Abel Communications recently hosted a virtual roundtable of marketing executives to discuss the best ways for brands to leverage new and existing sponsorships. As a marketing communications firm, we are particularly interested in sponsorships as a great way to supercharge a brand’s storytelling platform. 

Our keynote speaker was Chris Heck, former President of the Philadelphia 76ers and a longtime sports marketing executive. Chris and our attendees shared some great tips including the following:

Don’t believe the rate card. No matter what benefits and opportunities are offered by a team, media partner, or festival initially; always know you can negotiate sponsorship packages. The key to doing so effectively is to identify a few goals going in and then find a way to achieve them. 

Start with the end in mind. Make certain that you know what problem or problems you’re trying to solve through a potential sponsorship. Share those details with everyone involved in order to come up with creative solutions.

Don’t just sponsor… ACTIVATE. Activation is the most important buzzword in sponsorship and for good reason. Activating means taking many steps beyond slapping your logo on as much signage as possible and inviting a few guests. A great activation program might include hospitality, signage, special events, even contests and promotions that are unique to your brand. 

Think about how you can own something memorable. Most brands will never buy a Super Bowl ad but that doesn’t mean you can’t GO BIG in your own way. What would your brand’s Super Bowl look like? Think about how you can own all the elements of one aspect of a team or festival sponsorship so that your activation can’t be missed. That said… 

Don’t overdo it! Have you ever gone to an event or venue and felt assaulted by logos and brand messages? One of the keys to a great sponsorship is finding that balance between getting your name out there and giving everyone some room to breathe and enjoy themselves. This can be tricky but the key is to step back and view the sponsorship from the perspective of the attendee and make sure it’s a great experience.