Since we launched the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship in 2011, I’ve had the opportunity to work with municipalities of all sizes across the country on how they can effectively leverage naming rights, advertising and sponsorship assets to generate increased non-tax revenue for the municipality.
What I’ve learned from working with dozens of municipalities is that they face many challenges that are unique to the sector. Among them:
- A overall lack of marketing orientation (and expertise) in most municipalities creates a sizable cultural gap between what sponsors want and what municipalities are often prepared to do to bring companies on board;
- The process to get a sponsorship or naming rights program off the ground is a complex one; often requiring multiple levels of consultations and approvals from various stakeholder groups to ensure that there is an appropriate level of buy-in across the corporation;
- Managing expectations on how much municipal assets are worth to corporations as well as rationalizing the allocation of resources and how long it will take to achieve return on investment;
Despite these and other challenges, there is tremendous progress being made at the municipal level. Almost every day, new naming rights agreements are being announced as corporations get on board the municipal bandwagon and the overall sector matures.
This year’s Municipal Forum on Sponsorship, November 6 at the Grand Hotel and Suites in Toronto will feature education content and discussions that reflect the growth of the sector as we move beyond basic concepts to more specific aspects of implementing municipal programs.
I’m also pleased to announce that RBC will be on hand to make a special presentation to municipal delegates on their recently launched RBC Learn to Play Project and how municipalities can take advantage of the multi-year grant program to provide enhanced programs and services in their communities.
Personally, I’m really pleased with the how the municipal sector is evolving in the area of sponsorship. Municipalities are still an untapped opportunity from an industry perspective. As more companies become educated in the unique opportunities that municipalities offer to connect with customers where they live and play, the greater the collaboration between government and industry to improve the lives of citizens.