How Long Does it Take to Secure a Sponsor?

34163969_lThis is a question I get asked all the time. The short answer is: as long as it takes for the prospect to decide they want to invest in your project, whether it be a program, an event sponsorship or a naming right.

I have a Naming Right being approved for a municipality at the end of the month for $600,000 over 15 years and it has taken over two years to get it to this point. I also have five (5) other Naming Rights being approved for a non-profit corporation over the next few weeks. The average amount of time to get them on board has been about nine (9) months and they are worth significantly more of an annual investment than the first one. So, the pricier naming opportunities have taken less than half the time to close than the municipal one – so, what gives? Continue reading “How Long Does it Take to Secure a Sponsor?”

Factors Affecting the Value of Naming Rights

I was speaking to a City Council in a major municipality recently about their sponsorship program and one Councilor asked if there were examples of what naming rights sold for in other towns/cities. My response was that it’s difficult to compare one municipality to another because there are so many factors that must be considered when establishing the value of naming rights fees.

photo_municipal_articspasWhile we do have a good handle on average pricing fees for various facilities across Canada, our research shows that there is no set standard on who pays how much for how long and under what terms. A further analysis of naming rights deals across the country over the past 3 years would indicate that fee structures, payment terms and sponsor benefits programs vary greatly.

Beyond the visibility elements associated with the facility, here are some of the factors affecting naming rights pricing:

  • Newness of the Facility – New facilities represent the best opportunities for naming because they are usually surrounded by a lot of hype, are attractive and carry little baggage. Conversely, companies usually don’t want to associate their brand with a tired, worn down venue;
  • Importance in the Community – Is it a community landmark with lots of history?
  • Uniqueness – Is the facility one of many naming opportunities in a community or is it truly a unique opportunity?
  • Location – Is it located along a main traffic artery where it will be visible to a lot of vehicle traffic? Does it mainly serve a community or the entire municipality?
  • Annual Attendance – How many people does it serve year-round? What’s the opportunity for year-round visibility? Are there premiere opportunities for unique visibility?
  • Diversity of Programming – Does the facility appeal to a wide range of audiences year-round? How many of those in attendance are the sponsor’s target market? Can the sponsor interact with them year-round?
  • Potential for Media Coverage – Will the facility be mentioned frequently in media such as newscasts and sportscasts? Is the facility Home Venue for a recognizable sports franchise?
  • Potential for Activation – Is there a sales opportunity associated with the naming opportunity? Is there an opportunity for activation elements such as hospitality suites, complimentary use of rooms or the sale of sponsor products?
  • Economic Factors – Is the municipality in a depressed state or a bustling economy? Is there a lot of competition among companies?
  • Additional Visibility – Are there other vehicles within the municipality that will provide additional visibility such as publications, web site and signage?

As one can see, there are many factors that need to be considered. These are the elements that make each naming right opportunity unique. This is why a $50,000 per year naming opportunity may seem reasonable in one municipality and too high in another.

I will be discussing these and other concepts at the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship, October 27 at the Grand Hotel and Suites in Toronto. Now in its 6th year, the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship provides municipalities of all sizes, the strategies and tools to implement a successful sponsorship program. Join me on October 27 to discuss the challenges municipalities face in getting their programs off the ground.

Later, BC

Enough About Gold, Silver, Bronze Sponsorship Packages!

Anyone who attends my workshops knows my thinking on this – the gold, silver, bronze sponsorship package “metal levels” are dead. The days when a company buys into a prepackaged sponsor benefits plan are becoming a thing of the past, yet I’m amazed at the number of organizations that continue to offer these packages as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

photo_gold-silver-bronzeI recently completed an assessment of an organization’s sponsorship program and the most innovative thing they had done in the last 5 years was to add a new “titanium” level to their gold, silver, bronze, sponsorship program. Overall, they had approximately 12 levels of sponsorship with each level separated by about $500!

Prepackaged Sponsorship Implies “Cookie-Cutter”

One of the biggest problems with prepackaged sponsor benefits programs is that they imply that every company is the same, with similar objectives and want the same solutions to their challenges. And one of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is thinking that all companies want to focus on branding (i.e. logo visibility). In my experience, the range of corporate objectives is very diverse, depending on the type of firm and industry. As an example, a well-known company that is interested in increasing in-store traffic through coupon distribution will not be as interested in generating awareness as in getting coupons in the hands of patrons in a timely fashion. Conversely, a company that is new to the community may want to focus on branding and awareness because they want to increase their visibility in the marketplace.

The second problem is because many of the benefits offered in prepackaged benefit programs may be of little or no interest to a particular company, the opportunity will be viewed as less valuable, which means that the odds of you getting the financial support you want are slim. Whereas, a benefits package customized to help companies reach specific objectives is going to receive top consideration and dollar.

There are Exceptions

Prepackaged benefits programs can serve as a useful starting point for the baseline value of a sponsorship, but should always include a statement that suggests you’ll customize to meet their needs. This would imply that there is a minimum investment to participate at certain levels such as a Presenting, Major Sponsor or Supporter level, but you’ll further tailor meet their specific requirements.

You should also position these packages according to the types of benefits offered. For example, “the ultimate branding package” or “booth traffic building package” or “leadership positioning package” can be tailored to specific corporate objectives. A word of caution is that the benefits being offered need to fit the objective. The advantage of effective positioning is that for companies looking to achieve a specific objective, these sponsorships offer a bundled solution that makes it easy for them to buy-in. This approach can be very useful at industry conferences for B2B companies who know the market and have focused goals such as establishing a leadership position above their competitors. Even in this situation, you should always be ready for some customization to address their specific needs.

Ditch the Gold, Silver, Bronze Sponsorship Thing!

If your sector warrants multi-tiered levels of sponsorship, I recommend no more than 3 to 4 levels; one for the company that wants to “own” the event, one for the company that wants to be viewed as a serious supplier and one for the entry-level supporter. Unless you are a sporting competition or in the building sector, consider naming your levels that support your brand like the Canada Army Run’s PresentingBrigadeRegiment and Platoon levels.

So, instead of worrying about packaging into neat little boxes, try listening to companies and developing investment packages that they view as well thought-out and responsive to their needs. Besides having a greater success rate with prospects, you’ll also save a lot of time by putting proposals in front of people that are meaningful to them.

Join me where I’ll be discussing these and other concepts at the upcoming PACWEST Partnership Conference, October 11 and 12 in Vancouver and the Sponsorship Boot Camp, part of Sponsorship Week, October 24 in Toronto.

Later, BC