Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Thunderstix are hugely popular amongst sports fans in stadium and particularly in indoor arenas. They are often provided free of charge by a sponsor, and add to the fun had amongst an energetic mob of fans. Although for some, they are just loud and annoying!
Stickers, key-rings, posters, caps, drink bottles, wrist-bands, visors, magnets, inflatables, balls, vouchers, coupons, food, banners, super large hands, scarves, ribbons – you name it, it has been given away as a sponsor promotion.
For years sport sponsors have been handing out all sorts of paraphernalia emblazoned with logos. But the question often asked is how do we measure the return on investment of this initiative?
Marketing collateral is just one of a number of tangible assets that can be measured in BrandAdvantage’s valuation methodology. Here today is an inside look at all the variables taken into account when valuing a item of marketing collateral.
The starting point for any financial return on investment is the starting price and in this case, the cost of producing 10, 000 Thunderstix.
The next variable is the ‘Audience Awareness Engagement’. This relates the percentage of the audience that receives the marketing collateral that actively engages with it. So in this case 74% of the audience loved the Thunderstix, the other 26% threw them away (and were probably annoyed at the noise they made!). This variable is typically derived from Fan surveys.
The ‘Item Engagement’ rating is a crucial factor and made up of three sub-factors. Firstly, the ‘Sponsor Ownership’ relates to the prominence of branding. Some giveaways are in a Team’s colours with only a small sponsor logo. Other items have no mention of the Team but feature the sponsor logo quite prominently.
‘Usage Type’ relates to an individual’s engagement with the item. Do they look at it for 5 seconds and then throw it away? Is it something that they will use? Or is it something they can or would wear?
The ‘Lifetime’ of the item is also important as something that is kept and used again is of more value than something kept for the duration of the event.
As with all BrandAdvantage’s methodologies, we also take into account the exclusivity of the opportunity, as well as strategic factors such as the target market the event audience match and the hand on usage ( who is that audience) and the strategic objectives.
So there you have it - an inside look at all the variables used to value marketing collateral. Please note that there are a number of calculations based on proprietary research in the ‘Audience Awareness Engagement’ and ‘Item Engagement’ variables that we have not divulged for competitive reasons.market
Leveraging your sponsorship - how much do you have to spend?
The above question is always top of mind with most marketers when it comes to the issue of confronting the full cost of sponsorship.
There is no doubt that the rights payment to purchase a sponsorship of any type is simply the “entry point” cost and more investment will be required.
The questions of, “How much more will the total programme cost?” followed by “where will we find the additional monies from?” are the big elephants in the room.
Many people quote percentages or ratios to spend in relation to the rights purchase price, but again this is massively influenced by:
How smartly the rights package has been purchased and the benefit and entitlements that it includes and:
- How deeply the engagement will be driven throughout the organisation and therefore the intent of the activation.
- The same point also applies to the Brands above the line engagement with the sponsorship and the territory it covers.
There really are no formulas or magic numbers. Clearly the smaller the cost of the rights fees, the higher the ratio of spend will be to leverage the activity. The reverse also applies, as the rights fee grows in cost by territory.
There is however some simple tasks in cost planning for activation funding development that everybody should consider:
- If you are undertaking a brand sponsorship then you will have to ensure it can be integrated into the company’s marketing and if it can, be then there are budgets that you can tap into:
- The current media budget can be used to drive awareness of your sponsors and your sponsorship status, by including the sponsorship logo and your status in your current media…costs nothing other than productions set up.
- Website; The Website of the company or brand is also pre-paid media and based upon your business or brand market segment can again drive both awareness of your sponsorship and activation delivery.
- Data Bases; so many companies have data bases that relate to either their customers or consumers, so:
* Brand those communications with the sponsorship
* Establish regular messaging about the sponsorship and build in customer or consumer relevance
* Staff; Ensuring that your staff are committed and engaged is key as staff are the companies/brand’s ambassadors. They are your most convincing “media” when they are talking to customers/clients/potential employees.
* Seek to find your most engaged staff and make them part of the programme. They could build the useful and informing facts about the sponsorship that could be included in your emails, mailers to trade, customers etc and to other staff
* Customer or Client engagement; Families are a very important audience for customers and clients, so you don’t need to drive major hospitality to engage, but think about building unique customer family experiences, which can be a “change out” of current activities and undertakings. Then create experiences, like customer or clients kids training/coaching programmes with barbeque lunches for the parents
* Trade Programmes; Ensure that you obtain the best level of pass through rights so that you can build both trade and customer activation programmes, allowing rewards and benefits for these groups and in turn allow them to engage their customers.
* Social Media and Public; This needs to be carefully managed, but constructed within the current marketing resources there should be the ability to create, develop and build,
- Facebook and Twitter activities
- Plus direct links and pages with your sponsors site and activities
- Look at the cross marketing with your partner sponsors
* Emails; as we all communicate mainly with emails it is a very simple task to use your emails as a medium, include the sponsorship logo and your status in your emails for all staff, from the CEO down
* Vehicles; If you have service vehicles or vehicle fleets of any kind they are billboards and using removable branding they can deliver more media impact for very little cost
There are many more components that can be added and undertaken without demanding huge leveraging budgets and making the ability to take on a sponsorship a cost that is not affordable.
This approach can enable a company to take on a position that allows it to be seen as being a much larger sponsor than they are. It can also allow a company to purchase a smaller rights fee position but still create a highly impactful solution.
The cost of the cost of the total programme is all about the content and components of the leverage and action the company engages and the desired presence you wish to create…there is no ratio of spend v/s rights cost, as the full costs is about intent to engage and the commitment to maximise the outcomes.
The “Engagement Factor” of television sponsorship - does anyone watching really care?
One of the benefits that sponsorship measurement can afford its supporters, is to not only understand the value of the “Media Brand Impact” of the sponsorship, including the locations on the screen, size of branding on screen, the impact of clutter on you brand, time on screen, promotional impact, scrolling text, and much more, but fully employed Media Sponsorship measurement can also tell you if anyone that has viewed the shows really connect and cared about your brand. In other words did they engage?
A few years ago in partnership with Nielsen Media Research we enabled identifying not only the media brand impact of all the tangible components of the media sponsorship, but we could define the awareness, consideration, trialing, and propensity to purchase.
We can establish the real worth of your sponsorship stepping it out of a straight media buy, plus strategic solutions in how to leverage and active Media Sponsorship to enhancing success. Media sponsorship is a chance for brand positioning, awareness, product demonstration, exclusivity an interaction with a specific audience, but this all needs to be leveraged to engage the real brand value of Media Sponsorship.
To really make this point we undertook a job for a client where we discovered the audience was 60% unaware of who the programme sponsor was – and their name was in the title of the program! It was the nation’s leading broadcaster and the brand had absolute exclusivity. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of the sponsorship cost was wasted. A lot of this could have been adverted, because buying a media sponsorship is not like buying an ad schedule, it needs to be leveraged, activated and measured.
Yes, Media Sponsorship really can be measured! And believe me you really do need to know if you investment is wording…not only in simple awareness terms, but in actual engagement terms that drives a set of goals and outcomes be they;
- Awareness tracking
- Feature demonstration
- New model introduction
- Real use involvement
- Driving in store traffic
- Partnerships with supporting brands
- And more…without a fully designed leveraged activated and measured programme you will never know if anyone really cared
There is no right or wrong time to value your sponsorship and in fact the only thing that is wrong is not to independently value it at all. When the cost is so small to undertake a full ROI or ROO valuation the risk of not engaging a sound and robust measurement approach, and the related processes is substantial.
After all, no one would in their right mind would commit to undertaking a major media campaign without gaining the expertise of their agency or media shop. Who would commit to a major corporate development like a new distribution centre without first fully understanding all the impacting dynamics? Why therefore, should sponsorship be any different? Whilst I hear you say, “hey I have been doing this for years, so I know what I am doing”, employing measurement tools is a smart move as it can help you in gain an independent understanding of both the tangibles and intangible aspects of the sponsorship, which is not possible without engaging sound economic modelling and accessing all market data.
Using measurement can deliver you a great deal more than just an overall monitory ‘Value’; it is a powerful tool in:
- Helping to set KPI’s for both the sponsor and the property
- Evaluating if you should commit to the sponsorship
- Ensuring that the sponsorship you have committed to is working, and if not understand what parts are not and how to change it
- When evaluating a sponsorship understand which elements of the benefits are right for a sponsor or for the property to sell to that client, so you buy the elements that are right for each party
- Allows you to understand the audience types both internal and external and how best to engage with them
- Maximise the value and how you should structure the sports, arts or entertainment properties sponsorship offering
It will save you time in the overall process
- Allow a constancy of approach and methodology to the process
With over 670 external and 580 internal measurement points and over 200 valuations delivered for brands, sports, art/cultural events, venues, teams, and athletes, have been performed by BrandAdvantage. Measurement is not a guess, but a sound, market based analysis using specialist processes and systems.
There are several groups offering this type of service, and who can deliver real answers, but make sure that this is not a process of information that goes into some black box and outcomes some answers. It is important for all parties to understand the processes and the data measurement points, ensuring their relevance and that you have the ability to implement in an on-going measureable manner.