Author: Ken Ungar

Sponsors Want to Be Unique

In the quest to find sponsors, being unique is crucial. But why is that?

In business, every company wants its products and services to stand out. From a marketing point of view, the best way to sell things is to be different from other businesses in the market. So, when a company decides to sponsor something—a group, person, or event—it looks for ways to be special. This means they won’t sponsor something that seems just like many other things out there.

If you’re trying to get sponsors, it’s important to be unique and get noticed so that your sponsor can do the same.

What If You Don’t Stand Out?

I started my sponsorship journey in the sport of auto racing, where I met many race car drivers looking for sponsorship. Whenever introduced to a young driver, I would ask, “What is your personal brand?” Almost every time, I got the same answer: “All-American Racer.” I’m not sure why drivers chose that description. However, the problem was too many of them chose the same description.

If 10,000 drivers looked for sponsorship among the same sponsors, here’s what happens.

  1. It’s Not What Sponsors Look For: Remember when I said sponsors want to stand out? There’s no chance that a one-in-ten-thousand “All-American Racer” will help a sponsor differentiate from other sponsors with the same one-in-ten-thousand “All-American Racer.” That’s one reason these sponsorship seekers failed to find the right partner.
  2. You’re a Commodity: Think about buying sugar. All the brands of sugar in the grocery store taste essentially the same. For this reason, you’ll buy the brand of sugar that costs the least—the same thing with the All-American Racers. Since there are 10,000 commoditized racers, if I’m a sponsor, I will pay the minimum rights fee to a racer because I can sponsor the other 9,999 and get the same results.

How Does My Property Stand Out?

Whether you are a non-profit, sports team, museum, or athlete, there’s a way for you to be unique and find sponsors.

Consider one or more of the following strategies:

Niche Focus:

Identify and hone in on a specific niche or aspect of your property that is either underrepresented or has a rapidly growing interest among the public. This could be a particular sport, a cause, or content that isn’t widely covered. By becoming the go-to property for this niche, you can attract sponsors interested in targeting that specific audience.

Innovative Engagement Strategies:

Develop and implement innovative ways to engage with your audience that transcend traditional methods. This could include virtual reality event experiences, interactive mobile apps for year-round engagement, or unique social media challenges encouraging user-generated content. The aim is to create memorable experiences that resonate with your audience and, by extension, potential sponsors.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Initiatives:

Demonstrate a solid commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. This could involve adopting environmentally friendly practices, engaging in community service projects, or supporting social causes. Sponsors are increasingly looking to associate with properties that have a positive impact on society and align with their corporate social responsibility goals.

Unique Brand Identity and Storytelling:

Develop a compelling brand identity and narrative that sets you apart. This could be your property’s history, future aspirations, or the stories of the people involved. Compelling storytelling can create an emotional connection with your audience, making your property more appealing to sponsors looking for authentic and meaningful partnerships.

Leveraging Technology and Innovation:

Stay ahead of the curve by incorporating the latest technologies and innovations into your operations, whether in how you perform, present, or market yourself. This could range from using performance analytics in sports to augmented reality in events to AI-driven content creation for digital platforms. By positioning yourself as a forward-thinking and technologically advanced property, you can attract sponsors interested in being associated with innovation and progress.

Final Thoughts About How to Be Unique and Find Sponsors

To be unique and find sponsors, you should start before you start selling sponsorship. It’s how you represent your brand, market your organization, and promote via social media. Finding your own distinctive and authentic voice is the best way to prepare your brand to find great sponsorship partners. Otherwise, you’re the same cup of sugar as every other sponsorship seller out there.

To your sponsorship success!

(Author’s Note: The author would like to thank CHARGE teammate Efrain Amezquita for the idea of this article.)

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