The Impact and Importance of Sponsorship Relationships Author: Savy Huynh

The events of 2020 served to prove the importance of a company’s ability to adapt, to be flexible, and to be resilient and committed in the face of adversity. They also showed just how important it is to invest in good sponsorship relationships. A good relationship of any kind means that both parties communicate effectively and can openly discuss their individual and mutual challenges and opportunities. A good sponsorship relationship is no different in this respect.

In the corporate world, there are generally two types of sponsorships. One is transactional, in which a sponsor pays for something direct, but if they don’t receive what they paid for, the debt could be forgiven or the payment refunded. The second type of sponsorship is a more professionally effective long-term sponsorship relationship. These relationships are based on close collaborations between a sponsor and a sponsee designed to meet business objectives for both parties. In an effective sponsorship relationship, when it is not possible for one of the parties to deliver the agreed-upon product or service, the mutual collaboration will eventually work itself out in an amicable manner.

The reality is there will be many sponsors who simply cannot continue their sponsorships due to the pandemic. Some businesses are fighting for survival and will have no choice but to cut back on sponsorship expenses. Those who can continue to invest in some capacity will come out of this stronger and it is important to remember why brands enter into a sponsorship relationship in the first place, so if a sponsor does have a choice and is still doubting their sponsorship commitment, it would be worth looking into the relationship between both parties.

Sponsors should be reviewing all their current and planned marketing activity to ensure it remains relevant. In the wake of the pandemic, many events had to be postponed or canceled. Those corporations without good sponsorship relationships suffered and lost potential revenue and profits. Corporations with good sponsorship relationships worked together effectively to adapt and achieve success. They knew that regular check-ins and simply keeping up with current events to be more proactive would yield positive results. Sponsors should be speaking to their rights-holders and vendor partners on a regular basis to understand the current situation, the contingency options, and most importantly, the needs of their audience at any given time. Understanding audience expectations is vital so that sponsors can overcome challenges and create new assets and opportunities that would otherwise have been lost through the lack of live events.

Companies in the eCommerce, logistics and delivery, video conferencing, and digital entertainment industries thrived during the pandemic and most new sponsorship opportunities that emerged over the last year are in digital forms. Moving all your eggs into a single ‘digital’ basket such as social media platforms, however, could prove equally troublesome if those channels were to become unavailable through one means or another. A diverse yet balanced portfolio is the key to success.

Brands and their sponsors need to start preparing now for when things do return to normal. Be ready to take advantage of any extra branding that can be offered in “we missed you”, “welcome back”, and “thank you” messaging campaigns. For example, consider how empty stands at any sporting event can become additional branding assets. The team bench has become a main focal point for TV cameras and photo ops, so when fans are welcomed back into the stadiums, what extra messages, banners, and signs can be created for them in the areas surrounding the team bench? In times of crisis, we can benefit greatly by learning from the hardships and discovering new areas of potential and growth.

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Created By
Savy Huynh


Created with images by karosieben - "balloons sky love" • MetsikGarden - "color desktop paper" • Chronomarchie - "purse wallet money" • LAWJR - "stadium seats seating" • Pixelkult - "media social media apps" • paulbr75 - "open sign sign signage"