Posts Tagged ‘Activations;’

Sponsoring sport’s a risky business but GAA might be the exception

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Ballygowan & Energise Sport Unveiled as New Official Hydration Partners of Dublin GAA

 Soccer’s in the spotlight again, but for all the wrong reasons.  As FIFA descends into corruption chaos, the aftershocks to the sport’s sponsors are catastrophic.  Soccer’s goodwill and the halo effect that attracted the brands to FIFA in the first instance is depleting rapidly as the news story takes hold.

Sponsoring sport always carries a risk, but usually when individual stars are involved – hence many brands’ preference for sporting categories rather than heroes.  Thorough risk assessment pre-signing is not just prudent it’s also pragmatic, allowing concerns and caveats to be aired at the outset.

Few sports are beyond reproach, especially as sport has now been elevated to the heady heights of God-like achievement and aspiration.  To many, clubs are like a religion to be followed and adored with passion, which is why certain clubs and sports attract such willing investors, but at what price and at what risk?

The GAA may just be the exception, as a brand and a sport that is reasonably removed from adverse publicity.  I’m not suggesting it’s squeaky clean in publicity terms, but it courts less chaos than other sporting factions.   There is still all the zeal, the pious fervour and the commitment that brands want to emulate, but with more opportunities – from local, to families, to national events – and less exposure.

And, with the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, summer is when GAA really comes into its own as the memory of the National Leagues fade into obscurity and Championship fever kicks in.

According to the Onside Industry Survey 2015, GAA is seen to offer the best ‘va


lue for money’ in terms of Irish sponsorships and this is the case for many reasons – not least of all is the relevance of GAA at local community and county level.  It could be argued that the ordinary ‘man on the street’ identifies with GAA stars more so than other sports stars, for an array of reasons, including the likelihood of seeing these players active in their local communities (not just on the telly!), recognising the level of dedication and commitment that’s required of amateur players, and an appreciation of the skill level of a truly unique sport.

Sponsorship is more than just a logo on a county jersey.  Sponsors demand more and the Championship delivers: providing players and management for media events, engaging with the sponsor’s own business and CSR initiatives; and offering exclusive competition prizes, can all be effective methods of maximising the value and impact of such a sponsorship asset. Experiential activity too has proven itself as a way of extracting additional value, using the available properties to leverage the brand in the eyes of existing and potential customers.

The digital space and access to social media channels adds a further important platform to sponsors. Building up digital content is an extremely effective method of engaging fans and reinforcing the association between brand and sponsor.

It’s important to consider some simple guidelines from the outset to maximise GAA sponsorships.  These include:

–          Undertaking a pre-sponsorship appraisal to ensure the sponsorship fits as part of an overall strategy and assess potential risks involved

–          Establishing a good relationship with all relevant stakeholders

–          Ensuring goals and objectives are outlined and agreed at the outset of the partnership

–          Creating an activity road map for the season

–          Focusing on digital elements to maximise social media and online channels

The arrests of senior FIFA officials has rocked the sporting world. Not only does this news obviously impact on the organisation itself, it will also have shocked existing sponsors to their core.

The GAA, whilst not beyond reproach is arguably in a safer position and less likely to bring your brand into disrepute than other sports which exist on a global scale yet having a risk assessment completed will make things a lot easier if crisis strikes.

The rallying cry from inter-county managers and coaches alike is Championship-focused encouragement. Tough winter training regimes and physical League encounters will have honed the players’ fitness levels but it’s the coming months that will define the teams and the GAA public can’t wait!  Shouldn’t your brand be part of the excitement?

Is your brand festival ready?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015


While we can’t bank on the sun to make an appearance during the Irish summer, we certainly can count on having our pick of festivals to keep us entertained over the summer months.  From the foodie heaven that is Taste of Dublin, to the hipster mecca of Marley Park for Longitude, to the family fun on offer at the colourful Laya City Spectacular, there’s surely something for everyone.

Practically every town and village puts on a summer fest to bring the punters out in their droves.  If your taste is more niche in nature, we have the annual Twin Fest in August, the Matchmaker festival in Lisdoonvarna and a new one to us – pig racing at the Seabreeze Festival in Arklow. Festivals and events have always been a platform favoured by marketers and brand owners as a route to engage with a mass audience in a deep and engaging way.  Where the crowds go, brands follow.

Festival and event sponsorship can be a match made in brand heaven when the audience fit is right and the execution is impactful.

Whether you’re a brand owner looking for creative ways to amplify an existing festival or event sponsorship, or you’re on the hunt for a new sponsorship property that offers the perfect fit, here are a few pointers to make the most of it.   How to check is your brand festival ready:

  • Is it the fit right for your brand…. Really?
  • Is the target audience your bullseye?
  • Do you share brand values?
  • Have you allocated enough budget to amplify the sponsorship?  So many brands max their budget on sponsorship fees but there’s no point having a great partnership if no one hears about it!
  • Are you in it for the long haul?  The best brand event, festival and sporting partnerships have been in place for many years.  Robinsons have clocked up 80 years with Wimbledon and have just signed up for another five years.
  • What does success look like?  How will you evaluate the brand partnership in terms of reach and impact on brand equity?
  • Have you developed a bespoke PR plan to amplify your sponsorship amongst influencers and taste makers?
  • Lastly, be patient.  If you have your eye on headline sponsorship of a festival that’s already snapped up, be patient.  In the world of blue chip brands, global changes can mean local sponsorships come and go.

The beauty of festival and event sponsorship is that brands can get involved at many levels.  Some brands dip their toe in the water of experiential marketing by having a brand activation at a large scale event.  A creative and nimble execution can work beautifully and deliver real bang for buck.  For brands lucky enough to hold headline sponsorship of a top festival or event, keeping it fresh can be a year round job for an entire team but worth the investment due to the impact on brand equity.

With TedFest making waves in London from humble beginnings on Craggy Island ten years ago, who’s for the Mrs Brown Festival 2016 in Finglas?  

MCsquared are brand communications experts in sponsorship negotiation and amplification.  Most recently we have worked on Calors sponsorship of Macra na Feirma’s ‘Know Your Neighbour’ campaign, Ballygowan’s partnership as the official hydration partner of Dublin GAA, Kellogg’s’ sponsorship of Dublin Zoo and the inaugural Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder event at Tough Mudder 2015.