Activations are the lifeblood of any sponsorship. In many cases they are what deliver the value on the objectives sponsors are looking for. In other words – Return On Investment (ROI). Coming up with idea, however, is no easy feat.
The big sponsors pay agencies tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars for activation expertise. Unfortunately, some rights holders are left with the responsibility of helping their sponsors activate and simply don’t have the luxury of relying on agencies. So they need to come up with sponsorship activation ideas themselves to then deliver the value sponsors require.
A good sponsorship activation can save a partnership. I remember being under pressure once with a sponsor who said they were not getting value out of a partnership. I was new to the business and had conducted my own review of each sponsorship. The problem with this one stood out to me like a sore thumb; they were simply relying on signage alone to deliver the ROI. What they lacked was an activation that would boost sales in a way that could be attributed back to the sponsorship.
We convinced them to pool all their assets and create one big competition that offered a compelling prize with entry reliant on purchasing their goods (which was completely trackable back to the sponsorship).
The activation was a massive success. Sales were up and the sponsorship was clearly the driver. The key was the prize because it was compelling ( I have also been involved in activations where the prize was weak and they have been a disaster).
So, in short, a good prize equals a good activation. Ordinary prize equals ordinary activation.
Competitions are just one of many types of activations you can consider. However, it can be a challenge to continually come up with activation ideas day in day out that will help deliver ROI.
Here’s how I approach that challenge
Do your research
The global sponsorship community is a big place and my first piece of advice is to have a look at what everyone else is doing. I’m not saying copy them but you can definitely study them for inspiration for your own ideas.
Know your sponsor
Every idea needs to deliver on your sponsor’s objectives. This is critical. If you don’t know your sponsors objectives then you are disaster territory. This is your chance to demonstrate how well you know your sponsor.
Keep it fresh
The more innovative the idea the better. So, again, do your research, know your sponsor and deliver something that no-one has seen before. You’ll hit the ball out of the park.
Have a crack
The worst thing you can do is do nothing. So keep things in the spirit of ‘there’s no bad ideas in a brainstorm’ and once again, demonstrate to your sponsor how well you understand their objectives and how you are going out of your way to make this relationship work.
I’d love for you to share some of your favourite activations you’ve seen, experienced or even delivered yourself. Here’s my favourite sponsorship activation.
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