Today we hand it over to Rosolino Amenta, International Business Development and Sponsorship Manager, who will share his view on sponsorship implementation and activation.
Now over to Rosolino:
Did you know that in a single day our brain processes more than 7.500 brand messages and 3.000 brand images? Therefore, it becomes harder and harder to reach the consumers, and even more, to engage with them.
The right choice of the sponsorship tools (in sport, art, culture, social etc.) speak powerfully to the target audience on behalf of the brands. Series of operations called “activation” must be run in order to make Sponsorship a cost-effective component of any communications campaign. It’s a versatile platform that can empower all aspects of marketing (advertising, brand awareness, public relations, promotions, product showcasing, sales support, corporate social responsibility, etc).
The right activation allows brands to become more attractive to customers, share their passion and even touch their emotions. To wrap up, engage people with something they love and they will love you back.
What to take into consideration in sponsorship implementation and activation?
A basic rule in the sponsorship industry states that every €1 spent in acquiring rights, requires another €1 to be spent in activation. While the total amount is questionable, it is safe to say that the most effective sponsorships are the ones with the best activation strategies. There are several ways for a brand to bring sponsorship activities to life, such as internal activation (e.g. by involving employers), marketing and advertising, retail operations, hospitality, venue, cause-related, testimonials, social media etc.
The sponsor must exploit as much as possible the rights acquired by the sponsee through the deal, in order to create a brand experience, engage with its target audience and build an activation plan that supports sponsor’s presence while becoming more beneficial and recognised by its consumers and fans. To summarise, a successful activation aims to shift from “projecting what the brand is” to “optimising what the brand does” in order to move people closer to the transaction.
How does sponsorship activation change based on cultural aspects?
The right understanding and set-up of the sponsorship’s objectives are essential to developing an optimal activation plan. These elements are strongly influenced by components such as the level of competitiveness in the product sector, the size of the market, the possibility to condition decision makers and others. These are just some of the factors that Sponsorship Directors must take into account when facing new challenges, especially in a different country.
For example in the Middle East and particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area, sponsorships are strongly affected by the socio-demographic and political structure. In Countries where most of the wealth is concentrated in only 5-10% of the population, sponsorship operations are aimed at influencing the key decision makers of the nation. In addition, the weak competitiveness of the market and the slow rise of new players don’t encourage creativity when developing new activation plans. Therefore, these plans are mainly focused on CSR programmes, VIP hospitality or generic “money don’t buy” experiences to be offered to exclusive groups (eg. most important clients, shareholders etc.).
Can you give us an example of a company facing a foreign market?
Yes, Maersk Oil was one of the 24 brands sponsoring Qatar 2015 Handball World Championship, the biggest sport event in the Qatar of the last decade.
Maersk Oil is a Danish oil and gas company operating in Qatar for many years. Due to its product market and the type of target audience, the company has rarely developed mass sports sponsorships, not even their home country, Denmark. However, the main aim of this operation was to support Qatar in the development of a vibrant sports culture in the state and “give back” to the society.
Maersk Oil developed a successful cause-related activation. The Danish brand ran an initiative called “Action on Diabetes” that supported the Qatari authorities to reduce the incidence of diabetes. A Maersk’s branded truck along with Qatar2015 mascot Fahed was visiting schools and venues before and during the Games. This gave the opportunity to scholars and fans to get a free check by specialists and to be encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle. Another activation was done from the hospitality side, with VIP exclusive experience offered to shareholders and key clients, even from abroad, to cheer for their national teams.
How can Optimy help companies manage their sponsorship activation?
The execution of an activation plan might require the action from different parties – internal departments (marketing team, PR etc.,) and external players such as a supporting sponsorship agency, a graphic studio etc. In many cases, for an organisation, managing these processes can get tricky and time-consuming. Optimy, as a management software, offers a simple solution to make the life of sponsorship managers and colleagues easier. Not only it saves a significant amount of time by automating processes, Optimy helps brands to focus on more important issues as developing a strategy rather than being stuck with time-consuming tasks.
#1 A successful activation shifts from just representing the brand to optimising everything it does.
#2 Sponsorship depends on cultural aspects like market competitiveness, size of the market and the attitude of decision makers. Take them into account when you face a new country!
#3 Efficient and cross-functional performance most frequently will save time, money and resources dedicated to the activation.
#4 Optimy can save your time, simplify your recurrent tasks, help you to manage your projects and evaluate their performance quicker and smarter. Embrace the digital opportunity!
About Rosolino Amenta
Rosolino Amenta obtained an International Master in Strategy of Sport Organizations in 2007, and started out his career at StageUp, working on emerging trends in the sponsorships area and audience analysis in sports events. At Optimy he successfully developed the Italian market, managing key implementations among the Top Sponsorships Spenders. In Qatar since 2014, he worked as Sponsorship Manager at Infront Sports & Media, at Qatar2015 Handball Men’s World Championship and Doha2016 Cycling World Championship, managing key accounts (such as Qatar Airways, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Qatar Football Association). Today he is advising brands and sport clubs on sponsorship strategy and sales.