It’s a hugely important aspect of sports marketing: the implementation of the plans that have been so carefully thought out.
Implementing sponsorship well is not only a fundamental step in the sports marketing process, but also defines the way the campaign is perceived from the outset. How a sports marketing campaign passes from paper to reality can make or break it – so you’ll want, obviously, to make your implementation as effective as possible.
Put simply, what is the implementation of sponsorship? In sports marketing, we define it as the set of actions that leverage the rights acquired by a brand, put into motion to maximize the commercial and marketing impact of the sponsorship itself.
The rights acquired, of course, can consist of many different things: in sports sponsorship, we’re likely to be talking about events, the use of showcars or showbikes, the brands and logos in communication to promotional videos – and many other possible assets.
A championship victory, the breaking of a record, a new personal best – all of these can see teams or sponsored athletes hit the headlines for reasons that can be hugely positive for the brand they represent. Successes can offer a real opportunity for brand visibility, and an uplift for that brand’s ROI – but of course, communication needs to be fast, accurate and authentic. Brands, especially those in the sports marketing field, need to be prepared to be reactive in this situation. Materials such as advertising pages, social banners, promo videos and radio spots need to be prepared, or at the very least a team needs to be ready and waiting to leverage successes quickly when they happen.
The value of both reactive and proactive communication
For simplicity, we’ll use the following example to explain reactive communication. An athlete sponsored by our company wins the MotoGP world championship. For our brand this is an excellent opportunity to maximize visibility, leveraging an extremely positive event and one that – of course – will be covered in newspapers, sports broadcasts and on social media for the following days.
The need for a reactive communication strategy that leverages the win in a timely fashion means that we contact graphic designers, prepare materials, contact the main national sports newspapers, reserve space and send our communication to the press within just a few hours.
Despite the value of speed, there are several potential issues in this reactive path: media might be full, for example, or deadlines might have passed; contacts might difficult to track down in a timely fashion, and approvals might slow to arrive. In short, it is easy to see that reactive communication – when used alone – risks us losing an excellent marketing opportunity.
Let’s think, then, about proactive communication in sports marketing. Proactive communication involves a completely different logical path, based simply on planning in advance. In this case it is necessary to attempt to predict what will happen in the future, and to prepare a game plan well before the events occur. It means that you have at your disposal an arsenal of actions ready to be put in place once the expected event occurs. Proactive communication requires that the communications are ready, and that the spaces are already booked well before the races or events.
Reactive communication and proactive communication might be different, but they are both central to any sports marketing implementation programme. It’s difficult, though, for a brand to be able to keep track of both sides of their communication strategy. The advantages might be obvious, but it’s clear that constant knowledge of predicted results – especially for a brand that might work with dozens of athletes or teams across many disciplines across the world – can be a challenge.
It’s time, then, to utilise the experts. Once again, the role of a sports marketing agency – one that knows calendars and rankings, can advise on the key moments and events that should be focused on, and can successfully hypothesise potential winners – can be invaluable in this situation.
At RTR Sports Marketing, strategy, implementation and both reactive and proactive communication are our bread and butter. Find out how we can help you – give us a call today.