal ambition is for incorporating sponsorship revenue within their commercial objectives.  For many B2B events, it’s about attracting leading consumer brand names to their event.  For music festivals, it’s about differentiation and adding value to the festival experience.  For sport, it’s getting fans to engage with the team beyond the pitch.  Sponsorship does all these things, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Many rights holders fail to realise that they have to consider their sponsorship ambitions in a series of steps.  Just like growing any business, in order to reach the end goal there are milestones of achievement – each one built upon success of the other.  A good sponsorship strategy should be developed in the same way – with the long view in mind including phases that drive to deliver objectives beyond the financial.

And even if money really is the only objective (although if you dig deep enough, this is rarely the case), you need to create phases which will allow you to continue building value in order to increase revenue year on year.

So how do you go about building a sponsorship strategy that does all this and more?

  1. Figure out if you have ambitions beyond money.  And if you do, find out if sponsorship can help you reach them.
  2. If you cannot offer a strong proposition to the sponsors you really want, carve out areas of rights that you can provide on a reduced rights fee or for free while still maintaining your core sponsors.  This allows you to negotiate with the right sponsors that can deliver on some of your long-term ambitions while still ensuring your financial targets can be met by the usual suspects.
  3. Talk with your current sponsors about your ambitions and find out how they can play a role in achieving them.
  4. Partner with sponsors whose long-term goals and objectives are aligned with your own.
  5. Stop thinking transactional.  Get creative.

 

Sir Bradley Reminds Us It’s About More Than A Logo

Sir Bradley Wiggins’ comments on the eve of the Commonwealth Games that the Emirates branding on the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow might have left Sir Chris feeling a little “done over”.

For those of us in the sponsorship industry though, Wiggins’ comments provided another reminder of just how important it is for sponsors to clearly demonstrate the value they’re adding to an event.

For Emirates, who have activated their sponsorship pre-event by spreading the excitement of the Games across the Commonwealth through the Queen’s Baton Relay and unveiled a new Emirates Lounge at Glasgow Airport just in time for the Games, it will be interesting to see how the airline actively engages audiences now the Games are underway.
The recent World Cup in Brazil pushed digital and brand engagement to the fore and further supported the premise that effective sponsorship is more than just a collection of logos and branding at an event. Sponsorship should help to actively engage with consumers allowing the audience to interact and create an emotional tie with a brand.

We’ve seen major brands and sponsors bend-over-backwards at recent global sports events to use meaningful and relevant activation to bring their brands as close to the action as possible. Here’s our selection of podium placers from recent global events where engagement was king.

P&G – ‘Thank You Mom’ (London 2012 & Sochi 2014)

To much critical acclaim P&G executed a clearly defined and emotionally charged message through an integrated “Thank You Mom” campaign, encompassing a host of digital channels, athlete ambassadors including the likes of Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis-Hill and the release of an app allowing over 50,000 of us to say thank you to mum too!

Beats – London 2012

Beats was just one of a number of  brands who managed, temporarily at least, to evade the brand police and creatively engage with audiences at London 2012 without sponsoring the event. Not only supplying (what seemed like) every athlete with a custom pair of Beats, they also created a pop-up space in Shoreditch House allowing 4,000 people including Olympic athletes from all over the globe to interact with the brand, watch the Games and make use of a photo booth which was used to generate content for poster shots later in the campaign.

Budweiser – ‘Rise as One’ (FIFA World Cup 2014)

Budweiser made sure to engage with its audience whether they were in Brazil or not.  Fans from all over the globe were encouraged to get involved via Twitter with users urged to tap #ManoftheMatch tweets from @FIFAcom which generated Budweiser branded player photos and a  tweet and vote mechanic. Many fans lucky enough to make the trip to Brazil were greeted with rewards in the form of the Budweiser Hotel which hosted parties and events throughout the tournament and acted as a hub for over 3000 satellite Budweiser parties all around the world.

With 1.5 billion people tuning in to the Commonwealth Games let’s hope brands involved make it equally engaging!

Why Lifestyle Brands Are Getting It Right

Our unique take on sponsorship has enabled us to work with some fantastic lifestyle brands such as Red Stripe, Majestic Athletic, Supreme Being, Monster Energy, Spotify, and New Era who are truly maximising the consumer shift towards culture brands.  In terms of sponsorship, these brands are getting it right.  They truly understand their consumer, their market, and most importantly understand how utilising effective sponsorship platforms make their marketing budgets work harder – often because their budgets are a fraction of their rivalling high street retail competitors who are vying for the same audience.

But what makes them different and why should you care?

It all boils down to engagement.  Lifestyle brands tend to have more success in engaging their market better than many other retailers.  They also know where to engage them and how to engage them.  If engagement is what brands are after because engagement sells, then this surely is something to take notice of rather than being complacent on your own brand image – even if you do only sell shoe inserts.

So here is my take on why lifestyle brands are getting it right:

  1. Challenged to be creative – smaller budgets mean you have to really think about what you are doing with them.  When lifestyle brands sponsor something, they maximise every single opportunity and asset they purchase ensuring nothing is missed.
  2. Commercially creative teams – lifestyle brands tend to have teams where everyone does a bit of everything, rather than job roles split up.  This forces individuals to be both creative and commercial – enabling people to fully understand how marketing activity drives sales, which is crucial.
  3. They are their target market – not only do they know their audience, they themselves tend to be active and avid advocates of the brand.  This saves focus groups, countless surveys, and allows them to tap into consumer insight easily.

If you want to see what we’ve done with Majestic Athletic, click here for the case study.

Slingshot Sponsorship Announced as National Business Awards Finalist for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award

Britain’s leading businesses, business leaders and social enterprises have today been revealed as finalists for the 2014 National Business Awards and Slingshot Sponsorship is amongst them.

Slingshot Sponsorship has been shortlisted for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award – recognising organisations that help businesses to increase profitability by improving efficiency, developing talent and implementing innovation.  This award recognises the impact of ‘enablers’ that offer value beyond services.

Commenting on the Slingshot Sponsorship award entry, Judge Simon Feary, CEO, Chartered Quality Institute said:

“Slingshot has positioned itself to address a niche market overlooked by the main providers. To do that profitably and sustainably, especially within the small business-low margin segment you really have to know your market. Small beginnings but the growth is there suggesting they have their model right.”

This year’s shortlisted businesses cover activities as diverse as retail, technology, men’s grooming products, telecoms, construction, advertising, entertainment, and publishing. Of the businesses shortlisted, 24% turnover under £5m, 26% turnover between £5m and £25m, 15% over a billion and 10% not for profit organisations. The smallest business recognised has a turnover of just £23k with the largest reaching £20 billion. Finalists collectively employ over 850,000 people, the smallest has just one member of staff while the largest employs around 165,000 people globally.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented:

“Having our business model recognised as a business enabler at the National Business Awards opens up a world of opportunity for our agency proposition beyond our typical market of sponsorship and marketing professionals.  As we champion the value of commercialisation in marketing, it is an honour to be recognised against some fierce competition in this category – especially from those organisations in the financial industry.”

Visit The National Business Awards for a full list of all finalists and to attend the event.

 

App-led Sponsorship

On Wednesday, Facebook embarked upon its latest attempt to corner the social media market with the launch of the aptly named Slingshot app.  To many, the launch was a response to Facebook’s failed bid for rival and burgeoning app Snapchat – an instant messaging app for sharing photos and videos with friends.

As of May of this year, users were sending up to 700 million photos and videos per day, while Snapchat Stories content was being viewed 50 million times per day.  The recent surge in apps such as these has engendered new opportunities for sponsors to develop more creative and diverse social media strategies. Yet despite the overwhelming usage of apps such as Snapchat, the platform is still relatively untouched by brands – as such, here is an overview of recent campaigns using these platforms.

Diet Coke & Taylor Swift

Last year, Diet Coke used the app as part of its sponsorship of Taylor Swift’s Red Tour. People who subscribed to Diet Coke’s virtual scavenger hunt received one picture a day for five days. Each picture revealed clues regarding location of that day’s item and those who collected all five items won a free concert ticket. Due to the success of this campaign, Swift was able to directly engage with Swift’s audience on a global scale.

Heineken & Coachella

More recently Heineken, through their sponsorship of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, created a Snapchat account called HeinekenSnapWho. Users received clues throughout the weekend about who would be performing and those who responded with the correct answer would get an early confirmation from Heineken.

Both of these activations demonstrate the extensive opportunity available for brands to generate their own content through these apps.  Furthermore, over two thirds of Snapchat’s 60 million users are mostly under the age of 25 meaning that Snapchat offers access to a very young demographic. This explains why Audi, through their sponsorship of Pretty Little Liars, have been Snapchatting exclusive content to users as it allows them to integrate their brand with their target demographic.

Vine

Of course, Snapchat isn’t the only app out there offering a platform for brands to get creative. Twitter’s video sharing service, Vine, has also attracted a number of sponsors due to the fact that the prerequisite of any viral video on Vine is creativity. In an article on digitaltrends.com, Meagan Cignoli, a Vine creator with over 300,000 followers, says that she is regularly courted by sponsors. Previous sponsorship deals having been agreed with Nike, Lowes and Rite Aid, allowing both the sponsors more social media coverage whilst she’s been able to extend the reach and authority of her own name by attaching herself to these brands. Therefore a ‘symbiotic relationship was created between a viral-hungry sponsor and Vine content creator’.

Vine has approximately 40 million users, 20 million less than Snapchat, however what they both share is a requirement for sponsors to be creative with their strategies. It is through apps such as these that sponsorship becomes so much more than just about the logo with more emphasis placed on integration, user generation and brand led content.

Perception Is Everything

Twelve Tomas Skuhravy’s, nine Hossam Hassan’s but not a single Steve Hodge… it was the biggest problem on my plate in the spring of 1990 and my first foray into World Cup sticker collecting.

Fast forward 25 years and buying and swapping Panini stickers is still a ritual for young supporters and misty-eyed adults.

(It’s also a source of embarrassment for some who should know better… )

So I was intrigued to read that fans have been angered in the run up to this year’s tournament in Brazil by the inclusion of stickers from Official FIFA World Cup sponsors in some markets. This time around, in amongst the shinies, teams, players and stadia, fans will need to unearth Coca Cola, adidas and VISA to complete their prized collections.

The backlash from fans is unsurprising and demonstrates that one of sponsorship’s basic principles  – putting the needs of target audiences ahead of the brand’s – is still too often overlooked.

Panini recently defended the decision by saying: “Assigning cards to the World Cup’s global sponsors allowed the free distribution of more than 6 million albums worldwide”

I’ve no doubt this is true and the message is well-intentioned but much like the argument that there would be no Olympic Games without the sponsors it’s unlikely to resonate with the public. Instead the underlying message seems to be that fans should simply tolerate brands in return for free stuff.

Sponsorship is so much more than a trade-off that asks audiences to begrudginly accept the involvement of brands in the things they love. Savvy brands recognise sponsorship offers a far more powerful platform – one that can engage fans in two-way dialogue, build relationships with target audiences and deliver positive brand and event experiences.

Sponsors wanting to get involved might have considered other avenues such as:

  • bringing fans together through a virtual swap shop
  • tying sticker giveaways and prizes into product promotions
  • helping to personalise the experience and incentivise collectors through the Panini app
  • finding creative ways to join the conversation through the #gotgotneed hashtag

Making the most of sponsorship means treading very carefully, especially when intruding on cherished traditions. It means understanding your audiences and doing much more than pushing your brand in front of them.

It means adding value.

Hill Dickinson strikes golden deal with GB Taekwondo

Leading international law firm Hill Dickinson has been appointed the official legal services supplier to GB Taekwondo.  Under the three year deal the firm will work with GB Taekwondo coaches and staff in delivering the GB Taekwondo world class performance programme and athletes, such as Olympic gold medal winner Jade Jones, training towards success at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

As well as providing legal advice and services, the partnership between Hill Dickinson and GB Taekwondo will see both organisations working closely on grassroots CSR campaigns to benefit schools and local communities across the Northwest.

The announcement comes on the back of GB Taekwondo’s best ever finish at the recent European Championships with a haul of seven medals. Three additional medals were also won this month at the Swiss Open.

“Our preparations on the road to Rio are looking very promising after strong performances at the World Grand Prix last December and more recently at the European Championships.  We are delighted that Hill Dickinson are now on-board as a partner to GB Taekwondo to support us on the journey,” said Steve Flynn, GB Taekwondo operations director.

GB Taekwondo athletes such as Jade Jones, Lutalo Muhammad, Mahama Cho and Asia Bailey train hard on the performance programme, but they also spend considerable time in local communities and schools, helping to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles.

Geraldine Ryan, Head of Hill Dickinson’s Manchester office, said this was an important part of their work with GB Taekwondo. “We are delighted to be working with such a successful British Olympic team, and helping them to prepare for Rio 2016.  Before Rio, however, there is a lot of work to do right here on our doorstep. Being based in Manchester, we are looking forward to partnering with GB Taekwondo in giving something back to the communities across the Northwest.”

Hill Dickinson will be providing a wide range of legal support to GB Taekwondo and the firm’s specialist sports team will also be advising individual athletes on the run up to the Olympic Games in 2016.

Ian Gillis, who heads up the Manchester corporate team at Hill Dickinson and who is the primary point of contact with GB Taekwondo, commented:

“Businesses can learn many lessons from high performance athletes, particularly martial artists, such as focus, strategy and discipline. I also have a personal interest in the partnership as I hold a fourth dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. I hope our three year relationship with GB Taekwondo brings success to the team and I am excited to be working with such a talented team of coaches and athletes.”

This deal was brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship.

Page 1 of 2512345...1020...Last »