If looking only at macro-economics, economists say the pandemic recession has changed into a pandemic recovery. Since a marketing recovery usually follows an economic one, sponsorship should begin a resurgence as well.
If this is the case, how should brands and properties prepare for what comes next in the sponsorship market?
Over the past year, we learned more than we wanted to know about sponsorship cancellations, postponements, make-goods, and amended agreements. Virtual events and sponsorships surged, while digital and social media continued their ascent as sponsorship tools of choice. Simultaneously, both sponsors and properties grew tired of explanations about low on-site exposure and weak television ratings.
When looking forward to a sponsorship recovery, I’m reminded of my father’s favorite quote from philosopher George Santayana who said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So, rather than forget an awful 2020, what should we learn from it (and other past challenges) moving forward?
I have a few thoughts.
Elevate Digital Marketing
In 2019, we couldn’t imagine a time without live events. Three months into 2020, the bottom fell out of sporting events, concerts, festivals, conferences, galas, etc. Although digital (including web, streaming, social media, and email) was nothing new to us, we scrambled to replace live with virtual. During this time, though, we discovered that sponsorships relied far too much on live at-event elements and far too little on virtual elements. As our blog on the subject noted, virtual events and sponsorships demonstrated their value. When returning to live events, we should consider integrating live and virtual sponsorship components, taking the best of each to build our new strategies.
Act Local. Think Global.
Digital events also reminded us that the internet can expand the potential audience for sponsorship. Live events require proximity to a site and travel to get there, limiting who can attend an event. Digital events can be reached with a mouse click. As I discuss in Sponsorship Strategy, sponsorships can resonate far beyond the stadium, arena, or convention center if planned creatively. It would be a waste if we didn’t take full advantage of this opportunity to make our sponsorships live beyond the event and multiply our investment return.
Are You Socially Responsible?
Trends in consumer behavior have resulted in a renewed focus on corporate social responsibility. People buy products from companies that share their values. The pandemic accelerated these trends as consumers looked to brands to act for the benefit of their communities. Sponsorship is the ideal vehicle to help companies express this responsibility while pursuing commercial goals like increasing sales and brand enhancement. Sponsors and properties building sponsorships reflecting these trends will be successful in 2021 and beyond.
Unfortunately, 2020 taught us not to be too bold in our future forecasts of a sponsorship recovery. We learned that the only thing predictable is the unpredictable. However, the lessons of the past can help us prepare for whatever comes our way in sponsorship. That much we can count on.
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If you would like CHARGE to help your organization find its path to sponsorship recovery, schedule a call with one of our experts today.