In sponsorship, as in life, not everything always goes to plan. So what do you do when you need to mend a broken relationship? Here’s 4 tips on how to bring a sponsor back from the brink!
I love managing sponsorship partnerships. I find it hugely rewarding and there is no other job I would rather do. Unfortunately, like any job, it has its ups and downs. The fact is that if you have worked in this industry for a number of years you are going to have sponsorships that go bad. The trick in this business is in how you deal with it.
A number of years ago I was managing a partnership that was not working. The sponsor was new to the club and had no idea how to activate given their previous strategy centered around straight advertising. After a number of months with limited communication, and limited ideas, we could see that we were going to lose this sponsor if we didn’t act.
We spent a couple of days brainstorming, collecting ideas and talking to other partners to come up with a fix. It was do or die stuff. Finally, after introducing them to another sponsor and working with that sponsor to develop a combined consumer promotion, we got them back. The consumer promo was a big success and we locked in two renewals in the process.
The consumer promo was a big success and we locked in two renewals in the process.
So, what did we learn? Here are the four things that you can use to save a sponsorship.
1 – Identify that there is an issue
Yes, this sounds straight forward but the fact is that you can’t fix something that you don’t think is broken. Identifying issues early is critical in getting them resolved and keeping your partnership on good terms.
2 – Communicate
It may be hard at times to openly speak with your sponsor and communicate that you think there is a problem but it is something you need to do. Lay the ground work, build the case and at the end of the day, openly admit that it is in your interest to ensure that the sponsor is maximising the value in this relationship. It is far easier to re-sign a sponsor than find a new one.
3 – Be creative but don’t forget the basics
Of course you need to be creative but you can’t forget the underlying value proposition as well. If a simple sales promotion is going to do the trick then go with it. The question you need to ask yourself is “Does this deliver a return to my sponsor?”. Keeping in mind that ‘value’ could be any return on investment or objectives.
Be collaborative as well. As I mentioned at the start, some of the best activations we rolled out involved one of our other sponsors. If done well, this can really turbo charge your sponsorship program.
4 – Deliver and review
No matter how good an idea is, it needs to be well executed. Work with your sponsor to deliver an A-grade activation and don’t forget to review once you’re done. Not only will it uncover many learnings that will hold you in good stead in the future, it will reinforce the fact that you were able to salvage a dying partnership and turn it into a valuable one.
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