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  • Mandy Queen

Sponsorship can be a waste of money

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Photo of a Formula 1 car

Sponsorship can also be a valuable tool that may increase exposure of your brand and attract employees. In addition, sponsorship has the potential to provide you with corporate hospitality opportunities, e.g. if you sponsor a Formula 1 racing team, you can entertain your top clients at the Grand Prix. However, if you don't choose the right company to sponsor, you may end up with little or even negative exposure. Below are some simple questions to ask yourself before you decide what or who to sponsor:

1) Is the potential activity aligned with your goals, values, and service? An excellent example of this is BT's long-term social sponsorship of Childline, a free telephone counselling service for children and young people in the UK.

2) Are you and your sponsors targeting the same audiences? Are your demographics similar i.e., age, income, interests, location? Smirnoff sponsors Live Nation Festivals, which makes absolute sense.

4) Have you checked if the people/activity you are looking to sponsor has a good reputation? Are there any scandals pending? Do your research before signing contracts. While the future can be difficult to predict, PR professionals will have some skills around analysing the future environment.

5) Are you sponsoring an activity due to history rather than organisational strategy? E.g. are you are sponsoring a theatre production only because the previous Chairman is a fan of the arts?

6) Will the sponsorship elevate your reputation, or will it cause negative headlines? Is your sponsorship misleading? Use your common sense. For a long time, McDonald's sponsored the Olympics, BP sponsored Lego... clearly, BP and McDonald's benefited from these partnerships, but times have changed, and the public, campaigners, and journalists eventually questioned the appropriateness of these partnerships, which resulted in negative media coverage.

This is just a snapshot. Contact me if you would like some assistance brainstorming potential sponsors for your organisation.

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