For many years, leading brands have leveraged sponsorships as an effective way to build brand awareness. Companies put their name on a stadium for the world to see, or develop sponsorships with globally consistent brands to increase their brand exposure. But what results are these impressions driving? How much impact do they have on sales? At best companies predict estimates of brand impact, but in reality there has been little hard data on the return on investment (ROI).
A 2015 NY Magazine article best explains the intention by relating it to consumer psychology, “The basic idea here is that companies are trying to tie into the ‘mere exposure’ effect — a well-documented phenomenon in which, all else being equal, the more familiar you are with something, the more you like it.” Companies have accepted the vague promise of exposure despite little evidence to prove its value.
The Shift to Donations.
Over the past several years corporate giving has emerged as an alternative. Companies have focused on specific sponsorship campaigns or product donations to targeted communities. This approach brings multi-fold advantages; it builds brand awareness while also associating the company with philanthropic ideals, while at the same time increasing product exposure.
Versaic has been in the sponsorship management field for more than ten years, and we’ve seen this shift with many of our most innovative clients, including Panera’s program to give away food to feed the hungry, Kohler’s program to give plumbing fixtures to Habitat for Humanity, and Waste Management donating trash and recycling receptacles and services for community events.
More interesting perhaps is the way these companies are using donation management system to measure the value and ROI of donation programs. Instead of investing big dollars in sponsorship programs for which the return is largely unknown, companies can now target their giving to maximize impact with a specific audience they want to reach and measure the outcomes. With the advent of technology, data and analytics are now available to track performance metrics of ongoing relationships or evaluate success after an event. As an example, our client M&T bank tracks post-event results by automatically generating follow-up information requests from sponsor properties.
A New Age for Sponsorships.
What does the future hold? Sponsorship spend is on the rise. In his article Measuring the Value of Sponsorships, Paul Hartley claims sponsorship spending is increasing at a faster rate than any other part of the marketing mix, having grown by 4.2% in 2014, compared to 3.1% for advertising and just 2.8% for public relations/promotions/direct marketing. He goes to motive the need to measure the ROI of sponsorships and proposes a methodology and framework to do so.
This new approach to measuring ROI for sponsorships takes on a striking similarity to impact reporting in corporate giving, e.g. measuring outcomes not outputs. Versaic has built a platform to support this approach and proven it with hundreds of clients in the corporate giving space. What’s next is to take these learnings and apply it to tracking ROI for sponsorships. And Versaic is poised to do just that.
Versaic’s program management system is behind many of the best-known corporate philanthropy programs from some of the biggest brands around. For more information on how Versaic can help you measure the ROI of your corporate giving and sponsorships, contact 877-712-9495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post originally appeared on The Versaic Blog.