By Liz Gobin and Anthony Vade, FMAV
Gaining and retaining relationships with sponsors continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing event and meeting professionals. Over the last ten years, the industry has been subject to legislative and cultural changes that have resulted in a seismic shift in relationship dynamics. Moreover, sponsors are demanding more from their investments and trading traditional sponsorship for personalized, outcome-driven customization. This leaves planners working harder than ever to secure and retain event sponsorship.
Sponsors are looking for opportunities to connect with delegates in unique and memorable ways, paving the way for a focus on personalization throughout the meeting and events industry. The Meaningful Brands 2017 study discovered that people would not care if 74 per cent of brands disappeared tomorrow, noting 60 per cent of the content produced by brands is either poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver on their expectations. With this in mind, organizations are making more strategic- and brand-intentional activations that result in a higher ROI for their investment.
Event attendees have well-established expectations regarding on-site experiences. No doubt, when we create new and surprising moments, we present opportunities to make brands stand out, thereby creating memorable experiences that inspire attendees to broadcast that moment. Utilizing technology and activities that stimulate different senses breaks the standard presentation style and poses huge impact opportunities for brands and sponsors looking to make new and highly memorable experiences.
Leave them wanting more
Early and frequent collaboration are the keys to experiencing design success. It begins by collaborating with sponsors, suppliers and other event stakeholders to understand their objectives and desired outcomes before deciding on a technology solution. Then, through regular communications, the next step is evolving that solution to best suit the allocated budget and focus on the best outcomes for both the sponsor and stakeholders.
Inspiration can also be drawn from lean thinking and practices, which means creating more value for sponsor and/or stakeholders with the least resources/expenses. The leaner you are, the more strategic you become in where those resources are allocated. Here again, by better understanding your sponsor’s goals and asking the right questions, the combined team is more likely to land on the best solution with the least amount of waste.
Additionally, creating experiences and small moments that are highly shareable attaches brands to memories. In designing the experience, planners and suppliers should have a shareable story front of mind. Ask yourself: How does the story relate to the brand? How will the attendees share it? Smart planners can attach brands to the moments and then implant triggers that stir those memories in the future. For example, a brand can sponsor a food experience that triggers the memory of the brand the next time they taste or smell the food. They can also create a musical or visual moment that sticks with the attendee and encourages them to share it with their friends and colleagues.
As Maya Angelou said: “Stepping onto a brand new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation.” Truly gaining and retaining sponsorship relationships involves collaboration and conversations on how to capture attention and create shareable, memorable moments. Doing so will result in a huge return on investment for any sponsor, planner and stakeholder.
Learn more about what event experts have to say about some of the ways you can overcome sponsorship challenges including how to define value for a sponsor and how using AV technology can help boost your event ROI by downloading FMAV’s recent ebook here.