Matching Your Partner’s Brand To Your Sponsorship Assets

Last week on The Inches we dove into a topic that I think doesn’t get enough love in the sponsorship world but is vital to the success of our partnerships with brands.

Many times we look at brands and think “What asset can I get them to buy?”

Overall this is the worst way to look at it, mainly because every brand has its own story that you need to match your assets and packages.

This week Rich has a few tips to make sure the assets you offer really match your sponsor’s brand & goals.

Listen to the whole episode HERE. Below are a few highlights from the episode.

To find the fit, you need to find the goal first

Whether the client is coming to you OR you are going to the client, once you establish the interest the next step is to understand the goal of the sponsor.

Is it sell more tires? Is it to drive website visits? Is it to drive sales calls?

Understanding this will help massively is your talks to figure out a fit in the brand. This is because brand stories are built to take a position toward a goal.

If a tire company wants to sell tires, they don’t just say “buy our tires at our stores” (well some do, and they don’t sell tires so well). They tell a story for why you should buy your tires, sometimes it revolves around reliability, sometimes a story of service, but always a story.

This is what makes tires from a commodity to something more, something you would look for more than the lowest price.

Understanding this is vital to understanding brand fit. If you understand the goal, you can understand how you can shape the story around your assets.

The Les Schwab Fanboni example

Rich brings up a great example of how the Winterhawks synced up with Les Schwab to create the Fanboni sponsorship.

To start for all those not familiar with hockey, the Zamboni cleans the ice in between hockey periods in the game. Think of a groomer for ice.

The Winterhawks have a Fanboni, where they allow fans to ride on the Fanboni and get on the ice. A great experience for fans and group ticket buyers, a lot of families there.

This was a perfect fit for Les Schwab. When you think about Les Schwab Tires you think reliability, you think family-friendly, you think great customer service. They have built that into their advertising story.

The goal of Les Schwab is obviously to sell tires, but they want to push a great experience around reliability to build a relationship beyond the tires.

This is why the Fanboni makes so much sense for them

  1. It is an automobile, so more than a rink board, it drives the fit around tires & cars
  2. It pushes reliability, the Fanboni is always out there…it never misses a game
  3. It pushes a great experience. The fans always look happy on it, having a great time. The experience Les Schwab wants to push

This fits their brand AND drives the sale of tires. When your tire goes flat, the Les Schwab Fanboni will be the first thing that pops into their heads. Les Schwab has just won in being the top option for your tires.

By understanding their goal and story you can craft an asset that fits it. A rink board may work for Les Schwab (which they have)…but the Fanboni is the pinnacle fit for that brand.

So you have your metrics, and you think you’ve found a fit…you’re done, right? NOPE

This is a process, as Rich mentions. You may have found the fit that you think fits the brand and goal, but you need to always be tracking and adjusting.

A big example was our Toyota Winterhawks Trivia Live contest at SQWAD with the Winterhawks. Toyota wanted a way to connect fans with the brand and dealers digitally. So we put together a package that included a mobile trivia contest.

It worked really well during the beginning of the season but around mid-season, we started seeing a plateau in usage.

From there we adjusted prizing, mainly with the Prizing Triangle, and it worked. Adjustments help you stay on goal and on target.

But the KEY here was the adjustment. Not abandoning the process, understanding what went well, and didn’t adjust to ensure the fit was still there for the goal.

Understand that nothing things will go right and wrong, you may get the fit wrong at first…but staying on goal and brand with the sponsor.

Transparency is the key as you push towards a fit

Rich brings up a great point here in this episode that I think goes a long way toward the deals you close. We may think that when things aren’t going well we want to stall and hope they get better to report.

You should be keeping your client in the loop all year about the goal, what’s going well, what’s going not so well, and the goal is still on the radar.

Being in sync with your partner helps bring focus, ideas, and trust between the two of you toward the goal.

Make sure you are keeping the partner up to date with your activation & adjustments.

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