Announcing our sponsorship of Duns RFC’s Education Suite
And why now is the right time for businesses to reconsider corporate sponsorship.
With tough times a stark reality for businesses in 2020, there has never been a more important time to invest in marketing. Here, Sarah Mathieson looks at how sponsorship can play a crucial role in supporting your brand while throwing out a lifeline to others.
While corporate sponsorship of sports and cultural events has skyrocketed in the last forty years to become a well-kent tool in the marketer’s arsenal, sponsorship in the form of patronage is as old as ancient times. There was a special name for the wealthy Athenian citizens who covered the cost of 5th century Greek theatre, Choragus. And the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome delivered a platform for rich aristocrats to parade their wealth to the populace.
Today, corporate sponsorship is motivated by both philanthropic intent and commercial gain, and it is often one of the first things that get cut when it comes to trimming marketing budgets. Pleased to announce our sponsorship of Duns RFC’s Education Suite this week, I have long been a supporter of commercial sponsorship, and feel that now is a good time to share why.
Recognition and recall
The aim of every marketing team is to differentiate a product or service so that it stands out from its competitors with a unique selling proposition. But with all the noise it can be hard to be noticed especially if you operate in a highly competitive sector. Sponsorship offers the chance to keep your brand visible and in the minds of your customers and prospects by supporting something that has synergy with your brand. Piggybacking as it were. Whether that’s in the form of a pitchside board at a sports ground, a named sponsor of an event, or like Fleming Homes, the sponsors of a training suite, it may not result in sales today, but it will help keep your brand top of mind today, tomorrow and into the future raising your profile in a way that is distinct from your usual promotions.
While corporate entertainment is a thing of the past (in 2020 anyway), there are only so many rugby matches, football games, or golf courses you can take your clients to. Cultural events and activities offer an alternative way to spend informal time with your customers. They are a chance to get to know them better and more importantly to build on your relationships outside of the meeting room. While we may have to pass on face-to-face relationship building in the short-term, hopefully, these opportunities will come around again. But we need to support events and activities now, to ensure they are still here in the future.
No company is an island
When we think about a business the temptation is to think of it as an inanimate entity. Yet businesses are living, breathing things (they are, of course, the sum of their people) that prosper from positive interactions with the communities within which they exist. Our company values lead us to engage with our community because we want to be recognised as a company that cares. We want to be thought of as a good employer that inspires young people to want to live and work locally. In this sense, there is more to sponsorship than making immediate sales. It is a long-term investment in positioning your brand in relation to your wider strategic goals. Understanding this can help you derive real value from any sponsorship investment you make.
There’s no better time
Even with its low-density population, the Scottish Borders (24 persons per km2, compared to 1182 persons per km2 in the City of Edinburgh) has a wealth of high-quality sponsorship opportunities for local SMEs. If culture is your thing there is the highly acclaimed Borders Book Festival. An interest in motorsports? And you are covered by the Jim Clark Rally. The list goes on. There are a host of events, sports clubs, societies, charities, and good causes with which to align your brand to create mutual value.
With the ravages of COVID-19 undermining our economy and as organisations flounder, there has never been a better time to divert a portion of your marketing budget (now is definitely the time to keep marketing!) towards sponsorship. By doing so you may just offer an organisation the lifeline it desperately needs.
I know we can’t support everyone (like most businesses we receive multiple requests from a range of worthy enterprises every year) but by choosing one or two activities at a local or regional level that really align with your vision and values you could help grow your business while making the difference between survival and closure for another.
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