I see both sides of the story when it comes to sponsorship. I’m responsible for consulting as a representative of a festival that seeks to garner sponsors and I get the requests from events that need client’s support.

I’m ruthless about it and the main reason is, that some of the lame requests I get are from people who don’t know the difference between a sponsorship and a donation. When they do they have absolutely no understanding of the marketing principles which drive this medium.

Let me give you a few ground rules if you’re in business and are flooded with requests for sponsor dollars. First check out the individual who is in control of the event. If they don’t understand Marketing 101 and especially the discipline of brand management then forget them and the event. Give them the flick.

Why? Because the basic premise of any good sponsorship is how they deliver your name. Many events employ sponsor personnel who simply don’t get it. For those who don’t, here’s the message. “It’s my name stupid”. You see, most if not all of these spotty little people will at some time or other forget that you are the money provider and deliver your name up inappropriately positioned; reformatted; cramped; squashed or on the odd occasion not at all. The thing is, they don’t actually care after they’ve got the money and you’re left with a poor image, contrary brand display and ruptured prestige.

If you want a donation event managers, just ask and if I say yes we’ll just expect a tax receipt. But ask for a sponsorship and you’d better meet your obligations because sponsorship is a two way benefit. You get the money, the client gets what you promised. And when the dirty stuff goes down, don’t send me a limp apology, we want ‘make goods’ and plenty of them.

Sponsorship is dicky enough without inexperienced personnel delivering up a stew of hobbled solutions. Promise only what you can deliver and understand that the sponsor’s name is sacrosanct.
That said I deserve an ad. As a Board Member of CinéfestOZ we spend hours structuring benefit packages that are absolute in terms of sponsor delivery. We know and respect your name and we’ll NEVER deliver it out of format or in any form contrary to your style guide. That’s not a brag it’s simply the way it must be.

There are real benefits for companies who want to use sponsorship to enhance brand awareness and sales, but to achieve this you need to be dealing with seasoned marketing professionals who know how to be flexible to meet your needs; skilled in brand management and possess a real understanding about positioning.