To get a better sense of what’s shaking in the sports sponsorship landscape, Event Marketer visited the one-day AVIDsummit on Oct. 23 at the Harvard Club in New York City, a venue so hallowed, even the mahogany on the walls was impressed with itself. The plan for the new event from creator SponsorHub was to discuss sports sponsorship strategy with brand and agency experts, then break out into small discussion groups to drill down into tactical practices. The most important conversations revolved around leveraging a sponsorships to drive connections with consumers and build brand loyalty. Here, three key takeaways from the event:
1. It’s About Finding the Right Brand Halo
The topics focused on sports sponsorships, mainly, and Steve Jett, engagement marketing manager at Lexus, threw out the opening salvo, naming the football king of the hill. “NFL has become America’s game,” he said. He added that even baseball’s World Series avoided regular season football nights so that it wouldn’t have to compete. He says that when he creates an activation around Lexus football sponsorships he asks, “What will make [the attendees] realize that the experience they’re having is something special that Lexus has given them?”
2. It’s About Adding to the Customer Experience
Sports sponsorship has become an important part of the portfolio for Samsung, too, said Peggy Ang, vp-marketing and communications at Samsung. “Sports is a key passion point for people and our phones are our third arm while we watch sports these days,” she said. When it comes to the brand’s partnership with the PGA tour, where it activates a multi-screen experience through a Samsung device-specific app, she said the brand wants to “stop talking about speeds and how it feels and allow our target consumers to feel it.”
The strategic choice to focus on experience rather than broadcasting messaging extends into Samsung’s social media execution as well. “People don’t care about your messaging,” Ang said. “They care about how you contribute to the conversations they care about. We want to fuel those conversations and build their excitement to higher levels.”
3. It’s About Leveraging All the Channels
The message from each of the brands present was that a sports sponsorship is only as powerful as the impressions left with each consumer who interacts with the brand, especially live. “For marketers, it’s critical to have one-to-one interactions with consumers,” said Fred Bucher, vp-marketing at Time Warner Cable. They agreed that focusing on just one channel, even live, is a mistake, however. Ang added, “What’s important for us is identifying cross media opportunities so we can see what services we need to provide to enhance consumer experiences.” Jett agreed, saying “Getting these [channels] to work together is so important to Lexus so we reach not just our loyalists, but our future buyers.”
The world of sports sponsorship is changing, thanks to new channels, tools and opportunities for brands to interact with consumers, and the old rules aren’t the same. These brands at the AVIDsummit see that consumers want to contribute to the conversations, not just be dictated to, and they want the conversations to take place in a variety of channels, from social to television and live activations.
Clearly it’s time to get nimble, folks. That siloed approach to sponsorships is not effective enough anymore.
Photo courtesy: vtravelled.com/Flickr