According to the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada, preliminary results of the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study show that municipalities are now attracting 11.4% of the sponsorship investment in Canada. That’s more than arts, cause and education. The municipal sector has grown from “not on the radar” to a major player in the sponsorship market over the course of the last few years.
It doesn’t surprise me as I’ve seen this coming for a while. We saw the potential a number of years ago and that was the main impetus behind the creation of the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship in 2010 – to give municipalities an opportunity to share best practices on sponsorship and naming rights in the municipal sector. It also echos a blog post I did in September, 2013 alluding to the game-changing nature of municipal sponsorship, Municipal Sector Emerging as a Critical Mass in the Canadian Sponsorship Sector. This trend also showed up in the Canadian Municipal Benchmarking Survey on Sponsorship and Naming Rights we conducted in late 2015 that showed about 95% of municipalities in Canada were either involved in sponsorship or seriously considering it.
Why am I bringing this up? It’s not to demonstrate my visionary skills! It’s to reinforce to municipalities how valuable their assets are from a marketing (sponsorship) perspective. As companies look for unique ways to connect with customers, there is an opportunity to leverage municipal assets to the benefit of both the municipality and its taxpayers. And the good news is that more and more companies are beginning to look at municipal sponsorship as a legitimate marketing medium for achieving business objectives.
Not sure where to start? There are a number of resources to help municipalities fully leverage these opportunities. Firstly, the Globe and Mail are currently running multi-series articles on the topic of naming rights and provide a good overview of the national landscape. Also, there are several articles on my blog The Bottom Line that are geared specifically for municipalities. Just click on Blog Topics and you’ll see articles ranging from “Helping Smaller Municipalities to be Successful at Sponsorship” to “Valuating Naming Rights properties”. Lastly, there is an ideal, face-to-face opportunity, now in its seventh year which is the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship coming October 25th to Toronto. Plan now to attend and stay tuned to learn more about the agenda for the day.
The time is right for municipalities to pursue sponsorship opportunities. Companies are eager to find new ways to connect with audiences and municipalities reach more people daily than almost any other organization or business in the community. Furthermore, municipalities can offer unique and untapped environments to help companies stand out in the marketplace and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Municipalities have come a long way, but they still have the ability to claim an even bigger piece of the sponsorship landscape.