Blog Post

BREAKING DOWN THE SUB-CATEGORIES TO SPONSORSHIP FIT

By Chris Myers

‘Fit’ impacts the success of every sponsorship.

As much as we put weight behind data, valuations and ROI, the level of fit between a brand and the property, other sponsors and audience matters just as much. In our last blog, we broke down the three main categories of sponsorship fit: Brand to Property, Sponsor to Other Sponsors and Sponsor to Audience. When sponsorship fit exists, it can lead to increased brand enhancement and image transfer between partners 

In this blog, we wanted to dive more deeply into the sub-categories that make up each level of fit.  

Geographical Fit

      • Geographical Fit is arguably the most self-explanatory. Is your sponsor locally based or have a major footprint within the area? Often you see this play out in community events and entitlement deals where a brand can leverage CSR opportunities with a local employee base. Chick-Fil-A is a great example of this. They are based in Atlanta; they are the title sponsor of multiple college football games locally and the College Football Hall of Fame 

Community Fit 

      • This category is one that will continue to grow as millennials and Gen-Z continue to look for CSR/ESR responsibilities from their events. Does the sponsor align with the community’s values and not just someone who is sponsoring for the sake of brand awareness? Are you involving yourself into communities through legacy projects such as new parks, school funding, or other good-will type programs? 

Image Fit 

      • Image fit represents the general impression related to the sponsor or property. Normally, image can elevate a brand or entangle it in controversy with the audience. Elevating sponsors or properties are about wanting to be a part of a partnership that will place you on stage with that partner. An example of controversial brands are the large number of CBD brands entering the sponsorship space. They will have their champions, but also their detractors. Controversial brands can bring properties PR opportunities. If you believe the adage that “Any PR is good PR”a property may want them as a sponsor. However, we say tread lightly.  

Functional Fit 

      • You need a basketball to play basketball. You can’t go racing without tires, oil and gas. Functional Fit is when the actual product is utilized during an event. While this clearly happens in sports and large-scale events, it also plays a major role in B2B sponsorships. For example, Functional Fit is seen frequently at conferences. How often is the signage company who provided all those great directional signs also a proud sponsor of the event?  

Motivational Fit

      • The “why” behind a sponsorship. There are great reasons to engage in sponsorship, including brand awareness and product sales. However, there can be motivation to sponsor something beyond those two (don’t tell that to your CFO though). Cause marketing can play a major role in this category. An excellent example is the relationship between Uber and Goodwill where you could schedule your donation to be picked up by an Uber driver and dropped off at the nearest Goodwill. 

Brand Fit 

      • Brand Fit or Lifestyle Fit as we sometimes like to call it refers to the identity of the sponsor matching the identity of who they are sponsoring. These examples tend to be more obvious in events where the audience is similar in age and income bracketed events such as EDM concerts, tennis, and golf.   

Durational Fit 

      • Not every sponsorship makes sense from day 1. Sometimes, it takes months or years for the property and sponsor to develop fit. Durational Fit is developed by just that, duration. There are times when a fit may not be strong at the onset of an engagement. However, both partners make a strong commitment to create one through a long-term arrangement. When Waste Management became the title sponsor of one of the biggest party events on the PGA Tour, there may not have been an immediate light bulb over the head fit. Other than perhaps a functional fit for providing waste services. But as time has passed, the fit has become more and more clear by the partners creating CSR/ESR programs around waste and expanding their fit beyond functional. After 10 years, they have renewed for another 10 and continue to build on their fit yearly. 

These subcategories can become a checklist to confirm your sponsorship fit.

However, there is no one size fits all to sponsorship fit. Great partnerships can embrace several of the above categories at the same time or be very strong in just one When fit exists between a brand and property partner, it adds an extra level to the sponsorship authenticity and overall marketing success. Stay dialed in to CHARGE Insights as we continue to dig deeper into fit. 

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