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One of the biggest marketing issues we see in small business is brand sponsorships. Far too often brand sponsorship agreements result in missed opportunities, cost blowouts and underperformance… but it doesn’t have to be that way!

Building a successful sponsorship with a sporting club, event, community group, charity or individual can be a great way to generate awareness of your business, access their fans and followers, reinforce you positioning and imbue some of their values on your brand.

Before you consider a sponsorship or strategic partnership, check out our top 5 tips and set your sponsorship up for success!

1. Set your business and marketing objective for the sponsorship

Once you have done this, then you can choose a partner that fits with your strategy, has strong appeal with your consumers, is aligned to your brand, or brings your values to life.

2. Don’t invest all of your funds up front.

Consider how much you’ll need to amplify the partnership over time and factor that in. Discuss up front extra ways you could firmly establish the association in people’s minds – signage, branded merchandise, exclusive offers or even better, partnering on their promotions, events and staff incentives.

3. Consider how you would like to leverage your partner’s owned, earned and bought assets.

One of the ways you can make the sponsorship work for you is by tapping into their customer or fan base – via website mentions, social media posts, signage and client communication like brochures, inclusion in events or press coverage etc. By discussing your wish list up front and listing inclusions in the agreement, you’ll agree what’s possible and be clear on deliverables at both ends.

4. Amplify the sponsorship via your own assets.

Plan for an announcement, include key milestones, events or updates in your marketing plan, consider signage, staff engagement opportunities (such as bringing one of their team in as a guest speaker). By leveraging the sponsorship through every part of your marketing plan, and across all of your customer or client touchpoints you’ll really drive your return on investment.

5. Consider how you can extend the association over time.

Beyond extension rights in the contract (which we do recommend!), think about how you can you sponsor an annual event, make a donation to their charity, create a scholarship or traineeship in their name. Use every opportunity to create a strong association between your two businesses, bring the natural ‘fit’ to life and create benefits along the way for both your business and the sporting club, event, community group, charity or individual that you sponsor.

The best sponsorships are a great natural fit with benefits for both sides. By following these 5 golden rules and thinking BIGGER, you’ll make sponsorships and associations work for you – and build your business’ success!

Thinking about engaging in a sponsorship or need help with amplifying an existing association? Contact [email protected]  today to optimise and amplify your sponsorships and brand associations.