How to Win the 2014 Sponsorship Race

When attending a sponsorship breakfast forum hosted by the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada, http://www.sponsorshipmarketing.ca/about/ there was a large focus on what can be expected in the sponsorship world for 2014. This breakfast featured some of Canada’s most successful sponsorship agencies, brands, and properties. Overall, there was one common theme reiterated throughout – “content is key”. It will be imperative for partners and properties to create emotional, interesting and interactive content that will entice the audience to participate. In order to get this information out to the consumer, the most creative concepts may win the battle. Some trends to look out for are: In arena WiFi, and content rich campaigns.

In arena WiFi

In the United States it is very common to enter a large arena, stadium, or field and receive full access to free WiFi. There are obvious opportunities for the WiFi companies to be the “Official WiFi Provider” of the facility, but there are also tremendous opportunities for other sponsors to integrate digital into their portfolios. Some teams such as Everton FC, Seattle Mariners, and Stanford University, have already had success with in-game fan interactions via social media, by working with a company called Tagboard. This program allows a social media manager to unify all related posts with a specific hashtag, and post them live on a digital or video board creating an up/down experience for fans in attendance and at home. (Here is a case study on how the Seattle Mariners have used Tagboard and the tremendous response they have received -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg4ybx2mSoY )

The NFL has notified team owners that there will be regulations in 2014 requiring every person in attendance have access to WiFi signal that is strong enough to access social media sites, browse statistics websites, and send text messages. This is revolutionary and provides a mountain of options for sponsors to increase their brand presence and consumer interactions. For example, if a company placed a contest on the video board at an NFL game requiring the fans to send a picture via Twitter on WiFi, the chances of fan participation will grow immensely when fans know they will not have to use any of their mobile data allowance. It will be exciting and interesting to see the creative ways brands and agencies utilize the fan’s free access to WiFi in 2014.

Content Rich Campaigns

There has been a lot of buzz and chatter around the Molson Canadian campaign that features two friends bringing a Molson Canadian beer fridge to their friend in Indonesia who is a huge hockey fan. Molson successfully leveraged its Canadian Olympic Team sponsorship to fuel this campaign, and has received a lot of media attention and positive feedback. This may be an expensive venture, but it has potential to affect people emotionally and create positive brand recognition. They have created an excellent all-encompassing campaign including a highly successful social media initiative, driven by their hashtag, #anythingforhockey. By telling a story that your consumers want to listen to and want to connect with, you can generate brand evangelists that will in turn promote your product or service.

Google has recently announced its update to the algorithms will have a strong focus on clear, concise and quality of content. With this in mind we will see a lot of quality content produced and 2014 has potential to be the most exciting and innovative years yet for the sponsorship industry.