Author: Dijana Vetturelli
It is known that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton had a special relationship but for sure you will ask what does those two guys and their relationship have in common with sponsorships.
In 1997, when Blair become the youngest Prime Minister, Clinton called him, congratuleted and said that today he should start thinking about the legacy he will leave.
Legacy is a momentum mostly overlooked as something what puts the fancy sponsorship in the CSR box. But on the other hand, by including the dimension of legacy in the development of a sponsorship strategy, the topic of sponsorship finally get unleashed of the branding burden. Inspite the fact that biggest budgets are spent on sponsorships which are used as an advertising tool, there are very interesting stories where companies made a real difference by using a sponsorship to create legacy.
In my opinion those companies are the real game changers and they have 3 similarities:
First, they are looking for a new perspective and they start the journey with the right question. Instead of questitioning “how” and “what” they start with “why” which should be the starting point of each sponsorship strategy. The “why” questions give the right perspective and help defining the purpose.
For example, one of the worlds oldest and biggest sponsors – Coca Cola - used the London 2012 partnership to get the Recycling in the Games.
As part of its Sustainable Games commitments, they turned every soft drink bottle recycled at London 2012 venues into new bottles, and putted them back on shelves within six weeks. To make this possible, bottling partner Coca_Cola Enterprises opened the Continuum Recycling plant in Lincolnshire, which is the largest PET plastic recycling facility in Western Europe.
But that was not all – they used the Olympics and Paralympics to bring closer the recycling issue to the British population.
By changing their perspective and putting a new dimension in the sponsorship they created legacy.
2. perfect match
The second similarity is the right fit / perfect match between the sponsor and the sponsorship platform.
A good example is Mizuno and their partnership with the organization “Back on My Feet”, which uses running to help those experiencing homelesness to make a real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living. Mizuno’s partnership with "Back on My Feet" started because they share a common belief that people can be transformed through running. It isn’t a traditional example of sponsorship but it shows that each partnership should be chosen wisely. Both share the same values and vision which help them to create added value and a better society.
Among other activities that helped the organization, a special momentum to the whole story was the employee’s engagement in the “Back on My Feet” programme – they ran with homeless people. It made sense and it was easy to explain the purpose, because it was an authentic story.
3. courage and commitment
A sponsorship should be a statement and for a statement you need a big dose of courage and commitment.
This is why a sponsorship, regardless of the investment, can create real value if it's unleashed of the branding burden. Branding is nice and exciting, but in the end it is just an alternative way of advertising.
The real game changers are brave and eager to make a difference. For example the Greek yogurt producer Chobani sponsored the Team USA in 2012 and became the most searched American brand during the Olympics 2012 with an earned media value of $70 million. A nice result for the Newcomer, who prolonged the partnership and experienced a real challenge two years later at Sochi. As the LGBT issue started to escalate, Chobani supported the Team USA and the LGBT society. By doing so, Chobani lost the Russian market and even more Russia didn’t allow Chobani Yogurt at the Sochi Olympics ment for the USA athletes.
Chobani is a story of newcomer who was brave enough for a sponsorship statement which made a difference and created legacy.
"So, when you start to create your sponsorship strategy
– ask yourself –
what will be your legacy!"
TT Sponsorship Architectures