2017 Sponsorship Forecast: 4 Key Takeaways From the January SMCC Breakfast Forum

The first SMCC Breakfast forum of 2017 kicked off this Wednesday at Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto’s South Core. The crowd of over 200 partner marketing professionals, all bushy tailed and bright eyed, were ready to say goodbye to 2016 and gain some insight from industry leaders into what was in store for 2017!

The presenters for the morning represented some of the industry's most talented senior executives representing organizations including Bell Media, Bank of Montreal, PepsiCo, and BBDO. The speakers didn't disappoint and dished out a dose of trends to look for in the year ahead. Among the many presentations during the breakfast forum, a few key learnings really stuck out.

(Speakers from Left to Right)

Alyson Walker (Vice President, Brand Partnerships at Bell Media)

Josh Epstein (Managing Director, Sponsorship at Bank of Montreal)

Claudia Calderon (Senior Director, Marketing at PepsiCo)

Ed Caffyn (Senior Vice President, Account Planner, Group Director at BBDO)

Don’t be afraid to get Emotional

From Scotiabank’s sponsorship of Hockey Day in Canada to Canadian Tire’s support of Team Canada during Rio 2016, driving an emotional connection with the consumer was top priority. Emotional advertising that pulled at the heart strings helped these brands cultivate affinity with their consumers while stoking the flames of National Pride. In 2017, this trend is destined to stick around. With Canada 150 celebrations underway, hitting a climax in the middle of the year, you can expect companies large and small to wrap themselves in the maple leaf while stirring up feelings that hit the heart! But Pride, joy and love aren’t the only emotions worthy of pursuit; as Ed Caffyn, Senior VP at BBDO pointed out “Anger is also energy” and after global events of 2016, it’s hard to disagree with the success of appealing to it. Who will be the brave companies to go where only a select group of politicians have dared to go and use it as a consumer acquisition strategy? Stick around, we are about to find out.

Honing in on Heritage

This year, Canada celebrates it’s 150th birthday, Canadians across the country are not only feeling proud but also introspective on what it means to be Canadian and about their own heritage. Many stories of heritage will be told this year; these stories will not only appeal to national pride but also serve as a way to assert one company’s “Canadianness” over the other and turn pride into purchases. But proceed with caution; there will be no shortage of opportunities to slap a maple leaf logo on digital or physical collateral, as Claudia Calderon of PepsiCo warns, authenticity in story telling will separate the winners from the losers in this high stakes game of Canadian Roulette.

Next Level FOMO

Instagram Stories – Live and Facebook Live will take FOMO to a whole new level in 2017, like if it wasn’t bad enough already! As companies continue to focus on experiential marketing to showcase their products, the advent and ease of live streaming will amplify the impact of these experiences even further. With so many eyes now on your experiential activation, the experience now becomes the message. This however can be a double edge sword, if your participation as a sponsor of XXX event does not live up to the hype or just falls flat, then everyone will know. On the other hand if you knock the experience out of the proverbial park, then everyone will know! Either way, have a plan in place to capitalize or dampen the blow.

Content Reigns Supreme….Again

There is not much that needs to be said here that you haven’t already heard. The “Ecosystem of Creation” as Alyson Walker, VP of Brand Partnership at Bell Media points out, can always be refined.

The Next SMCC Forum breakfast takes place March 1st! Don’t miss out.