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  • ATR EXTRA - Olympic Sports Sponsors Need Storytelling, Engagement


    Robert Mazzucchelli (SportsEdTV)
    Are you sponsoring the Games? Do you support a specific sport federation?

    If you are, go deep or go home.

    By deep I mean intentional, organized, repetition -- IOR for your ROI.

    In other words, as Nielsen Sports opines: 

    It’s about creative power and how to optimally activate your rights.” – Sebastian Kurczynski, Director

    If I’ve learned one thing after 30 years of advising companies about sports sponsorship, it’s that consistent, persistent activation creates the most value for sponsors.

    This was my message to clients in 1987, when activation possibilities were much more limited and the basic formula of 3-to-1 (activation dollars-to-sponsorship dollars) was popular. It is even more valuable in 2020 in the age of digital and social media activation.

    The bandwagon is getting crowded, as evidenced by peer assertions like this:

    “The shift into a new way of thinking when it comes to sports marketing is not just about revenue, It’s about capturing a moment of culture, of history, and turning it into a way to engage with one of the most dedicated and brand loyal groups of consumers on earth.” Joe Weston, Director, We Are Social Sport

    The digital/social axis is peppered with quantitative feedback sure to assuage the timid. Likes, comments and shares are the translatable backbone.

    Activation goes deeper, too, as share of voice, unique authors, mentions, and promotion quality become standards of measurement with IOR/ROI import.

    Fortunately, digital dollars can go a long way today, so the activation formula has changed a bit in favor of sponsors using a heavy digital approach. Here are three activation keys:

    1) Find Ways to Engage Directly With Your Target Audience

    Direct engagement means (usually) digital engagement. And digital engagement takes identified, targeted messaging. I like the way ISPO describes it:

    “Targeting is the opposite of the watering can principle, which sports sponsorship had to make use of for a long time. Instead of one message for all, now it’s the right message for every target group.” -- Joscha Thieringer

    Can you activate your sponsorship where you get a one-click to purchase opportunity? The great thing about digital direct activation means you can tie a sales lead to sales objectives of your sponsorship.

    At SportsEdTV, we look for every opportunity to let sponsors make a sale. We help sponsors engage the audience with enticing content, and then put them one click away from a sale.

    2) Find Ways to Maintain Engagement Even in ‘Off-Season’

    Most sports have a season. The Olympic Games have a season.

    So sponsors lose a little excitement and traction in the down time. They must reinvigorate their creative departments to keep fans engaged.

    For instance, in Deloitte’s deep study, Sponsoring Sports In Today’s Digital Age, they tell how one sponsor ran a contest to win World Cup Final tickets, and drew 5700 comments and 4500 likes.

    But most coaches and athletes train every day, all year round, and fans are always hungry to see their favorite sport in action. And this presents a year-round engagement/activation opportunity.

    What activation opportunities can you find to keep the sports your brand supports alive in the off-season?

    At SportsEdTV our sponsors engage the most avid fans of each sport -- people who also PLAY the sport.
    3) Find Stories That Create Content

    Engagement is built with relevant stories. When you sponsor sports, you need to tell stories. Sports are about people, and stories about people create engagement.

    Renowned communicator Nancy Duarte coaches us: 

    “Use emotive storytelling, memorable dramatization, repeatable sound bites, evocative visuals and facts that shock to create impactful messages."

    Every game, match, or meet has a story. Every player, coach, fan and parent has a story.

    Have you capitalized on activation opportunities that help you create stories of interest to your target audience? Have you captured the human side of sports that people find so appealing?

    Have you found an effective channel to tell these stories and connect them to your brand?

    At SportsEdTV, we let sponsors tell the behind the scenes, heart-warming stories about athletes and their journeys to reach their goals.

    Every athlete is on a journey to achieve something. Telling those stories creates connection.

    Robert Mazzucchelli is the Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer of SportsEdTV