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There are two simple (yet not simplistic) sides to every business – Do the right things and do things right. These are not mutually inclusive skills. I’m really good at that first part, so I’ll discuss it in more detail – how to do the right things – but I’m not so good at that second part. Thankfully, I have an amazing staff that is really good at doing things right.
So, just how do you do the right things in sponsorship?
It always starts with your audience and what behaviors you want to change or reinforce for that audience. Then, the key to the right thing is providing value to the desired audience through the sponsorship program. Let me repeat myself. You have to provide real value to the target audience you wish to reach and to get the credit for providing that value in the minds of the target audience.
In our business, most of the time both our corporate clients and the corporate sponsors of the properties we represent want to reach college sports FANS.
One of the simple things we do for Werner Ladder, the official ladder of March Madness and NCAA Basketball is to allow consumers to climb the real ladder of cutting down the nets after the national championship game. We take the ladder on a tour of the Final Four city; have a ladder at Westwood One’s Radio Row at the National Association of Basketball Coaches trade show at the Final Four; and, also have a ladder in the March Madness Fan Festival.
Another great example is what Infiniti does in college basketball using coaches. College coaches have become the stars of college basketball and fans like to support their favorite coach. Several years ago we helped create the Infiniti Charity Challenge, where fans vote for their favorite coach to help him raise money for his favorite charity. This makes each fan feel good about Infiniti and puts Infiniti in the consideration set the next time that fan wants to purchase a vehicle.
Last fall we created the Dollar General Big 12 Championship Tour. The Tour was designed to promote the new Big 12 Football Championship Game and traveled to each of the ten Big 12 schools. Dollar General wanted to both promote it’s designation as the official Homegating and Tailgating Retailer of the Big 12 and to promote select products available at DG. We knew we needed to rely engage the fans and did a number of activities to do just that. We displayed the newly designed Big 12 Football Championship Trophy and allowed fans to take pictures with the Trophy. We displayed all ten Big 12 teams’ helmets and asked fans to post their pictures of the holding or wearing their favorite team’s helmet on social media for a chance to win the helmet. We held tailgate toss and ring toss games for terrific prizes like Big 12 t-shirts, team logoed socks, koozies, Cheez It bags and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We gave out product samples and coupons and even hired celebrity BBQ chefs to cook and serve free BBQ samples. Fans raved about the activations and we provided great value to Dollar General, their vendors, the Big 12 and the Big 12 schools.