Sponsorship is the material support of an event, activity or organisation by an unrelated partner. It is a good way of increasing brand awareness, which helps to generate consumer preference and to foster brand loyalty. A company can reinforce awareness among its target market by sponsoring an event or organisation that attracts a similar target market.
Sponsorship is not an act of charity - it must show some form of positive return on investment (ROI). Since sponsorship is a business arrangement, standard evaluative criteria should be used to establish the suitability of a proposed event in relation to the sponsor, image and products. A sponsor can enjoy a wide range of benefits from a carefully selected sponsorship, which can:
- raise brand awareness and create preference
- create positive PR and raise awareness of the organisation as a whole
- provide attractive content for a range of products and services
- build brand positioning through associative imagery
- support a sales promotion campaign
- create internal emotional commitment to the brand
- act as corporate hospitality that promotes good relations with clients.
Before sponsoring an activity, the sponsor must feel sure that the event/organisation will be successful; has a proven track record, good prospects and generally be aligned with the sponsor's brand and business objectives. Sports sponsorship is the most common and can range from international to regional and local events.