We believe that sponsorship, when managed properly, is the most powerful marketing tool. This is because it can engage, in deeper ways, with the audience and provide greater flexibility for implementing new ideas. Strategies need to be based on great insights and exceptional execution. Before all of this, there is one key ingredient that cannot be under estimated and that is what we call ‘The People Factor’, the relationship between sponsors and rights holders. In our view, there is a direct correlation between the success of a sponsorship and the quality of this relationship. The benefits can be exponential when these relationships are prioritised and managed expertly.

We conducted in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in the Irish sponsorship industry. The aim was to understand how they manage their relationships and pass on the learnings to the industry. We found out that no matter the size of the sponsorship, both parties placed great importance on the quality of these personal relationships. However, many admitted to often feeling frustrated about the lack of clarity of what a sponsor seeks to achieve and what a property can deliver. We believe the starting point is having regular, upfront conversations, define clear objectives and expectations, promote mutual respect and give genuine recognition to the other’s value.

The best sponsorship relationships are open and collaborative, though in activation, sometimes there is a sense from both parties that the ‘effort’ is all on their side. This can lead to a friction, so both need to build a stronger reciprocal relationship where the commitment is mutual and the effort is equally invested. This leads to greater trust and flexibility which will benefit both. Also to maximise opportunities, the best outcome comes from investing in resources to manage sponsorships, those who take into account the real costs associated with sponsorship (including fee, activation, measurement and the human resource cost) can plan better strategies for delivering on objectives.

At the end of the day, without question, sponsors really value a partner who demonstrates commercial understanding of their business. For rights holders, they value a partner that is a genuine fit for their organisation and for them, the ultimate barometer for a successful relationship is the renewal of the sponsorship. A dedicated sponsorship agency is perfectly positioned to maximise value for both sides and leverage opportunities. At Livewire, we provide a number of tools to help sponsors and rights holders work with greater clarity and understanding.

To request a copy of the full People Factor Report please email info@livewire.ie