Making the most of event sponsorship

Thursday 23 February 2017
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Have you ever been tempted to become a fully-fledged money-on-the-table event sponsor? There are a number of aspects to consider: Is there true brand alignment? What are the key benefits forboth parties? 

For Mark Thompson, Managing Director of Sponserve, there are three important aspects of any event sponsorship than can acheive a successful arrangement. For a lot of people out there, event sponsorship can be confusing and it can be hard to see what makes it work, what makes a good fit and even what makes a good activation.



Here are Mark's three key learnings that speak directly how your brand can align with a rights-holder to you achieve your objectives.



This is a key advantage that event sponsorship offers over other direct property sponsorship. For many businesses it is crucial that the objectives and subsequent rights include both event and consumer opportunities (hence the sponsorship and supply differentiation).



A key conversation, which all good event partners have with their rights holder, is around product category. Some may think that having a broad product category is better for a brand, as it provides the opportunity to lock out all perceived and real competitors, however, the opposite is true for those who do it well.

Activating a specific product category, such as ‘Handheld Personal Device Partner’ rather than ‘Technology Partner’, helps the brand focus on activation and engagement in that specific area and with a specific and clearly defined product category.




With large scale global events you get access to different consumer markets. The key thing to remember here is that a brand’s activation should be tailored to the consumer habits of different markets and, just as importantly, consider the capabilities of local offices to activate.

Setting separate activation goals and activities for different markets gives a brand the best opportunity for success by gearing the resources and goals around an achievable activation plan which is focussed on both the external and internal goals of the partnership.

Another key factor in splitting markets is that host markets are far more likely to have longer term engagement and anticipation around an event. On the other hand, visiting or external markets will only have high levels of engagement immediately before and during an event – thus creating very different activation and engagement opportunities for a sponsor.


Overall, there were feelings around the room that all led the discussion and thought leadership towards the above three learnings. Supporting them was continual comments that, before any engagement or partnership is entered, values between a brand and an event rights holder must be aligned so as to allow for a free flowing and successful partnership.

With values aligned, the importance of flexibility was also discussed and seen as critical considering that technology and creative thinking is changing the way sponsorship and the business of sport is conducted.

Events give brands a great platform and audience to launch new products due to both live and broadcast engagement levels and periods. Keeping the above lessons in mind will help brands capitalise on their event sponsorship.