SponsorshipFrom theory to practice and all the latest trends

Launched August 2009 10 lectures
Ms. Helen Day
Sponsorship Consultant and Head of European Policy, European Sponsorship Association, UK

Sponsorship is one of the fastest growing areas of commercial communications, which has recently been valued at $33.8 billion worldwide spend in 2006, having grown from about $5.6 billion in 1987 (source: IEG). In the past, it has often been mistaken for a philanthropic donation to good causes, or else... read moreit has been seen as a sub-section of advertising.

However, sponsorship is now becoming more clearly understood as a commercial deal between two parties for their mutual benefit, through the funding by a sponsor of a sponsored party to establish an association and exchange of rights with agreed benefits. It is now a highly sophisticated form of commercial communications, which involves direct targeting and long-term involvement in order to achieve specific objectives.

Increasingly, private sector sponsorship has been brought into many aspects of public life, not just in sport, which receives 84 per cent of all sponsorship income (source: TWSM), but also in culture, education, the environment and other community activities, as well as in the newly developed area of media sponsorship (at 5 per cent).

There is widespread acceptance of sponsorship as a standard business practice and recognition that it is a commercial marketing activity which promotes a brand or a corporation’s image to a distinct target audience. In fact, some marketers now refer to their sponsor-led activities as experiential or relationship marketing, due to the direct link it provides to their consumers.

Sponsorship is a very powerful medium that is proving one of the most effective forms of cross-border commercial communication, since it does not necessarily suffer from national or cultural differences. However, as well as incorporating international level high-profile multimedia activities costing millions, sponsorship can also be very effective at grassroots level, directly reaching a local audience at a cost effective price.

As the sponsorship market has grown, so has the methodology for promoting and developing it. There is great flexibility available for sponsors, so that every sponsored event will be uniquely different, both in its objectives and in its delivery. Once a sponsorship has been contracted, there is enormous scope for the sponsor to use it as the theme for its core marketing campaign, and to incorporate it into all its other forms of commercial communications activities, such as advertising, PR and sales promotion.

Additionally, techniques for research and measurement are increasingly used to monitor the effectiveness of sponsorship, and creative campaigns using new concepts are being developed in order to make sponsorships as attractive and effective as possible. Constant analysis is required in order to assess the reach and to ensure value for money, particularly in comparison to other marketing opportunities.

The aim of this series of talks is to provide broad background regarding sponsorship suitable for all-comers, starting from first principles and developing into specific skill areas, as well as giving examples of best practice and implementation through a range of different examples. Sponsorship is a very wide topic, and this series looks at a range of areas including setting up a sponsorship, research and measurement, the legal framework, use of new technologies, implementation methodologies and evaluation techniques.