As we close out 2021 and march into the new year, we offer a variety of fast takes on the sponsorship market for brands and properties.
The rate of consumer cryptocurrency trading is increasing in the US and elsewhere. Many crypto players have entered into sponsorship marketing to heighten brand awareness, making them another category fighting for market share. With high-profile, high-dollar deals hitting the market, it feels familiar, like the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
- The crypto category will continue to grow in 2022, tracking consumer fascination with the market.
- Buyer beware is the name of the game. Properties should avoid the temptation to be blinded by big dollar signs.
- There seems to be an inevitable conflict with traditional categories like credit cards, banks, and financial services. However, the crypto sponsorship market will sort itself out much like terrestrial TV networks began to embrace (and own) streaming video.
Sustainability is the ability to meet “our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” While some refer to sustainability in environmental terms, it includes economic and social issues as well. Sponsorship deals labeled as “sustainable” involve:
- Tottenham Hotspur’s “sustainable energy partnership” with VivoPower, its official battery technology partner; or
- Amazon’s support of Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle to make it the first net-zero carbon arena in the world.
- Think of sustainability as an important sponsorship trend. It’s not a category as “official soft drink” and “official telecommunications partner” are categories.
- Like other purpose-driven sponsorships, authenticity will be critical. Sponsors and properties must have a sincere and demonstrable connection with the sustainability mission. It’s walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
Web 3.0 Offers More Purchase Opportunities. Maybe Sort Of.
We intend to write extensively on this issue in 2022, as Web 3.0 will profoundly impact content creation and distribution. For that reason, we can’t do it justice with a few paragraphs in this newsletter.
Web 3.0 refers to the increasing decentralization of the internet. Today, we consume content (including sponsorable content) through platforms like sports networks, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. If content creators no longer need platforms, content can be delivered directly to audiences that want it. It may change whom we sponsor, what we sponsor, and how we measure its impact from a sponsorship perspective.
- We recommend all marketers, including sponsorship marketers, start calibrating their partnerships for the coming Web 3.0. A good primer on the subject can be found here. Lewis Wiltshire wrote an excellent article on Web 3.0’s impact on sports for sports marketers.
- We regularly ask our property-side partners about their plans for content distribution, especially around video projects and new NFT initiatives.
- Look for our white paper in 2022 on this Web 3.0 and Sponsorship.
Final Takes for 2021
This past year was scary and exciting at the same time. Perhaps we are still shell-shocked from how 2020 changed how we live and work. We believe one key learning of previous downturns, recessions, and crises applies to sponsors and properties. If you move forward boldly and smartly, your audience will follow you.
See you in January!
The CHARGE team