Harnessing the Power of Passion

We’ve all been there. Jumping out of our seats when a goal is scored or arms aloft in the front row at a gig. Whether it’s Manchester or Drogheda United, U2 or Beyoncé, our passions give us the highs and lows that we talk about for years. Harnessing the power of this passion is what makes sponsorship so effective. At Livewire, we believe that sponsorship, when managed properly, is the most powerful marketing tool; that is why our strategies are based on thorough research, brilliant activation and rigorous evaluation.

It is not surprising that many of the Ireland’s most successful companies have strong sponsorship programmes. In many cases these sponsorships are well-known associations that resonate with Irish consumers across sports, media and the arts. In other cases, sponsorship plays a more subtle role in addressing business needs such as staff retention or community engagement. In every case however, sponsorship is employed to establish credible connections with people – be they employees, trade customers or consumers. It is this flexibility that enables sponsorship to address a multitude of business needs.

The power of sponsorship

Traditionally, sponsorship was used as a ‘badging exercise’ with objectives based on exposure and awareness. These days, digital and social media have created opportunities for sponsors to engage their consumer base at different touchpoints, to address a variety of needs. For example sponsors are now better equipped to leverage their sponsorship to drive brand affinity or prevent churn. This is rich territory full of benefits, however, it must be carefully managed. The most impactful sponsorship strategies place sponsors in the fans’ realm, not the other way around.

Sponsors increasingly seek meaningful engagement with consumers and other stakeholder groups. For example, Diageo used its Jonnie Walker partnership with Formula One to promote responsible drinking.

Similarly, luxury watchmaker, Hublot, uses sponsorship to shine a light on its brand values; in 2008 the brand gave away all of its UEFA signage to a non-profit working to eradicate racism in football.

Closer to home, Kerry Group has sponsored Kerry GAA for over 20 years. Today, the partnership stretches deep into the local community with initiatives such as the development of a GAA centre of excellence and associated facilities.

Associating with peoples’ passions, gives sponsors a unique opportunity to invest in content creation. One of the greatest assets sponsorship provides is access; for example, access to behind the scenes content or access to athletes. For its sponsorship of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Adidas spent more on digital content than TV advertising.

Common Issues

Despite the obvious benefits of investing in sponsorship, there remain four common, re-occuring, issues within the industry.

  • Firstly; too often sponsors enter sponsorships with no clear strategy. In fact, many sponsorships exist with no strategy at all.
  • Secondly; the price tag of a property is the primary focus of attention without an activation and a measurement budget being part of the upfront conversation.
  • Thirdly; measurement continues to be an afterthought, and attributing a valid figure to the return on sponsorship investment remains a challenge.
  • Fourthly; often there is a lack of clarity, respect or commercial understanding between stakeholders in the sponsorship.

What we can do

At Livewire, we guide clients through every stage of the sponsorship process, specifically to avoid the challenges listed above. We understand our clients’ business objectives and how sponsorship can help to achieve those objectives.

More often than not it takes invention and a degree of risk, backed by solid research, to produce the best sponsorship outcomes. Our agile and smart approach helps clients to move away from relying on brand exposure to capitlising on the moments when the ball hits the back of the net or Lady Gaga sets foot on stage.

This includes working closely with our colleagues in Core Media, Ireland’s largest communications group, and with our global network, to provide the most comprehensive sponsorship consultancy in Ireland.

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