Utter the word ‘sponsorship’ in the Gulf and you’ll be met with a hearty laugh from those looking for it and a blank stare from those with the ability to provide it.[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]Getting someone to give you money to pursue your weekend pastime is seen across the Gulf as a blag[/quote]
Getting someone to give you money to pursue your weekend pastime is seen across the Gulf as a blag, rather than a marketing opportunity. And those that do manage to squeeze some money from a company rarely get it a second time, as the results are often abysmal.
The problem is two-fold here. Firstly, people seeking sponsorship need to understand that there is little history of sponsorship in the region, they are probably not David Beckham and that it is up to them to come up with something that is going to appeal to a would-be sponsor, who will almost certainly have not done this before.
All too often I see people, be they in motorsport or more standard sports, presenting a sponsorship proposal to a client that simply says ‘please sponsor me’ with no thought on the all important ‘why’. Think beyond the logo on the car or the shirt, and motivate the client to put their hand in their pocket. Give them something different, something that opens new marketing horizons.
This brings me neatly to my second point. The sponsors themselves need to understand that sponsorship doesn’t end with handing over the money. That’s just the beginning. If you shell out a bunch of cash to a sportsperson and tell them to report back at the end of the season with how much coverage they received, they probably get the same amount as the effort you’ve put in, i.e. zero. Crowds at all events in the Gulf are mostly small. In motorsport they are virtually non-existent. Eyes from the stands aren’t going to cut it.
The best sponsorships are forged between two entities that work together for a common goal; Be that awareness, sales or any number of metrics that sponsorship can help with. Yes, it’s great to sponsor that race team, but you then need to use it.
[quote align=”left” color=”#999999″]Racing cars attract people, those people sometimes then wander into the store and buy product, fact.[/quote]
If you’re a retail brand hire some space outside your stores and have the car on display. Racing cars attract people, those people sometimes then wander into the store and buy product, fact.
Sponsored a tennis player? Great, get them to hold a clinic in your store window. Some of the crowd watching outside will end up inside. With retail, it’s about using your sponsorship to drive traffic.
And it doesn’t have to be just about sales. Don’t forget your employees. How about involving them in the car sponsorship. Have it on display at head office, in the factory, at the lunch canteen.
Get the tennis player to hold a clinic for the staff’s children. They’ll be happy to do it to keep the sponsor happy and the staff will feel that the company cares about them, which often is a better motivator than small salary increases.
Encourage people to pop down to the track at the weekend to see the car in action or even arrange for a lucky few to get a hot lap as a passenger in the car. Suggest they stop by the tennis tournament, to support the team. You’d be amazed how proud employees can be about seeing their company logo competing in a big event.
[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]If you think sponsorship isn’t worthwhile then you’re probably not doing it right[/quote]
It’s too easy for sport people to grumble about companies not supporting the local scene. That’s not their job, it’s yours. And from the company’s point of view, if you think sponsorship isn’t worthwhile then you’re probably not doing it right.
Get creative, think smart and open doors, rather than wait for them to be opened for you. You’ll soon have that soft drink’s logo hanging over your tiddlywinks tournament.