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Managing Marketing: The Importance of Leveraging And Optimising Sponsorships

Sandra_Wiles

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Sandra Wiles is the Head of Partnerships and Integration at The Media Store. Here Sandra discusses sponsorships as a brand and business building opportunity and the considerations and management that need to go with taking on sponsorship opportunities to leverage and maximise the value and performance across the whole organisation and for all the stakeholders involved.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren: 

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today I have the opportunity to sit down with Sandra Wiles who’s Head of Partnerships and Integration at The Media Store and someone who has spent many years…

Sandra: 

Many years…

Darren:

Working, working, managing and seeing success from her clients’ sponsorships. So welcome, Sandra.

Sandra: 

Thank you for having me.

Darren: 

Look, I want to start with what may seem like something very basic, but it seems to me sponsorship has so many different faces these days. You know, there was a time when sponsorship was sponsoring the golf day or sponsoring a media program or entity but it’s so much more than that now, isn’t it?

Sandra: 

I think the definition of a sponsorship has changed so much over time and I mean, there is still the traditional sponsorships that exist, but the assets contained within those sponsorships now are so much more layered and diverse.

There’s the prevalence of social media and then every individual associated with that particular sponsorship is now a channel themselves, so this rise of the individual is a huge thing and really changing the sponsorship landscape.

Darren: 

Celebrities, what are they called, influencers?

Sandra: 

Influencers, you know, the whole myriad. So, the definition of the sponsorship now is probably one of the most broadest terms in marketing I think, and different brands will have a myriad of different sponsorships from traditional sports to influencers to philanthropic causes, all that could be recognised as sponsorships.

Darren: 

Yeah, because there’s commercial sponsorships and then there’s the philanthropic sponsorships but really, they’re all based around the same thing, aren’t they?

Sandra: 

They’re all based around emotional connection and engaging with a target, whether that target is a conquest audience, whether that is within your own business, whether they’re stakeholders, franchisees of your business, so the one common thread with sponsorship is you want to be able to I guess, deliver a platform where you can emotionally connect with that person.

That’s where they differ from straight media channels and marketing.

Darren: 

And it differs from straight media channels where you’re basically buying a very measurable entity when you buy a media entity because this is multi-dimensional in most cases, isn’t it?

Sandra: 

It is multi-dimensional. In saying that though, there are often media type assets within those sponsorships, and they are very measurable.

Darren: 

Like signage?

Sandra: 

Like signage.

Darren: 

Naming rights.

Sandra: 

Naming rights and all of that. So, but in saying that, technology has changed signage and the way we use signage massively. There are some benefits there that are very tangible and very measurable and there are others that are less so and I guess some of those assets that particular property is responsible for delivering and accountable but at the end of the day, the brand is ultimately responsible for leveraging and making the most out of that opportunity.

Darren: 

Yeah. So, when a sponsorship opportunity presents itself, beause it seems to me a lot of the clients that come to us wanting advice on sponsorship opportunities, it’s often that something’s been presented to them rather than them going out and looking for it, which is weird, isn’t it?

Sandra: 

It is and it’s very much the challenge. I mean, I would get a considerable amount come across my desk in a given week without asking for anything. I guess it’s much better to sit back and have a look at what your marketing ecosystem is and what problem you’re trying to solve.

You really need to start with that rather than being tempted to just look and jump on something that is put in front of you because one; you’ve got some personal interest in it yourself or you think very quickly it might solve a problem. It doesn’t mean to say that right things don’t come along at the right time, but it’s much better to start the other way around.

Darren: 

It’s serendipitous.

Sandra: 

Absolutely.

Darren: 

It must be hard though because if you’re getting multiple proposals a week and you’re sitting there and you have multiple, even if you’ve got working with one client, they’ll have multiple needs or if you’ve got multiple clients. To have some sort of framework to be able to filter the wheat from the chaff as they say, do you use a framework like that or is it gut instinct?

Sandra: 

It’s a little bit of both. I think when you’re selecting a sponsorship, you’ve really got to have some fairly stringent criteria that things need to play into. ROI is obviously an important one because you’re going to have to put a lot more effort and energy into a sponsorship than you would a straight media buy or a campaign.

So, there’s hygiene things that need to stack up in terms of that. It’s how measurable is it? How, is it a known entity? Is it a new thing? Is it tapping into a passion that you’re currently not delivering in the rest of the portfolio for example so there is a gap there?

Is there a job that you need to continue to do with customers that gives you another opportunity to have in your portfolio of how you can reward loyalty for example? So, I think having a set criteria and staying I guess, vigilant to that and constantly refining that and learning that over time makes it a lot easier to sort out the key gems in those opportunities.

Darren: 

And there is a colleague, a friend of mine, Cal Gardner, who worked at Mushroom Music or Mushroom.

Sandra: 

Yes.

Darren: 

He was the marketer and he said they used sponsorship relationships as a way of promoting artists and albums and tours and things. He said he was always looking for what the money can’t buy.

Sandra: 

Well I think the money can’t buys are the hardest ones to value but the big differentiator and that’s where they really do differ from channels because if you can access these money can’t buys, what you are absolutely doing there is tapping into the passion of that target that you’re after.

Because that’s showing that you understand their interests and you get them and if you can harness a money can’t buy and leverage that opportunity in how you’re going to talk to your target, you’re already way ahead.

Darren: 

So that’s where it goes from just being a channel to that next level, it’s really where sponsorship as an arrangement comes into its own, doesn’t it?

Sandra: 

Absolutely and it’s not just about doing it with your target audience. Your target audience should also be your stakeholders, your franchisees and it’s being how do you, I guess deliver those money can’t buys across your whole business?

Darren: 

So, when you’re having to filter through this, is it hard to turn people down? And look, the only reason I ask that is I know someone that worked for a big corporation and they said they were getting twenty or thirty a week and they had some criteria and they said the vast majority of them didn’t even get close to meeting the criteria.

Sandra: 

Yeah. Well I think it’s how much effort they put in in the first place and whether they’ve actually shown I guess, initiative in understanding what brand they’re going after. I think that determines the effort and energy you put back into your response.

In saying that, you can see some gems come across your desk that haven’t quite been positioned the right way and you know how maybe you could give them some feedback to improve their offering.

So, I think it’s really important to stay open to what’s out there because the more opportunities you see, the more you’re able to really understand how sponsorship as a genre is evolving and how, just how many layers there are.

Darren: 

And look for that diamond in the rough as they say that with a bit of polishing could actually be a gem.

Sandra: 

Absolutely, that’s right.

Darren: 

So once you’ve got a proposal that’s of interest, what’s the process of then working through the first of all, approvals and then implementation.

Sandra: 

I think as you’re working through the approvals, getting that internal buy in across the business is really critical. Making sure you understand where it fits into your overall ecosystem. Understanding, is this something that’s going to be a long-term property?

So, let’s think about how this is going to deliver to the brand over time, across paid, owned and earned. How are we going to measure success in year one, year two, year three? Do we have the infrastructure in place to measure that?

I think what is also really important is it’s not just a set and forget once you’ve got that leverage strategy. Sponsorships are very passionate spaces and often things can go wrong, there can be controversies. So as a business, as a brand, you need to make sure that you have a crisis plan in place to measure when things go wrong because what that does do is it stops you having to respond in the heat of the moment where emotions are high.

Often if there’s a controversy and I’ll use say an RL as an example if I may, you need to be able to have a rational moment to think through, well, how as a brand do we respond if X,Y, or Z happened so that you are, I guess, following what aligns to your brand values in a rational way rather than reacting in the heat of the moment to fans or even up the chain internally.

Darren: 

Yeah, it must be an interesting conversation when a sponsorship goes wrong or you know, it starts, but it would come back to who actually owns the sponsorship in a way within the organisation.

The reason I raise that is we’ve actually seen sponsorships that have been organised by corporate affairs because it’s seen as something that will help position the company or the organisation with the commercial stakeholders, the shareholders, government.

Then we’ve seen it with sales, often sponsorship is used by sales as a way of lubricating the sales funnel. Marketing of course, and then other times, a separate sponsorship department. Do you think there’s any one approach that works best, or?

Sandra: 

I think the key challenge for sponsorships is that they get siloed and I think what you’ve just said then explains exactly that. They either live, they’re owned by this department or this department. The critical element for success is that the entire business is invested in its success.

So, if anything, the CMO is the owner or the custodian of that within the marketing team but equally, so is the head of sales. It’s got to be a shared responsibility that the entire business is equally invested in.

And in saying that, including the sponsorship property that you’ve bought from, you want them to be a business partner as well. You want that relationship to go beyond just being a transaction. So how do you make sure they’re invested in your success as well?

Darren: 

Yeah, and you can see organisations where they’ve made it as part of the whole company because you know, they leverage that relationship on multiple dimensions. But how many times have you seen big corporates that will have almost corporate sponsorships of events that have no or obvious connection with either sales, the customer or marketing?

Sandra: 

A lot! And I think what you’re doing there is really missing the opportunity to return that ROI and have that property delivering you greater efficiency year on year. Otherwise it just becomes an extremely expensive media asset.

Darren: 

Well, they are usually the sponsorships that are transactional, you know?

Sandra: 

Yes.

Darren: 

Money’s paid, tickets are given to an event, certain people in the organisation turn up and that’s pretty much it.

Sandra: 

And I think that’s a demonstration of when you don’t start out on the inside with the sponsorship, you start from the outside. And I think if you start properly planning something from the inside to make sure the entire business is invested, you’re going to guarantee that you don’t end up part of that situation.

Darren: 

Okay, what does that look like? We can talk about starting on the inside, what would an inside start look like for a major sponsorship?

Sandra: 

I think first of all it needs to start with communication upfront, you’re investing in this property, the whole business is going to be a part of it. Here is what the staff will access as an opportunity. Here is how the franchisees will access this as an opportunity and have potentially some money can’t buys where they may leverage those relationships.

Darren: 

So, think through all of the stakeholders that could possibly get any benefit or involvement or experience from this.

Sandra: 

Absolutely. CRM, how we’re going to reward existing customers. How are we going to conquest? What’s that communication going to look like through the whole funnel? What is that consistency because with the consistency comes scale and I think people, having that authentic connection is also critical because it’s not just about a logo and doing things, it’s what is your message, what is your reason for being there?

And there’s obviously brands that have a much more natural, authentic fit with a particular property. And there’s other categories that have to work harder to make themselves relevant. But as long as you’ve found what that angle is and that angle is consistent across every single touch point, that’s when you will, you will really see the benefits.

Darren: 

When we think of these events or big sponsorships you know, like sport, you mentioned the NRL, AFL, cricket, well you know, they’ve had some…

Sandra: 

That’s an interesting one.

Darren: 

And then you’ve got the arts, and then within that you’ve got the music industry and what other categories are there? Because what I’m interested in…

Sandra: 

Well, there’s food festivals.

Darren: 

Of course, yeah.

Sandra: 

There’s a myriad. It’s literally infinite how many opportunities there are, and I guess how many are properties by definition.

Darren: 

And the Olympics?

Sandra: 

An Olympics is another one again and even though it’s a sport, it’s a clean sport. So, the way you leverage the Olympics is very different to the way you would leverage a cricket or a soccer sponsorship.

Darren: 

Professionals because the Olympics is the ultimate…

Sandra: 

Well, it’s clean space also. There’s no signage in an Olympics so there is a lot more rules on lockouts of blackout periods of when if you’re not a partner, even though you may sponsor an athlete, you can’t advertise in that window. So yes, it’s all sport, but there are so many nuances between the sports, how they’re consumed, what all those rules are, that you need to navigate.

Darren: 

In your experience, are there any categories that are better at working with sponsorships or is the level of professionalism fairly even? Because I imagine that has a big impact on how well you can actually leverage your sponsorship?

Sandra: 

I think the arts struggle a little bit and for very good reason as well. I mean they obviously, as the arts, don’t commercialise themselves quite the same as say a sport or the entertainment industry to a certain extent does.

But again, it’s really back to who are you going after, your target audience? What are they going to want to see? Someone who is a fan of the arts and the ballet isn’t going there to see logos shoved down their throat or dancers prancing around with logos on their tutus.

So, it’s about tapping into why you’re wanting to talk to that audience and giving them what adds value to their experience. So, it’s a harder thing to do with the arts because it’s probably more subtle but it’s looking at how do you contribute to that industry because if you’re doing good for that industry, you’ve then got the opportunity to tell a story for your brand.

That’s where content comes into play and the way you execute, and leverage might be quite different to a sports sponsorship for example.

Darren: 

Yeah, and content is interesting, isn’t it? Because that is a place where a sponsor can really add value to the audience that they’re trying to influence through the sponsorship, isn’t it?

Sandra: 

Absolutely and that’s where tapping into those money can’t buys, being relevant to your audience, gives you that legitimate storytelling opportunity. In saying that, the prevalence of content now also makes that property more open to ambush because there’s brands that can be very clever with content and look like they’re associated with that IP where they’re not.

So, there’s as many negatives as there are benefits.

Darren: 

I know with Nike, their sponsorship of particular players, they ride over the event sponsors like The Australian Open or Wimbledon because they’re sponsoring the players that are actually in the centre of the action.

Sandra: 

And that’s where I guess the industry’s really changed a lot of course. The power of that individual, the way that athletes are now so celebrity in the way we’re looking at sport for entertainment. Even the recent Australian Open, there was as much attention played to off-court controversies and things as there was to the games themselves.

Darren: 

And as you say, these athletes are often their own media sources well through their own social media feeds, they do amazing PR as they get mass to media pick up on it. How can you as a sponsor either influence that or do you just have to be aware of it or do you have to plan for possible disasters or crises?

Sandra: 

I think all of the above. You definitely need to plan for that and if you are sponsoring a sport for example, ideally you’ll have some ambassadors as part of that opportunity so that you’ve got the combination of the code or the team, the players to be able to be channels for you over and above and to be able to authentically represent your brand because that’s the key.

But yes, equally, it can go wrong if they do something wrong, this is where we talked earlier about having a crisis plan. You know, you’ve got to make sure that that ambassador, that person representing your brand, understands your values and that’s going back to doing your homework and making sure there’s alignment there.

Darren: 

So, we mentioned the Australian Cricket Team and they went through a crisis twelve months ago. Interestingly, some sponsors held their own, others walked away. What’s the decision-making process for that? If you’re managing a sponsorship for your client, what are the types of considerations, do I stay or do I go, to put the words of the famous song?

Sandra: 

Well that was an interesting one because I guess the outrage from the Australian public at that time on one hand, further reinforced the value of that property because if you’ve got a country that cares so much, then surely, you’re investing in a property that means something to people.

So that’s a really important thing. If no one reacted, you’d probably be concerned. So, the fact that there was such a passionate outcry, to me said yeah, this is a valuable thing to protect. And I think walking away from that, I guess people need to understand, you’re not just walking away from an elite level, you’re walking away from an organisation that actually filters down to grass roots – the very people you’re trying to target in the first place.

So you’re hurting them as well if you’re walking away and taking that investment out of that body. It’s a lot more at stake and a lot more to think about and again, it goes back to the point I made about having a crisis plan because things will always go wrong and if you’ve got a plan in place, you don’t need to make a decision in the heat of the moment but you do need to think about the implications so that you don’t just have a knee-jerk reaction to something that does have a bigger flow-on.

Darren: 

It’s fascinating listening to you, Sandra, because I’m hearing there’s media and channel management, there’s influencer management, there’s crisis management, there’s this whole mix of media PR, reputation management, all sorts of things that all come in together here.

It must be fascinating to actually pull those in because in a lot of organisations and even in a lot of companies, agencies suppliers. All of those things are often very disparate you know, they’re often sitting in lots of different areas. Collaboration must be a big issue.

Sandra: 

Yeah, I think so, yeah. Communication is key and knowing what you stand for and what you’re trying to deliver is really important but everything is meshing into everything else. I mean, you’re seeing the prevalence of that happening because everyone has a voice now, everyone has social media, everyone can have an opinion on everything.

So, within a business, people are a lot more confident to speak out within an organisation as well as outside. But it is a tangled spider web of opportunities and threats at the same time and that’s why it’s really important to have a very disciplined strategy and know where you’re going there’s going to be diversions. There’s going to be things you need to react to, but that doesn’t mean you just drop everything and start to go in a different direction.

Darren: 

And do you have a perspective on whether that portfolio of sponsorship should be diverse, or should it be focused or does it depend on your strategy?

Sandra: 

It depends on your strategy and I think you’ve got to be careful not to just look at sponsorships as a channel on their own because you may have a diverse portfolio, if you’re a huge brand that has a massive loyalty program for example, you’re going to want to have a lot of different opportunities in there if you’re really working that at an owned level.

You’ll want to make sure that you have got something for your entire I guess, suite of customers, their diverse interests. But it doesn’t mean you need to have your toe in the water across arts, entertainment, areas of music, sport, because you’ve got to look at your whole ecosystem. You may be reaching a certain target audience quite fine in media and with your creative agency. So, sponsorships don’t have to fill every gap, but they fill a gap at a point in time.

Darren: 

While you were saying that I was thinking of the banks at the moment, on the back of the Royal Commission findings and we see banks, National Australia Bank, NAB sponsored the AFL. Commonwealth Bank do a lot around teaching financial literacy to schools and things like that.

Sandra: 

They’re also heavily investing in grass roots and women’s sports things as well.

Darren: 

So, it’d be interesting to see how that will evolve over the next twelve months because I think one of the things, as you’ve pointed out, sponsorship is a great way of engaging audiences through sponsoring and supporting the things they’re interested in.

Sandra: 

They’ve found a way of making themselves relevant in a space that they don’t have a natural fit, say like a sports brand or a Gatorade or something, so this is where it’s really important that organisations do find relevance in that property. Because that’s their content, that’s their storytelling, that’s how they’re going to shift the brand metrics that they’re obviously looking to shift which is why they’re in that space in the first place the way they are.

Darren: 

So, there’s two points of evaluation, isn’t there with sponsorships? The first is, should I do it? And we’ve discussed that.

Sandra: 

Yeah.

Darren: 

The second one is, having done it, how do you go about first of all, working out what your, not just ROI in the fullest sense of the word, but also, I imagine there’s what are the lessons we’ve learnt to carry forward?

Sandra: 

Absolutely. And I think that’s the critical thing because so many times you can finish year one of a sponsorship and those learnings which have been really critical stay in a PDCA document, never to see the light of day again.

Being able to apply those learnings and then see the benefit of that year on year, is very important. Addressing any gaps that you might have had in measurement, so it is great as you say, there’s ROI in the most basic sense in terms of the value equation.

Darren: 

And you can do that in a very pragmatic way just measuring the media equivalency in a way.

Sandra: 

That’s right and there’s industry sources that do that, you validate that yourself. There’s tangible deliverables like hospitality, you know what things are worth. The gap that you’re paying for IP is the interesting one and that’s where it’s really up to brands to take responsibility for maximising the opportunity they have with that IP to deliver ROI. But the way that you measure it has to ladder back to your objective.

Darren: 

But there would also have to be a goodwill factor, wouldn’t there? I mean, how would you, if you’re sponsoring something and I know you’ve mentioned this before, as a sponsor you need to add value to the experience of whatever you’re supporting for the audience. That must add goodwill and goodwill sits on a balance sheet, I mean, literally goodwill is part of how we value companies. Is that part of the evaluation of sponsorship or is it sort of one step away?

Sandra: 

Look, I think it’s absolutely part of it but it’s not, there are so many parts and I think if you are trying to shift measures of trust or attributes for your brand, you’ve absolutely got to have that sponsorship within your brand tracking so that some of these less tangible things can have a measure and can be attributed to that sponsorship.

I think goodwill attribution is a really difficult one, but it’s every initiative you’re doing, you need to be able to measure, what is the one thing we’re going to measure success by for this and make sure that everyone is buying into that measure.

Darren: 

I like it in finance because basically it’s the difference between the value of the tangible assets versus the value of say, publicly listed companies, so how it’s valued on the stock exchange, the difference between the two is roughly the goodwill.

Sandra: 

It is.

Darren: 

I’m wondering if we can do the same with sponsorship and brand as well.

Sandra: 

I think it’s never going to be an exact science that’s going to spit out a magic number. And I think each brand has unique ways of talking about success within their organisation. Yeah. It’s not something you will ever achieve in a year, it’s a long-term digging in the trenches and working it through the system and being able to find every little nugget that you can that says, “Well, without this or without leveraging it this way, we wouldn’t have achieved this.”

Darren: 

So, having done a valuation of a sponsorship and you realise that for whatever reason, you’ve incredibly under delivered on the potential, what’s the sort of thinking you would go through as to whether, ditch it, try again or completely reinvent it?

Sandra: 

Well when you say under delivered on the potential, I think it is a game…

Darren: 

Return on investment.

Sandra: 

I guess having a long-term plan and having times that you’re going to check in. You can’t embark on a sponsorship for a year and not check in at regular intervals to stop that kind of thing happening and to optimise and have counter measures in place that are going to change the mix.

Look, there’s a myriad of reasons why something will work, or it won’t work. But if a brand is accountable for say, a lack of success, they’re still learnings that you need to take onboard and you’re not going to get everything right in year one.

In fact, you probably better off to do smaller steps because the biggest mistake that you can make in a sponsorship is jumping in too early before you’ve even got any legitimacy, before people are even aware of you. And if you get it wrong and I guess behave in a way or communicate in a way with content that shows that you don’t really get the space, that’s where you’re going to do more harm than good.

So, taking time to really learn about the property, immersing yourself in it, is going to guarantee that you don’t miss the potential.

Darren: 

It’s a good point because you know, some people or some organisations have a sponsorship budget and it’s almost like a bucket of water that gets doled out to various things, but your approach is more about seeing it as part of the overall investment.

Sandra: 

Absolutely, yes. And sometimes sponsorships can change over time and actually end up delivering on a whole other marketing objective that you actually didn’t sign up for in the first place but that might mean savings from another part of the business.

Because suddenly, with what you’ve learnt in that sponsorship space, it can now answer another business problem that maybe is more effective to solve within a sponsorship than perhaps something that the CRM team might have been doing separately.

Darren: 

Yes.

Sandra: 

You know, and in saying that, I mean, sponsorships can have an end date and have a time where they simply no longer play a relevant role in a brand and it’s knowing when that time is up or reinventing what that sponsorship looks like or what those inclusions look like, that is really important.

Darren: 

Well there is that benefit, isn’t there, of long-term sponsorships because we’ve seen some pretty well-known things like races and mainly sporting events where there’s been a long-term naming rights sponsor who then after ten, twenty, years drops it, but people still call it that for another ten years. There’s this decay effect.

Sandra: 

I think with things like the Melbourne Cup you’ve seen a lot of that happen. You know, very long-term naming rights partners there.

Darren: 

It’s an interesting one, the Melbourne Cup, isn’t it? Because I know a couple of companies that sponsor big marquees and when you say, “It doesn’t really fit with your customer”, often it’s not the customer you know? In one case it’s the retailers, it’s a way of rewarding them for their loyalty and hard work, sponsorship is not just customer focused or it doesn’t have to be just customer focused, does it?

Sandra: 

That’s right and that’s where, as we were discussing before, you could have different brands buying into the one property but for completely different reasons, so it is a multi-layered space.

I mean, the other thing that we haven’t talked about yet that I was going to mention before when we talked about long-term involvement with particular properties, I think what we have being seeing, is there’s a lot of brands that have been involved in different sports sponsorships for a long time but I think in this last twelve months, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of sports rights change hands and I think that’s another watch out when you’re doing a longer term…

Darren: 

You mean the broadcast rights?

Sandra: 

Broadcast rights, which completely can change a leverage plan so it’s really important when you’re looking at these horizon deals that might go for multiple years, you want to be aware that is there a time during the lifecycle of your sponsorship that the actual broadcast rights are going to be up and what are the threats with that?

How do you protect yourself from that? We’ve seen a really interesting thing with cricket where Nine Network was the go-to destination for forty years…

Darren: 

Summer of cricket, yeah.

Sandra: 

You know, international, free to air, you knew where to, and now we’ve seen that whole thing turned on its head and for brands that have been around trying to leverage that suddenly the entire fragmentation of that sport completely shifts.

Darren: 

Well, and I think also because broadcast has changed. There is the free to air but then there’s the paid options and then there’s streaming and then there’s paid streaming, with the World Cup wasn’t it that Optus had the trouble, they were sharing it with SBS…

Sandra: 

Yeah well, they had to share more in the end because they couldn’t deliver.

Darren: 

Yeah because they couldn’t stream, it couldn’t handle the bandwidth and the demand. I mean, in a way, success worked against them because there was such a high demand for it. But all of those things makes sponsorship even more complex, don’t they?

Sandra: 

It does and the challenge we’ve got at the moment really is that there is no one source of truth. I mean, we do know that live consumption of sport is certainly not declining the same way general entertainment is on TV overall.

In fact, you could argue, is it really declining at all because is it just that something might be down because of the performance of the Australian team for example. So, there’s all sorts of nuances. Did rainy weather mean no play?

There’s all sorts of reasons why sport can fluctuate but the gap we’ve got at the moment for any decline we do see is we know the demand is there for streaming but that’s a different currency again and we don’t really have a complete transparency on what those streaming numbers are.

Darren: 

That’s true.

Sandra: 

And then how the industry understands that we may have lost the linear broadcast here, but this is what we’ve gained so it’s actually effectively not a decline at all and I think that’s a real gap at the moment. The prevalence of streaming, we’re seeing Kayo launching over summer, that’s going to really change things, it’s just how quickly we’re then able to measure that for clients is going to be the challenge.

Darren: 

There’s another dimension to that as well which is it’s not just the whole numbers but is an audience person a set of eyeballs more engaged when they’re streaming at the time that they choose as opposed to watching it at a pre-destined time as well?

Sandra: 

I know and fortunately with sport, the majority of it is consumed live.

Darren: 

Well, because no one wants a friend that says, “Hey, did you see that score? I was going to watch it tonight!”

Sandra: 

But in saying that, Kayo has now set themselves up for no spoilers so if you’re in that situation and you are watching it that night, you can now ensure that you’ve got no alerts for your team or anything. So, I mean, this is that whole fan first.

Darren: 

Technology is making it even more complex.

Sandra: 

It is, but that’s why, you know, in a way there’s some really important 101 lessons there in terms of that’s going to be happening in everything, even sponsoring an artist tour for example. You need to try to work out how you are in that content so no matter where it fragments, you’re there.

Darren: 

Yeah.

Sandra: 

You don’t have to, and I think that’s the other important thing, when you are negotiating rights in a sponsorship deal, do it so that then you are free to leverage rather than having to spend to defend.

Darren: 

Yes.

Sandra: 

I think that’s a real subtle difference.

Darren: 

And it’s all about planning, planning upfront.

Sandra:

Exactly, yes.

Darren: 

Get it right upfront so that you’re not then playing catch-up down the back.

Sandra: 

Yes.

Darren: 

I’ve just noticed the time, Sandra, thank you. This is an incredible topic and I’m sure we could probably talk for another hour on this but thank you for joining me.

Sandra: 

Thank you for having me.

Darren: 

And one last question, of all the different sponsorship types, which one’s the highest risk for a brand?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley. Access all the episodes here

 

 

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Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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