Can short-term sponsorship deals ever be made to work effectively? The Marketing Society Forum

Following the club's relegation from the Premier League, Birmingham City FC has been unable to find a shirt sponsor and will start the new season offering the space on a game-by-game basis.

MAYBE - SAJ ARSHAD, GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR, VODAFONE

For us, sponsorship is a marriage, not a one-night stand. We associate with rights-holders to build brand equity over a long period and secure assets that will engage our customers around their passions. However, for other brands, short-term deals can be good tactical and promotional tools.

Personal endorsements are great examples. Look at Kellogg and Chris Hoy after the Beijing Olympics, or Renault Clio and Rihanna's forthcoming tour. Well-selected individuals matched to the brand's values and leveraged at the right time can help shift consumer perceptions.

Short-term deals can also allow 'opportunistic' brands to associate with a team or event that they normally could not afford - look at how Wonga capitalised on Blackpool's elevation to the Premier League last year. It saw an opportunity and took it. However, the activity must be integrated within the wider marketing communication strategy to maximise the benefits on any deal.

YES - TRACEY FOLLOWS, HEAD OF PLANNING, VCCP

Yes, but only if done well, with a deep understanding of the way in which you are 'trading' your property, and how to target the right brands for the right matches to deliver the right message.

In a world that is moving from 'macro' to 'micro' on all levels, this match-by-match move is no surprise. It allows brands that could never afford to sponsor a full season to grab consumer attention for the moment, or month, that is most relevant to their audience.

Brands' sponsorship strategies need to change; to complement long-term strategies that build associations over time, one should also be able to pursue short-term opportunities: to choose to target very relevant one-off events that, by their topicality, can create short-term interest in an attentive audience.

How different is this from doing an activation in a cinema to tie in with that week's new release, which is different from the one the next week? It's not. It's topical, relevant and, potentially, more memorable. But let's call it what it is: not sponsorship, but promotion.

NO - FIONA BRIERLEY, HEAD OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS, STRUTT & PARKER

To do sponsorship well takes time, as it does to build any meaningful or rewarding relationship. The organisation needs to be behind the activity; your people must understand and buy into it. Awareness and relevance of it has to be built carefully among your audience, so you 'own' the association, reap the reputational rewards and, ultimately, justify the investment. This takes time.

As one of the biggest UK land-management firms, we sponsor the theatre at the annual CLA Game Fair, which hosts high-profile debates on the UK rural economy, countryside and farming. This is a great promotion of our land agency and farming business, as it underlines our scale and expertise in this area. Our presence, profile and business from this event has grown significantly over time, as we've learned how to make the most of this relationship and leverage this opportunity.

The Birmingham shirt deal, by comparison, seems more of a one-night stand than a proper relationship and, potentially, just as unsatisfactory.

NO - EMMA ROFFEY, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, CISCO

The problem is with 'short term', not 'sponsorship'. You may want to boost the fame of your brand through an association, but surely brand relevancy and increased levels of intention to buy are really the end game?

Take a brand like Cisco. Many people say 'I've heard of Cisco; what does it do again'? Brand relevance does not come overnight. It would be hard to imagine a short-term sponsorship achieving that. I'm sure there are times when such deals tick all the boxes, but that's like love at first sight - you've heard of it, but it seldom works for your friends.

Successful sponsorship must be about a long-term association with someone or something that is a part of the lives of your relevant audience. Through that association you hope that they will get to know your brand, warm to it, understand it better, grow to like it more than others and then fall in love with it forever.

The Marketing Society is the most influential network of senior marketers dedicated to inspiring bolder marketing leadership.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad