I’m spending a lot of time in airports these days… Recently, after meeting with a client for the better part of the day, I returned to Pearson airport a few hours earlier than expected for my flight back to Ottawa. As a result, I actually had some time to take in the environment instead of the usual 200 yard dash to the departure gates.
I found myself in a sponsor-rich environment. An airport is a perfect location to offer value-added services to customers who have timely and specific needs. What I noticed was that sponsors were not only being thoughtfully integrated into the environment, the value of the sponsorship was also being communicated to customers in ways that the customer understood the value of the partnership from their perspective.
The first example I noticed was the luggage carts that we all look for at one time or another. They were sponsored by CIBC. It would have been easy enough to put the CIBC logo or ad on the side of the cart, but a few simple words gave me the meaningful connection. These words were a big FREE across the top with the tagline “Carts brought to you by CIBC” underneath it. For someone looking for a cart, there was a clear value-add being communicated to the customer – that CIBC was doing something to make their life a little easier.
I walked another 100 steps and saw a large overhead sign encouraging me to “be entertained with complimentary songs and ebooks on cloud 10″ courtesy of American Express. Like many travelers, I count on wireless in airports to help me work as well as pass the time and I appreciated the service being provided at no charge.
Because their value-add had been explained to me, I couldn’t help but feel a little better about these two companies as they contributed to my “airport experience”. All it took was a couple of words to make the connection.
The lesson here is that effective sponsorships enhance the customer experience and communicate the value of the partnership to the customer. We need to start adding context to a sponsor’s involvement – a few words cost you nothing and mean everything from a positioning perspective. And when your customers feel better about a sponsorship, they are more likely to consider the sponsor’s products or services, which leads to increased sponsor satisfaction and investment in your program.
If you have good examples of the concept in action, pass them along!