In the infamous words of acclaimed Chicago Poet Chance the Rapper:
“The people’s champ must be everything the people can’t be.”
These words have always rung out to me whenever hearing them when the song would come onto my playlist. What does it mean? How do you become the people’s champ?
In sponsorship, it is our moment to become the people’s champ for our business communities. It is our moment to drive value and sales in some of the darkest times for businesses and communities in our lifetime.
Our job has always been to bring value…but that value is so much more important now.
Our motto, mission, and vision for anything we do for the next year need to circle around being the people’s champ for our partners.
What does being the People’s Champ mean?
To me it means when you have the platform, doing something to help when it is unclear on the return.
That may be a bad explanation…but in my head if I had to put it into a succinct strategy…that’s what I would say.
What this means for us in sponsorship is we have to be willing to blindly help both our partners AND the others hurting in our community.
Of course…the partners come first. They have been there for us maybe when the team hasn’t done well. Some may have renewed with us when we didn’t quite hit our mark with them.
I wrote about this in our 90-day plan post…but if you haven’t heard this yet CALL ALL YOUR SPONSORS AND CHECK IN ON HOW THEY ARE DOING RIGHT NOW.
Some may be weathering the storm…some 2 days from closing for good.
Being the people’s champ is doing whatever is in your power NOW in order to make sure that doesn’t happen. And I mean whatever without thinking about how they pay you back.
An example, many of our restaurant partners are hurting…and really hurting. It is one thing to ask your fans to dine at your partner’s establishment.
But again, we are at a point where we need to think deeper than that for each partner. We need to build in plans for each partner that we
Instead of just posting an image of whom you should purchase from and who does takeout…we can do better to drive sales & value.
With your social media content, post the menu of a partner restaurant each night with a special deal of the night sponsored by your team where you can make up the difference for each fan that buys.
Right now gift cards are a key cash flow way that restaurants can stay open. They can be a huge lifeline for your restaurants.
Your team can run a contest, tournament, whatever creative way your social team has made to connect where the entry fee of $10 buys a gift card to your partner restaurant as well. This will SAVE some of your partner’s businesses.
If you did a new contest each week (or day) you could literally create a stimulus package for your restaurant.
If you want to be the people’s champ…this is what you need to do. You need to blindly help your partners who are in the most vulnerable in this crisis.
Show empathy & go the extra mile to help. Don’t do a cost-benefit analysis. Now is the time to act.
What about any non-partners?
Here’s is where it gets tricky, but I may have a different tune here than others.
I think you should look to be the people’s champ first, of course, for your current sponsors. But really, to truly be the people’s champ in your community…you should look at all companies in your community that is struggling.
I would offer assets to all restaurants, gaming, small business, travel, and others in your community. Don’t charge them. Don’t sales pitch. Literally, let them know that you are here to help in any way possible.
Again the people’s champ is one that puts others above their short-term & long-term gains. Your focus is on the survival of the community. If you truly take the people’s champ path…then you have no problem offering this to all businesses.
I don’t want to downplay here that you should give more time to your current partners. absolutely don’t throw them to the side. Give them the love and support first, then when you have openings open the assets for the others.
Being the people’s champ will pay off
I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up that in the long run being the people’s champ will pay off.
This does not mean you do it because it will pay off if you have that in mind it will backfire on you. You should be the people’s champ because it is the right thing to do.
But if you show solutions, at no charge, at some of the most desperate times in most of our lifetimes for your partners and help them weather the storm you will build an unbreakable loyalty with your partners.
You will be the lifeline when all looked lost.
You also will be the organization that came through with solutions and results for your entire community in a time where there weren’t many. I’m talking about saving jobs, businesses, and the local economy.
These acts of going all-in for your partners will change the course of history for your community. Of course, being tied to that means you are building value
Doing the right thing is always the right thing because many times it will pay off in the long run. This doesn’t mean we do it to expect something back later…it just happens that it will bring value later.
I’m not telling you to go bankrupt as a team. Obviously, there are limits to this and your team needs to make money. What I am saying is there are many low to no-cost ways you can do more to help your partners who need it the most right now.
Our job in sponsorship right now is to be the people’s champ
When our partners buy into a sports sponsorship, they are buying into a support group, a community, and an organization they can lean on when times get tough.
Well, it’s time to show up for them in the best way we can.
You may disagree with me here…and that is fine. Again you have to look over your team and make sure you all make it out on the other side. I empathize with the fact that your team may not have the cash luxury of doing this.
But this is a great time to get creative. A great time to see how we can bring value that moves the needle without spending a lot.
The people’s champ is everything the people can’t be…you have a following, signed jerseys, players, and a rabid fanbase that wants to help.
Be the people’s champ in what may be one of the darkest times in our lives for business.