By Alexandra Reinken
This spring something besides the flowers blossomed… the worlds creativity. From balcony choirs, to producing large scale events on digital platforms, to repurposing facilities to produce in demand goods, individuals and communities are collectively raising the bar on how to think outside the box for a greater good. Sponsorship leaders now have the opportunity to channel creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness for their programs.
Right now, the pressure for business leaders to develop new strategies and tactics to strengthen partnerships and drive revenue is greater than ever. One area where you can stretch your creative muscles is by assessing your assets. The needs of brands and properties are rapidly changing, and a template of assets isn’t going to suffice if you want to stand out among, what is bound to be, fierce competition for sponsorship dollars. Assessing your assets and seeing where you can be creative now, can strengthen your position when the time comes to renew contracts and cultivate prospective sponsors.
Here are some key ways to channel creativity to strengthen your assets:
Collaborate with your team
Working alongside your team and key stakeholders is a major advantage of being successful throughout the creative process. Besides you, your team and stakeholders are the best source for knowing what assets are available. They can help develop some of the craziest, wildest ideas, while also keeping things grounded in reality. Here are some tips for collaborating:
- Have a team “Big Idea” A blank slate is a great place. Remember you’re trying to think more creatively – so going back to “what has always worked” may not be compelling when you’re trying to stand out. Then you can start by “throwing spaghetti on the wall.” Get all the ideas out there then you can work on refining and narrowing what opportunities are plausible.
- Know who your stakeholders are. Beyond your team, are you reaching out to event attendees, founding groups, vendors, board members, sponsors, committee members? It can even be beneficial to reach out to these stakeholders directly because they may not feel as empowered (or inspired) in more formal group settings. Bonus – it’s an opportunity to strengthen your relationships!
- Collaborating with your networks can be a powerful experience. While you are all experiencing the impacts of this phenomenon, the specific needs and challenges may be different from property to property. Connecting with your network of sponsorship professionals is a way to discuss and problem solve broad and specific challenge areas.
Inspiration comes from community
Community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. We have seen an incredible sense of community unfold over the past few weeks and months. Resources that would have previously been trade secrets are now being shared for the collective good. You can find inspiration everywhere, including:
- Organize a zoom call with your like-minded counterparts around the country for
- Look outside of your circle for ideas. If you are in sports, look to cultural arts for ideas. Reach out, join, and collaborate with influencers outside of your network.
- Look at what others in the industry are doing. Check out agencies, blogs, social media trends, association forums, etc.
Let’s get digital, digital
The time has come to make sure your digital assets are in great shape. The work you put in now to make sure you have a solid digital plan could make or break a deal in the future. Brands are seeing the power of digital connection like never before and will be looking for creative opportunities.
- Produce quality digital experiences. If you’re going to produce an event online, make sure the same care and attention that you put into the physical event translates on screen.
- Providing consistent and creative content will go a long way with building a strong, engaged, audience.
- Remember, you’re creating value. Think about what sponsors will see as a revenue or awareness opportunity for them.
- New digital trends are emerging every day. Take a look at what technologies and production styles are gaining momentum and see how you can apply use them to promote your events, programs and further your mission. Some examples include VR/AR, webisodes, podcasts, live streams, and webcasts.
Right now primary method of engagement is through digital means. Take this time to explore new ways of engaging your audiences. It is very likely that opportunities to connect your digital content and sponsors will be imminent. We will be exploring this topic further with a full blog about the new age of digital marketing. Stay tuned for more.
Our old friend, awareness
Increasing awareness has long remained the crux of many sponsor proposals, but has dropped down the list of most important goals to brands in recent years. Brands will have new goals and objectives, and increasing awareness may see an uptick. It’s time to refresh and create opportunities that will align with the current environment and needs.
Our new friend, experience
When it comes to assessing your assets, think outside of the box on how you can create innovative experiences to connect your audience with sponsors. Customized experiences are significantly more appealing to sponsors because they create a more meaningful, lasting impression with your event and audience.
We’ve talked a lot about big ideas over the past 6 months and now may be a good time to rethink how you create unique experiences to connect sponsors with your audiences. You’re likely going back to the negotiating and discovery table with your partners. Here are two steps from our good friend, Britt Carlson from Special Olympics Oregon to kickstart your big idea brainstorm process:
- Start with the “why” (credit to Simon Sinek). When you understand what an organization does, but more importantly why they do it – you’re going to be able to connect with them on a much deeper and more impactful level.
- Unless the discovery process brings to light a very clear desire and the creative campaign to go with it, my goal is to come back to the partner with several big ideas that show them how they might use my platform to accomplish their objectives. I rarely worry about vetting the logistics or even the cost when it comes to big ideas – I just want to see what makes their eyes sparkle. Often, an idea I present will trigger an imaginative breakthrough for the client or we will pull the themes that they liked and continue to tweak the proposal until we’ve found the right fit.
You can read more about creating big ideas in our Sponsorship Thought Leader Q&A with Britt here.
About the author: Alexandra Reinken is the Marketing & Event Manager at Caravel Marketing. Alexandra has been a storyteller and content enthusiast for over a decade and has contributed to countless blogs, appeals, and marketing campaigns on a range of platforms. Most recently she has taken over the Sponsorship Mastery Summit Twitter in hopes of producing some of wittiest and relevant tweets around. Outside of crafting clever content, she enjoys spending time with her daughter Kayla and their pup Scallywag.