Ok, we are past citing that it will be a new world when we come out of this. Obviously, things won’t be normal for a long time…especially in sports.
It’s time to take action, adjust, and make sure we aren’t the team that sat idly by as the world changed. It’s time to assess how we can help and provide for our sponsors.
And there are a few places we can focus on while we look to create a strategy for when games come back.
This past week on The Inches Podcast Rich Franklin & I dove into how you can prepare for the new world and create assets that fit your sponsor, fans, and arena needs.
You can listen to the full episode HERE, but I’ve outlined a few of the key things you from the episode that you should look at.
Looking past the 30–60–90 day plan: How does the new world look?
Hopefully, by now you have made your plan organizationally to push through this time and have a game plan. If you haven’t Check Out This Article on how to do that.
Within that time I think it is vital to map out what the new world looks like for your sponsors, fans, & building.
Unlike other recessions, this one involves social distancing. We are getting used to staying away from each other.
Overall it will be vital to dive into how each element of your sponsorship assets have changed with the pandemic as well as how your sponsor’s game plan has changed.
This is what we’ll dive into today. How you can see the holes and adjust.
Your assets will need to change because fan habits will change
We don’t know what will happen socially to us as humans when this is done, but as I said this is a pandemic. We are being conditioned to stay away from each other in order not to spread the virus.
If I had to bet, there will be some spillage into this when our games come back.
As Rich chats about, the opening week with sports back should see stadiums full of people as we’ve been deprived of sports for so long. BUT I do think after that opening weekend there will be hesitation to go out into big crowds.
So how can this affect our sponsorship assets? Well, a couple of items to think about.
First, we may see lower attendance numbers, to begin with when games get started. This obviously hurts our in-stadium signage. Fewer fans mean fewer people seeing the signs which is something that sponsors are paying for.
Second, a lot of our activations are experienced-based. I’m thinking about the Party Decks, in-stadium lounges, and booths that we constantly interact with on a human-to-human basis.
Again with a pandemic, we need to see and think about how these assets may change and be transparent about it with our partners. Some who were looking to buy these spaces may have some reservations now as they may sit empty.
In addition, there will be a recession with this. Does that mean we will see fewer fans at the game? Probably, unless we can offer some sort of ticketing deal through the sponsor.
What this also can mean is your digital assets are much more important. A couple of reasons for this, but the big thing is digital assets are more trackable than others. This means that your in-stadium assets may need to come down in price while your digital comes to the forefront as brands with less cash might need to see a direct ROI on their assets.
This doesn’t mean we get rid of them, it means we have a conversation with our sponsors to make sure the asset is still something they think can help their brand AND be clear with them that there may be less use from fans as the season starts.
If you set this up early with your sponsors it shows a couple of things. First, the fact that you are thinking of the sponsor first in the process. Second, it sets up the expectation that there may be a decline in use.
What I think is most important not to underscore here is perception is the reality in most cases. Even if fans will use these assets throughout the season, you may get questions on these assets.
Overall what we need to do is look through all of our physical assets and ask the question “How does this asset shift in the new world.”
Is it better? Is it worse? What concerns will sponsors have with the asset?
If you can see this coming you can adjust in time, answer the concerns, and be in the driver’s seat for handling any concerns from your sponsors.
It is a must to go through all of your assets and have a real conversation about how they do in the new world.
Your sponsor’s needs will change because the economic environment will change
We can’t assume everything is back to normal and the same needs our sponsors had will be the same.
Market environments, customer needs, industry cutbacks, all of these things need to be analyzed in order to understand.
And of course, the first step is talking with your partners. As we’ve said before if you haven’t called your sponsors…call them now and see how you can help.
But overall your team needs to take the time to look at all of your sponsors, look at the industry forces affecting them, and look to understand how you can help them in the new world.
An example that I keep bringing up is our restaurant partners. They are experiencing cash flow issues now…but the worst is not here yet.
If you look at the surveys across the board people are saying that they are less likely to go out to eat post-pandemic for a couple of reasons, economically and health-related.
This means that we need to shift our assets from maybe signage to items that will drive people to restaurants to eat. This could be loyalty programs, coupons, player appearances, anything that gets fans into the restaurant and back in the habit of eating at their location.
So what can I tactically do?
Your sponsorship team should be looking at all of your sponsors, make a list, and underneath write up how their industry and world have changed.
Then, once you understand how their world has changed, re-build their packages to help them navigate in the new world.
If you understand this for each sponsor you can diagnose the best assets needed for your sponsorship to be successful in their new world.
If you do this, you can do what 90% of advertising companies can’t/won’t do. You can be the guiding light that shows them how to get ahead.
Understanding both of these will get your team ahead.
When games start back up we will be in a new set of goals, social norms, and buying habits. If you can be the team that took this into account you can be more successful coming out on the other end.
You can be the team that cared for and totally understood their needs.
You can be the one they want to go through this time with.
It is vital for your team to assess and adjust your offering for both your assets AND your customer needs. If you can do this, you will win.
Get started today.