Foresight is the essence of management

We still see it happening too often: sleek, expensive campaigns which have little or no sponsorship impact. Good communication appears to be quite elusive.

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Aiko de Bruijn

Sport is all about emotion. The key to successful sponsorship is the extent to which a sponsor succeeds in managing that emotion, as you can read in this blog. Only when sponsorship leads to an emotional connection between fans and a brand will the sponsor see this reflected in increased sales of its product or service (or, to put it in the language of marketing: reap the return on investment).

However, creating an emotional connection of this kind with sports fans is not easy, and demands activation of the sponsorship in a way that is both authentic and relevant. How do you go about creating a campaign that does just that? And how do you know whether you'll hit the right note?

In the first instance, it is useful to have an understanding of the most frequent causes of disappointing campaign results. We come across these causes regularly:

1. The campaign is activated via media channels or in terms of content that the fan in question doesn't follow at all.
2. The fan notices the campaign, but fails to link it to the brand (or doesn't link it to the right brand).

The result: the campaign does not make a contribution to sponsor familiarity.

3. The fan notices the campaign, makes the link to the right brand, but fails to understand the sponsor's message.
4. The fan understands the message as intended by the sponsor, but then doubts the authenticity or credibility of the message.

The result: the campaign fails to make a contribution to building an emotional connection with the fan.

These pitfalls can easily be avoided. But it is essential to involve and understand the target group. Deeper insights into the target group can help a brand in all phases of campaign development - during both creation and validation, and to be able to understand when and where to activate the campaign. In other words: foresight is the essence of management.

Co-creation with fans for creative campaign ideas and directions

Are you, the sponsor, still at the start of creating your campaign but don't, as yet, know how to shape it? One idea for generating ideas and inspiration is co-creation with your target group. By having the foresight to involve fans in the creative process at an early stage, you can increase the chances of a campaign that comes across to the target group as authentic and relevant.

Pre-testing for campaign optimisation

Once you have developed marketing communications, you can consider pre-testing (validating) them. By first testing the activation with the target group in advance of launching your campaign, you can learn whether the campaign is going to have the desired effect, and what adjustments you still have to make. In essence, pre-testing offers the opportunity of 'forecasting' the extent to which activation will bring success before you start. Read more about pre-testing here.

Sports Media Profiler for the right time and place

The way to reach sports fans depends to a great extent on the way in which fans follow their sport. It is essential to understand this so that you, the sponsor, can activate the sponsorship at the right time, with the right content, using the right medium.

If the aim of the campaign is to build up an emotional connection with the fan, why would you not involve fans in campaign development? In terms of sponsorship activation too, foresight is the essence of management.

Want to know more about our Sports Media Profiler?