With the summer fast approaching, you may well be considering attending the quintessentially English event “The Stella Artois Tennis Championships” at the Queens Club…or will you?!
Stella Artois relinquished their involvement with the pre-Wimbledon tournament in 1998 after 29 years of primary sponsorship. It would be interesting to ask how many people knew this, and even more interesting to find out how many people know who the new sponsor is.
Stella Artois’ sponsorship at Queens acquired such notoriety because of the length of time they were involved with the event. In today’s climate, with brands placing huge emphasis on ROI from their sponsorship and tweaking strategies on a regular basis, it is unlikely such long-term sports sponsorships will appear too often in the future. With this in mind, how can a brand utilise experiential marketing to get more out of their sponsorship over a shorter term of involvement?
Here are our top five tips for using experiential marketing to leverage sponsorship activity:
1) Interrupt consumers – give them something to stop and take notice of
Sponsorship Activation blogger Patrick Kavanagh asks “How often have you seen a company name emblazoned on a hoarding or football shirt and not known what the company actually does? Or moreover, not understood the company’s ethos or value proposition?”
Giving people a remarkable experience that is relevant to both the brand and the sponsorship will help people gain a full understanding of what your service can offer them. There is no better way for someone to form an emotional connection to a brand than for them to immerse themselves in it.
2) Make it targeted – make sure you are targeting the right demographic that will pass on your message to others
Given that no brand would embark on sponsorship activity without careful strategic planning, they will know their target audience. Surely it makes sense to take advantage and reinforce this by giving this specific group of people a great experience?!
Making an activity relevant to the right people will motivate the consumers that matter to talk about your brand, meaning when they see the sponsorship in action, they already have an affinity with your brand/product.
3) Create conversations – make the activity memorable so people will talk about it
Pure sponsorship will rarely get people talking. If it doesn’t do this, you have to ask what purpose it is serving. With the average consumer seeing over 500 advertising messages every day, brands need all the help they can get in breaking through the clutter.
With Stella Artois, we have seen how sponsorship can be associated with an event to the extent that they became synonymous, however, it took nearly three decades to reach this point. Using experiential marketing to amplify sports sponsorship will create conversations around your brand very quickly as word spreads and people see how your brand is adding value to consumers’ lives.
4) “Get Real” – make the activity something that people can relate to
Here at Hotcow we say “get real” and sports sponsorship is no exception. Patrick Kavanagh says “marketing managers agree to a sponsorship deal and then think the job is done. They feel they’ll get the exposure their brand so desperately needs or use the sponsorship as a reminder to their consumers that they’re still around. Well that simply does not cut through the proverbial clutter.”
Kavanagh is right. Breaking through the clutter is difficult without engaging an audience with real experiences they can relate to. Making any experience real to them and their lifestyle will ensure they take away the right messages and create a genuine connection to the brand.
5) Relive it – people love to see other people doing things – document the activity with film and pictures to enable others to relive it online
We know that people love to relive great experiences. Documenting any experiential sponsorship activation with images or videos will ensure these experiences can be relived, shared and talked about way beyond the event.
This pretty much reinforces everything above. Allowing people to relive an event allows more people to see the activity and spreads the word to more people, generating further conversation aNd affinity for the brand.
So there it is. If your brand is thinking of sponsoring a sporting event, is it thinking about how to break through the clutter? Experiential marketing can achieve this like no other medium – through face-to-face engagement.
Grabbing the right consumers’ attention, motivating them to talk about their real experiences and allowing them to relive over and over again will help your sponsorship spend go further by immersing consumers in your brand, resulting in affinity and brand-loyalty.
By the way, the new sponsors of the Queen’s Club Championship is Aegon, one of the world’s largest life insurance and pension companies. We wait with baited breath to see how they plan on overcoming their illustrious predecessors…