Last week we briefly discussed how sponsorship is evolving with time and how it’s no longer about paying a lump sum amount to a sports club to have your brand logo displayed on their T-shirts and several places within the arena. Why brands decide to get into practising sponsorship may have many different answers. The primary agenda for a brand to get into a sponsorship arrangement may range from something as basic as increasing the brand awareness or visibility to something as complicated as establishing themselves in unfamiliar markets or creating brand advocacy among specific target groups.
When a brand decides to involve itself in sponsorship, the two big questions that arise are ‘Which property to associate with?’ and ‘What kind of a partnership to get into?’ The decision regarding these two extremely important questions is made based on what is the real agenda of the brand. The result that the brand expects to achieve determines where the brand invests and how much. The strategies deployed by a 'love brand' will be completely different to let's say a local brand which only operates within a city or a region. Similarly, sponsorship strategies applied by a brand that’s looking to enter a new market will be different from a brand that’s looking to build brand advocacy within an existing market.
So, that means no two sponsorship activities are comparable. Which also suggests that no two sponsorships can be measured and evaluated in the same manner. But how can you really evaluate sponsorship? But how do you know a sponsorship undertaken by the brand was successful or not? Some would say by checking if they achieved what they had planned to achieve while starting the association. Well yes, but not all sponsorship agendas are tangibles that can be straightforward measured. There are some intangible agendas as well. For example, how do you measure if brand advocacy has risen within a particular target group due to a specific activity? It’s definitely difficult.
That is why for sponsorship, just like any other marketing strategy, designing and deciding on customised KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is necessary to measure the Return on Investment (ROI). These KPIs, if designed well, can be used to measure both tangible as well as intangible parameters and their impact on the overall agenda of the campaign. In today’s digital world, where everything is available at fingertips to people, it’s become even easier for brands to collect sufficient data to evaluate and assess their KPIs. But when it comes to data, it’s always more the merrier. Sponsorships, as we go ahead, are becoming more data-driven and henceforth, we can expect to see more and more digital activations by sponsors and even use of more digital tools in order to generate more data so as to drive the efficiency of the campaigns up.