The term is used a few different ways across industries, but keeping it simple; sponsorship activation is the switching on of the partnership agreement, to create value and impact from a sponsorship deal.
Big companies often have a dedicated person (or team of people) responsible for negotiating sponsorship proposals and planning the specifics around how and what the company will do to maximise the impact of their investment.
For brands like nike or adidas and big sporting organisations like the NRL, AFL, Cricket AU etc, this is pretty common practice.
In our experience, at grassroots level, it it’s not something many clubs have been executing well. Traditionally sponsorship has come from ‘the old boys’, family and friends associated with the club or the local pub/butcher.
Over the last few years, and in our COVID climate especially, these traditional lines of sponsorship have been drying up, leaving clubs searching for new sustainable partnerships.
In our new climate, this search has become increasingly difficult as local businesses can’t justify ‘donations’ anymore. Gone are the days of one way sponsorship. For the clubs with strong partnerships in the community and strong connections in the business network, finding new commercial partners is only half the problem; keeping them is equally as challenging.
Which is where activation comes in.
If you don’t activate your sponsorship properly, several things can happen.
Once you’ve done the hard work to build a relationship and attract a new commercial partner, activating your partnership successfully is key to creating a sustainable relationship that will continue year on year.
Whether in person, via zoom or discovery survey, here’s our starter list of questions for commercial partners to successfully activate a sponsorship:
Once you’ve had a good discussion and figured out what matters most to your commercial partner, you can use the information to design an experience that they’ll love, tailored to their business needs.
Successful activation + positive experience = sustainable partnerships.
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