Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Sponsorship is not only a valuable component of any marketing strategy but very often, if leveraged effectively, it provides brands with the opportunity to connect with their consumers in a way that traditional media are unable to do.

Sponsorship offers brands a number of different options, which are determined by the fit between the sponsorship property and the brand, the budget and the brand’s strategy and objectives. For example, a brand can sponsor the broadcast of a particular sporting code on television, a sports team, an event, or an individual who can act as a brand ambassador.

According to Neil Jankelowitz, joint managing director of MSC Sports, the best way to get optimal value from a sponsorship is for the brand to have clear, focused and measurable objectives from the outset for each separate sponsorship campaign. There needs to be buy-in at a senior executive level to get the maximum support for the campaign.

Jankelowitz says there are a number of things to consider before committing a brand to a particular sponsorship. “Understand that for every rand spent securing the sponsorship rights, the brand should have a minimum of a rand to leverage or activate the sponsorship.”

He uses the analogy of buying a car to illustrate his point: “If you were going to buy a car, you would need to ensure first that you had enough money to fill it up with petrol regularly. So, while you may have secured excellent rights to a sponsorship, if you don’t have an activation budget to support it, it is unlikely that you’ll reach the desired outcomes,” he says.

He admits, however, that SA’s recent economic downgrade and the likelihood of the economic situation worsening is a real concern for the sponsorship industry. As interest rates rise, so consumer spending will decrease, and this will certainly affect business performance. He says that in tough economic climates marketing budgets are generally reduced, which will have a knock-on effect for the sponsorship industry.

But he says this also provides an opportunity for brave brands to secure rights at reduced fees, and so is the ideal backdrop for exciting work to be done in the sponsorship space. He cautions that when the economy is tight, it is more vital than ever for brands to work closely with reputable and experienced sponsorship management companies or agencies to ensure they secure the best fit, the best deal and the most effective ways to leverage the sponsorship for maximum brand value.

The big take-out: Sponsorship is a highly effective way for brands to connect with their consumers, provided they have adequate budget to leverage the sponsorship effectively to achieve brand objectives.

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