Mel Moss describes how social media can be used to create an extraordinary value exchange between brands, customers and sponsorships.
Brands have always struggled to leverage investments in sponsorship beyond the traditional one-dimensional approach, which involves plastering logos across signage at a sports match or on the surrounding streets.
The reason? For starters, it is incredibly hard to measure and report on the ROI of this investment and secondly, it is difficult to build a loyal supporter base that really engages with and believes in the brand.
So how can we build meaningful sponsorship campaigns that create deep engagement and a loyal customer base be it for our clients or the company we work for?
While it is no secret that social media marketing is taking over traditional tactics, especially with the pandemic pushing more people online, it comes down to how we use the platforms and create a value exchange for both brands and customers that is both genuine and personalised.
Personalising content on social media gives brands the opportunity to interact differently with multiple target audience groups and create a deep and meaningful connection that reaches far beyond a mere transactional exchange. However, this content also needs to be genuine. In other words, we need to start with the brand’s problem when it comes to sponsorship and look to solve this through emotion, empathy and connection.
To begin with, it is important that the campaign is built using data from all key relationships that the team, brand or organisation has in place (we refer to this as the sponsorship ecosystem) – this will provide a clear picture of who the consumers are and how they interact with the social media channels being utilised for the campaign.
With data and partnerships in place, the next step is all about identifying and utilising influencers to build trust and amplify the idea. This can be achieved by partnering with influencers who connect with the idea of the campaign or by using them in the campaign content (not just as amplifiers) — so there is a real connection and genuine personal investment.
As the campaign builds, you will be able to put more budget behind the influencers and content that resonates the most with targeted consumers – giving you more bang for your buck and insight into the actions they are taking. E.g when clicks to the website are made.
A recent successful example of being innovative with social media sponsorship is Schick’s Everyday Ballers campaign. Schick has been sponsoring the New Zealand secondary school basketball championships for a number of years. However, engagement with the brand stopped at product hand-outs at tournaments and brand awareness via signage — there was no genuine connection made.
Focusing on social media to recognise and celebrate the very essence of basketball, Schick created a campaign around the unsung heroes in sports — the parents taking their kids to practice, the box score watchers and the jersey collectors.
The social media campaign, which used personalised graphics and emotional video to search for 30 everyday basketball influencers captured the imagination of ballers across the country. Thousands of entries rolled in thanks to the genuine idea — each better than the last, and the authenticity of the ballers that were uncovered was phenomenal. This resulted in incredible user-generated content (UGC) and ongoing influencers for both brands.
The campaign reached over 680,000 Kiwis on social media alone with thousands of applications to be a Schick Everyday Baller received. Ongoing, Schick now has 30 plus genuine influencers from the campaign who are not only interested in working with the brand again but have a genuine, engaged following through their own social media channels.
As Schick’s campaign demonstrates, sponsorship on social media needs to be purpose-led, specific and clear, with a campaign idea that’s centred around the end goal. For Schick, their incentive was the idea and the idea was the incentive, which worked exceptionally well in generating UGC that could be used well into the future.
The benefits are clear
- Get more bang for your buck out of sponsorship investments (without throwing more money at naming rights)
- Create an environment where consumers can actually take an action with your brand sponsorship
- Connect sponsorship (which is traditionally hard to report on in terms of ROI) to your marketing objectives
- And finally, create a genuine emotional connection with your brand that lasts, and lasts… and lasts.