Gaining Public Acceptability for Naming Rights and Title Sponsorships

I just returned from the Strategic Sponsorship Marketing: The Canadian Summit where I presented a one-day Municipal Forum on Sponsorship to a forward-thinking group of municipal representatives as well as a session in the general conference program on Winning Over the Public on Naming Rights and Title Sponsorships. Much of the discussion from both sessions focused on leveraging naming rights and title sponsorships as well as how to increase public take-up and acceptance for these types of partnership arrangements.

The following are some key considerations for implementing a successful Naming Rights or Title Sponsorship Program.

Focus on “Fit” – A proper “fit” has to be considered one of the most essential elements for an effective Naming Rights or Title Sponsorship arrangement. In other words, if the sponsor brand has a meaningful connection to the facility, event or audience, public acceptability will be easier to gain and likely more sustainable over the long-term.  Here are some key elements to consider when identifying potential naming / title sponsorship prospects:

  • Local presence (are they a known entity?)
  • Strong connection to the community (do they have personal community ties such as a large employer, do they contribute to the financial well-being of the community?)
  • Strong connection to the facility or event (does their product fit in some way with the property and needs/interests of the audience?)
  • Well-known and trusted brand (are they respected in the community?)
  • Easy to remember (will it be a name that people can easily adopt?)

Articulating the Value Proposition – The notion behind this consideration is that people will more readily buy-into a naming / title sponsorship if they can see the value that the relationship brings to their own experience. Therefore, every effective naming / title sponsorship agreement should communicate the value  of the arrangement to:

  • the direct audience (how will participants benefit from this arrangement such as improved program content or services)
  • the community-at-large (how the community overall will benefit such as new facilities for community events, increased tourism marketing dollars, etc.)
  • the community facility or event property (how the property itself will benefit such as new equipment, value-added programs, etc.)

Positioning and Communications – The third most important element is how the partnership is positioned in the eyes of various stakeholder groups and how the value of the relationship is communicated over the term of the agreement. One news release or launch event will not do it – every naming / title sponsorship should be accompanied by a formal communications plan that builds awareness and formulates positive attitudes about the partnering arrangement. It takes at least 2-3 years for a naming / title sponsorship to take a real foothold in the community, so communications needs to be both ongoing and consistent. The first step in the communications process is positioning the arrangement as one that brings value to the property, community and direct audience.

By developing naming / title partnerships with companies that make sense with the audience, articulating the value that the partnership delivers to the audience and practicing effective communications, public take-up and acceptance will dramatically increase for these arrangements.  This will lead to long-term success for the property, the sponsor and the audience. For a copy of my presentation, visit my SlideShare channel.

Later, BC

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