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How to choose your next sponsorship agency

The concept of balance in the workplace is essential in optimising strengths to improve positive outcomes. Similarly, balance within the business arena is important, too. For example, any sponsorship deal into which you enter should benefit your supporter as well as promote your brand, whilst also appeal to your target demographic. Establishing and then maintaining this balance is a highly skilled job.

So, why would a business consider sponsoring your brand? To begin with, you need a compelling story that will inspire any sponsors to support your business aims. There needs to be a natural connection with any sponsor of choice to ensure customers view this as an authentic relationship. So, it is therefore important to begin by identifying what business goal you are hoping to reach with the sponsorship and what how it may benefit your sponsor as well as your target audience.

Strike a balance: mutual benefits to sponsorship

  • Puts both businesses in the spotlight
  • Gets brands in front of their target audience
  • Boosts brand awareness and multimedia exposure
  • Increases brand reach as well as enables exposure to possible new customers
  • Can add a new angle to engagement on previously unexplored platforms.

Whilst there may be a temptation to apply the ‘I know my brand best’ attitude towards sponsor selection, a sponsorship agency will have a network of companies keen to get behind various brands in many different sectors.

Within these companies, the agency will also know (and be able to access) the decision makers, understand their business objectives and will be better placed to play matchmaker thanks to nurtured and established relationships and by creating a proposal specific and attractive to them.

Before speaking with a sponsorship agency, you will need to be clear about your own demographic as well as the platforms by which you wish to reach them.

You will rely on the agency to develop a great sponsor proposal but under discussion will need to be realistic deliverables that answer the inevitable ‘what’s in it for me?’ questions for those businesses from which you are looking for support.

Don't sell yourself short. If you have a brand that is ripe for promotion and relevant, a sponsorship agency will be keen to play broker.

Essentially, you need to ensure it is a natural fit that remains true to your brand so there needs to be a relevant alignment, with the connection should reflect values and beliefs.

An agency should evaluate, negotiate and manage client sponsorship contracts from the outset and then measure and optimise effect so that you understand your ROI – which are reportedly quite high with sponsorship deals.

Is the sponsorship agency you’re considering a niche market leader? If it isn’t experienced in your specific market, then it should certainly take the time to understand your sector and be able to source a network of contacts suitable to your needs and requirements.

Ultimately, you are looking for the sponsorship agency to work with your brand to identify opportunities that will create consumer experiences via the sponsorship, so don’t be afraid to ask for specific examples of their recent successes. These should, of course, be backed up by quantifiable results.

The match should be designed to engage customers but also key is the amplification of any sponsorship to get the best ROI. How will the agency do this? What methods are more effective than others?

The agency needs to work closely to understand brand objectives, change purchase behaviour as well as brand perception. There should be a clear synergy.

Tailoring a deal to suit your brand is important and consistency in account handling is part of this. Will you have an account manager? Can they open doors you can’t? A sponsorship agency will have managers who have created and nurture relationships with companies that may be interesting in sponsorship opportunities with your business. Will they be your point of contact throughout negotiations? Will they discover if the sponsorship business shares your ethics and principles?

Ask yourself…

  • Which organisation reflects your brand?
  • Will the connection be meaningful and authentic?
  • Will the relationship gain the exposure you are looking for? The message should be delivered through a trusted, respected source, meaning it’s likely to have far more impact
  • Will your customers understand the connection? The correlation needs to be transparent and therefore an obvious one.

It is worth noting that sponsorship deals take a lot of planning so do allow a long lead time. Whether it is a conference, an exhibition, an awards ceremony, a charitable event or some other event or occasion, the sponsorship plans need to begin the moment you have date secured and a venue booked, so do your groundwork in plenty of time.

Many businesses – from large corporates to SMEs – are keen to engage in sponsorship opportunities at both a local and national level and building relationships with trusted brands can benefit everyone.

Sponsorship arrangements can empower businesses. They enable brands to capitalise on opportunities they may not ordinarily have. With a solid sponsorship in place, it can create visibility at many levels by demonstrating solidarity via strong relationships and extend a network of connections and strengthen general recognition.

By incorporating suitable partners into your marketing drive, there is much value that can be added to your brand profile.

The opportunities to engage partners that align with your business vision are manifold and a sponsorship agency will be about to eke out those best suited to your brand values.

Sponsorship is an excellent way for brands to raise awareness among its target audience – and it should be of mutual benefit. However, both businesses will be expected to honour obligations in order to maintain the sponsorship.

A productive and successful relationship, as in all business, depends on the integrity of both parties and, whilst it is arguably a commercial relationship of convenience, it should also always remain an honest one.

Your aim is to be a business that other businesses want to be seen doing business with.