Community Based Sponsorship – Everybody wins!

I was recently invited to submit an insight piece to SponsorshipMag, here is the soon to be published article on an emerging trend in our industry for the new year:…

2011 has seen the traditional focus of Sponsors shift from eyeballs and media exposure to community programs and riding this wave is the biggest opportunity for rights holders in 2012.

Sponsorship has always sat in the arsenal of ambitious CMOs but increasingly brand-conscious CEOs or socially responsible Corporate Affairs teams have been beating the sponsorship drum to their Boards. It is easy to dismiss this trend as a PR exercise – branding is still king for many sponsors. However, the critical trend in Australia is the entry of resources businesses into sport. Our economy means the mining, coal seam gas and machinery sectors are now priority categories for rights holders.

In my former life at Manchester United, our proposition was global, every sponsor had a different target ‘community’. But in this country and particularly here in the Hunter, we can be genuine in our focus on our own backyard. Being not-for-profit and giving back to local families means something to sponsors and has seen new major sponsors underwrite affordable ticketing, fund medical research, promote indigenous employment, launch rail safety programs and support sport in schools.

Getting ‘Community’ right is not easy. The investment must be significant, long-term and relevant. In 2012, combining sponsorship with meaningful bespoke community impact will drive up sponsorship revenue for rights holders and drive real return for sponsors. Whether the focus is on health, the environment, education, indigenous relations or safety, when sponsors engage with integrity, for the right reasons, everybody wins.


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