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Is Organic Really Better For You?

Dawn Turner's picture

Organic is a word we hear more and more in all aspects of our lives. Believe it or not, it also has relevance to sponsorships, and when considered can really boost impact for a brand partner.

One of the reasons brands engage in sponsorships is to borrow equity properties have with their fans/customers. If brands align themselves with properties that have qualities relevant to the specific segments of the population they are interested in, statistics show that fans of the properties will prefer their brand over the competition. When communicated properly, this could mean a boost in brand strength and/or revenue for the brand. If done poorly, any or all of these benefits could potentially be lost.

It can be challenging, but the properties that master this skill should see an increase in revenue over time because brands will know their money is well-spent. For example, how does a football team offer organically include a message from the team’s official pickle? I know this might sound silly, however a message given within the context of a pre-game tailgate or home-based watch parties might just be what’s needed to organically connect the team to the fans then to the brand. When the brand message is delivered in the most organic, relevant way, fans are open to receiving the message and the brand will know they have reached those fans as potential customers. Throw in a couponing option and the brand is now on its way to identifying specific new and existing customers that share the same passion, and offering a direct way for them to engage with the brand.

This leads to my next thought. When a property considers their fans as customers of their sponsor brands, organic ways of reaching various segments become more apparent. If properties approached their fan/customer base with the lens their brand partners use, the marketing/communications would be organically woven into the property’s overall marketing plan. When utilizing a brand’s customer segmentation research, it is important to see where their customer segments intersect with property customer segments and look for clusters that are unique.

The keys here are pre-planning, ensuring the marketing and sales teams on the property side are well-connected and plan together, and that the property understands the objectives of the brand and includes them in the conversations well ahead of planning. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning. Once properties have their plans solidified it becomes very difficult to create organic ways for brand messaging to be included. In this scenario, the properties and brands need to very carefully plan out a proper course of action. If the message isn’t woven in organically, fans will not find it authentic and the brand may see a backlash. Organic messaging is also pertinent for individual athlete/entertainer endorsements. Individuals that don’t use products can talk about them, but they won’t come across as passionate and authentic.

How do you know if what you are doing is right? Here are some questions to think about to get you started and make sure you are on the right path:

Property
-Are my sales and marketing teams linked? How much do we integrate sales/sponsors into our marketing decisions?
-Have I asked my sponsors if they have any customer segmentation research they can share? Have they told me what is most important for them right now and in the future?
-How can we help our brand contact (who may not be an expert on our property) explore the best ways to integrate their brand messages into our programming so they stay relevant to our fans?
-Am I currently alienating any of my sponsors because we have conflicting objectives/messages?

Brand
-Have I shared my company’s current objectives and customer segmentation research with my property contacts?
-Do my property contacts include us in their planning?
-How can we integrate our brand messages so they are relevant to our properties and their fans?

We all know that fans/customers are tech savvy these days, and the ongoing evolution of tools available online make it very easy for them to keep track of their favorite teams, entertainers, athletes, etc. Any perceived faux pas could be detrimental to all parties, so hopefully some of these key points can be incorporated to create successful partnerships.

Please send topic ideas to me via twitter @dawtrnr

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