Event Sponsorship as CPG Brand Strategy: How to Connect with Consumers

Posted by Greg Keating on May 8, 2017 7:30:00 AM

Event sponsorship is monetary or in-kind support of a community event, and it is a great tactic for reaching specific business goals. It is not the same as advertising, which is more quantitative and data-driven.  

Event sponsorship offers a different approach to brand differentiation.

The type of CPG brand promotion involved with sponsorship is qualitative, helping participants make a mental connection between the sponsoring CPG company and the event. It allows brands to defray event costs while reaching specific niche markets, and it is one of the fastest-growing types of marketing today.

It used to be that only huge enterprises were able to use event sponsorship for consumer promotion, but that has changed. Many smaller, local events also offer sponsorships that are terrific for local CPG brand promotion and establishing goodwill in the community. Sponsorship can provide a cost-effective way for a smaller CPG business to raise its public profile and sharpen its competitive edge.

Choosing the Right Events to Sponsor

The event you choose to sponsor should make sense in terms of your brand and your overall consumer promotion strategy. It should fit well with the audience you want to reach with your brand. Therefore, you should understand who the participants are and determine if they represent your target audience. One of the worst things you can do is try to force your way into an event that is irrelevant to your target demographic.

You should also choose to sponsor events that are well-run. Disappointment in an event can unfairly carry over to your brand, and you do not want that to happen. Learn up front what you can expect for your investment. Events sometimes offer different levels of sponsorship with different goals. 

Connecting with Consumers Through Event Sponsorship

To connect with consumers via event sponsorship, be certain to choose events to which your brand adds something meaningful, whether it is a product or experience. Could you, for instance, create a special, not-for-sale branded product to go into participant “swag bags”? Sponsorship – and in particular exclusive sponsorship – can be a significant brand differentiator, putting your audience in front of your product and yours alone. It can be a terrific way to compete with other brands that have big ad budgets, and what’s more, event participants like the fact that sponsors have made a greater effort than just purchasing an ad. 

Promoting Your Brand through Sponsorship

Events offer you scope for amazing creativity in brand promotion.

Events offer something that advertisements do not: an experience. Choosing an event experience that people will associate positively with your brand does something that traditional advertising cannot. But you cannot simply put your logo on event signage and call it a day. The best sponsorships engage with their audiences, perhaps providing discounts to participants, or donating a portion of proceeds to the event (if it is a charitable fundraiser). Anyone can write a check, but engaging with an event takes sponsorship to a much more powerful level. 

Why Event Sponsorship Is So Effective

It is hard to put a value on the heightened visibility that can come from strategic event sponsorship. Promoting an event requires that the organizers seek widespread exposure through traditional and digital media. Some of that media coverage may include names, photos, and other information about sponsors – coverage that could be extremely expensive to achieve through traditional marketing. Statistics for musical events are impressive:

  • 93 percent of participants like brands that sponsor live music events.
  • 81 percent associate their “coolest brand experiences” with live music.
  • Millennials who go to branded music events have a 37 percent better perception of brands that sponsor them.

Non-attendees have some degree of affinity for brands that sponsor events they watch or hear about but in which they do not participate, but that affinity is not as strong as it is for those who actually go to the events. Even so, as CPG brand promotions go, it is hard to beat a well-planned, well-executed event sponsorship that engages with participants.

Consumer promotion takes on an entirely new angle with event sponsorship, and an increasing number of CPG brands are discovering that event sponsorship provides a tremendous opportunity to stand out from the pack and to gauge customer response immediately. Sponsorship today is not just huge companies sponsoring ski teams or enormous events; small and medium-sized CPG brands can gain the benefits of event sponsorship through smaller, local events. It takes a smart event choice, hard work, and good planning up front, but the benefits can be disproportionately large, exceeding the goodwill and brand benefit which can be attained with traditional advertisements. 

Topics cpg, brand perception

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