Sponsorships are the financial or in-kind support of activities. Businesses often sponsor community-based sporting teams to reach specific business goals and increase their competitive advantage.
Though sponsorship is a form of marketing, it is different to advertising which attempts to persuade customers to make purchases by sharing specific messages about a product or company.
Sponsorships, on the other hand, do not directly promote your company or products. Instead, your company pays to support a specific event that your customers care about. Your business is then associated with the event by customers, attendees, and the media.
Local causes such as sports teams offer more limited places for your branding and products, but they also allow you to reach a specific local audience. For example, fewer people will see your logo on the backs of Junior Football Team uniforms than at a national trade show. However, if your customers are all local and have kids on our team, that is the best place to be seen by your ideal audience.
In all its forms, sponsorships allow you to reach targeted niche markets without the expense and uncertainty associated with traditional advertising. Strategic sponsorships can help your business meet multiple marketing goals at once.
- Shape consumer attitudes. Sponsoring events that your customers care about creates positive feelings about your brand. If customers feel you care about the same things they do, they are more likely to have a positive attitude toward your company.
- Build brand awareness. Sponsorships with in-kind products are often cheaper than traditional advertising. If you choose your events carefully, it guarantees you an audience that needs your products, unlike traditional media ads, which can be seen by anyone. For example, a sport store owner who provides branded gear for our teams knows their brand’s name will be seen in action repeatedly by their target customers.
- Drive sales. Driving sales goes hand-in-hand with brand awareness, and many sponsorship opportunities allow you to introduce consumers to your product in a way that encourages them to make a purchase.
- Increase reach. Strategic sponsorship encourages word-of-mouth marketing. Ideally, people who attend a community football match that you sponsor will have a positive interaction with your brand and continue to talk about your service or product. If your company’s name is on the club’s promotional materials, including emails and advertisements, you have an additional opportunity to reach more customers.
- Differentiate yourself from competitors. Sponsoring a community football club, especially an exclusive sponsorship, sets you apart from your competitors by tying you to something positive in consumers’ minds. This tactic is particularly helpful if your competitor has a larger ad budget than your company.
- Take on a “corporate citizen” role. Not all sponsorships have to focus on industry events. Sponsoring local sports teams puts you in the role of a good neighbour or a corporation with a conscience. Customers are more likely to perceive you as contributing to their community, which creates goodwill and positive associations with your brand.