Tag Archives: corporate

Make Sure Your Street Team is Working For You!

This past weekend I took a quick trip down to NYC to visit some old friends and take care of some holiday shopping.  Of course, despite the tugs from my girfriend, I could not help but stop and analyze what some companies were up to as far as sponsorship and activation.

One of the moments that really pushed me to take out the camera and notepad was upon seeing a Metro PCS promotion in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan.  There was a woman dressed up in a purple Metro PCS outfit, standing on a corner outside a subway stop.  Now this seems like a perfect opportunity to shout your message, right? Too bad it wasn’t working out as planned.

Even though that particular corner wasn’t the busiest citywide, the real problem was the lack of enthusiasm from the employee.  The hired worker basically just stood there, not going up to anyone and looking totally non commited to her role.  As we pointed out a few weeks ago in discussing the Charmin pop up in Times Square, with its outstanding engagement approach, peoples attitudes are the KEY to on street promotions.  If you smile and interact with everyone that passes by, you have a much higher success rate than just standing there (Duh!).

Another two potential customers walk by, unengaged.

Now that we establshed that the Metro PCS promotional worker should have been more effective,  lets take a look at who else was responsible for this quiet city corner.

While we are not sure whether this particular promotion was a result of a local store or the national headquarters, we are sure that a person in charge should make sure that everything is working!  From a corporate perspective, if they are providing a promotional budget for a local store to hire this girl, shouldn’t they make sure the local store knows how to run the event properly?  And from the other side, if corporate is running the promo, shouldn’t they have someone from within operating hands on when training the staff and picking a location?  Either way, choosing and managing proper staff would do worlds to make this promotion more effective.

Hopefully in the future, Metro PCS and other companies with good ideas should take it a step further to make sure their plans are carried out with the same energy that was used in the creation process.

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The SponsorEye – The Performance Research take on Tiger Woods

While tumultuous times no doubt lay ahead in Tiger Woods’ personal life, some of his sponsorship agreements may have also hit rocky times.

We speculate that with endemic sponsors like Gatorade, Nike and Golf Digest his status is likely to remain. He still represents the best there is in the sport, and for this reason they will hold on to him.  Of course we do suspect that TV and Print ads will come to a halt as companies try to dim the spotlight on Tiger until this story blows over.

As far as non-endemic companies like Accenture, AT&T and Gillette, we suspect that some of these sponsorships will be reconsidered or pulled as their association with Tiger is on a higher level.  These companies associate themselves with Tiger as a professional with a solid personality and place in society.  With all the personal issues in his  life that have been revealed over the past week it puts these sponsors in a tough spot, as so much of their relationship is reliant on him being a positive force outside the realm of golf players.  If any companies do pull out all the way, we suspect it will be one of these.

Look for things to shake out over the next week, then the media backlash will start to slow down as publc interest quells.  Even with the possibility of losing sponsors looming, make no mistakes, Tiger and his accomplishments do outweigh this current scandal.

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“Sponsor our event, but you might have to wait five years”

Yesterday marked the 25th Anniversary of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surfing Event at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. The event featured an elite group of surfers invited to compete in 25-40 ft. surf while a crowd of thousands watched from the sand, along with millions watching live on television and the web. Along with the surf and sun, Quiksilver is able to generate a tremendous amount of media coverage and ad space by presenting this specialty event.

Seems like a perfect scenario, right? Well, here’s the kicker. Although the event has been around 25 years, it has only actually run eight times. The contest is put on call every winter and will only run if perfect conditions align. As contest director George Downing famously stated, “the Bay calls the day”, making for years of waiting and close calls. From a sponsorship point of view, I wonder how difficult this makes it for organizers and corporate sponsors, having to be ready with a solid program at all times four months out of the year. Of course this must be tough logistically, but is it not also tough to keep past sponsors and gain new ones without any guarantee that the event will happen?

However the other, potentially beneficial, side of this “problem” is that the long waiting period adds a different value to the event. Although sponsors may not receive billing every year, they are aligning themselves with one of the most mystical and prestigious surf events in the world. Understandably the wait and anticipation creates a serious buzz amongst the demographic set that a sponsor would want to reach. This anticipation and level of viewership might be dulled if the contest were to run every winter season.

Understanding that the event could go years with out running, yet has all the power and stigma of any other professional surfing event, do you think sponsors come flocking or are more apt to hold back?

For more info on this event check out:

http://live.quiksilver.com/2009/edie/live.php?btn_live=_over

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Charmin Activates the Restroom

During our trip to NY last week we found the time to check out what some companies were up to in light of the holiday season. Our search led us to Times Square where we located the Charmin “Enjoy the Go” Pop Up on Broadway. The general idea behind the toilet paper brands space was to offer clean restrooms to the millions that flock to Times Square this time every year. This ground breaking service has been offered for the past four years and appears to be a great success.

While the main feature of the Pop Up is to provide the public with restrooms, the highlight of the area was the crew of employees that truly activated the venue. Starting with a team on the street, the Charmin brand ambassadors invited people inside with clear and energetic actions. Once you entered the building, the positive energy did not fade amongst any of the crew that led you to the restrooms, the facebook/twitter stations (where you can talk about your “go”) and even when they were taking your photo on atop the giant “throne”.

It was great to see such enthusiasm amongst a team of employees while present at a branded space. It’s also great to see how Charmin can change something as dull and monotonous as using the restroom into something exciting that people want to be a part of. Thanks for keeping us engaged!

Make sure to check out the photos below and for more info about “Enjoy the Go” check out http://tinyurl.com/ygmx5yb

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Gambling with their future?

Recent legislation attempts in Poland may begin to have a negative effect on sports sponsorship in that country. Polish lawmakers have proposed a ban of online gambling and bookkeeping, which would allow only brick and mortar casinos to carry on. This news coming at a time of economic turmoil around the world could prove devastating to the sports industry in Poland. Currently over 50 million zloties (roughly $18 million) are pumped into Polish sports each year, with soccer teams like Wisla Krakow and Lech Poznan relying heavily on gambling sponsors like Bet-at-Home and BetClick.

With this legislation on the table, sporting teams in Poland are running a risk by having reliance on these companies. Along with a ban on gambling will come a ban on any gambling related marketing and advertising, including sponsorships. This would leave teams without funding for their programs, and ultimately scrambling for cash.

In light of this situation, it will be interesting to see what plans these properties have for their future. Certainly one would believe that in moving forward they would take a more cautious approach when accepting sponsors, keeping a close eye on potential legal troubles. Also, when dealing with gambling and other companies that birth moral questioning, should these properties also be concerned with how they are perceived by the public? In the coming year we’ll keep a close eye on how this pending situation takes place.

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Football and French Fries?

ronald_mcdonald_jumping
McDonald’s recently signed on as an official primary sponsor of the Football Association of Thailand (soccer), in a deal valued just below $1,000,000. including cash for equipment, uniforms and travel. The total value also included meals from the quick service chain for the athletes. Now, it’s no surprise to see McDonald’s sponsoring sports, as they have long been a supporter of sports and athletes around the world. What spurred me to write this post was their continued inclusion of in-kind goods as part of the sponsorship.

Ever since 1968 when McDonald’s had hamburgers airlifted to France for homesick U.S. Olympic athletes, the idea of providing meals as part of their sponsorship has been an integral part of their plan. This plan has taken action in many ways, from providing meal vouchers to youth leagues around the world, all the way to building a custom McDonald’s in Beijing solely for the 2008 Olympic athletes.

While these sponsorships have been in place, so has a similar menu, known best for burgers and fries. At times people have questioned McDonald’s value as an athlete food source due to this fact. However, now providing more nutritious options for their customers and athletes alike, perhaps their sports sponsorships will make more sense in the eyes of fans around the globe.

Based on what you know about McDonald’s, let me ask you all a question:

Is the fact that their sports sponsorship program gives meals to athletes more beneficial now that they take a stronger stance on social responsibilty via healthier menu choices?

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2009 National Arts Marketing Project Conference

This past Saturday Performance Research was happy to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference held in Providence, Rhode Island.  Bill Doyle, industry guru and VP of Performance Research was present to take part on the panel titled “A Glimpse Behinde the Curtain: How Corporate Sponsors Think, Decide, and Execute.”  Besides Bill, the panel included Alice Sachs Zimet of Arts + Business Partners, Stephen Prostano of Silver Bridge Advisors and Kerri Cleghorn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Each of the speakers captivated the nearly 200 attendees in the room,  speaking about individual experiences and sharing professional insights on the nature of corporate art sponsorship.

Click the pics below for more info!

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Sponsorship of Volunteers?

volunteer

Well, I guess we have the volunteers, but how about some more sponsors?

Over the past few years certain numbers have been dropping all around us. But while incomes, employments rates and budgets have been on the decline, it’s surprising to see that one number is actually up. We are referring to the increase of volunteers in the United States. Whether or not people are volunteering more due to compassion during a time of economic struggle is up for debate, but the fact is that there were 61.8 million people with documented volunteer hours in the U.S. last year, one million more than the previous year.

Seeing how volunteerism is more prominent than ever, it seems a perfect opportunity for sponsors to offer support to the people and groups who are donating their time and energy to a cause. A sponsor could make arrangements to be present at events, whether it is a beach cleanup, a community program aimed to mentor youth, or any of the thousands of volunteer opportunities available to the public. In doing so, the sponsors are supporting the individuals volunteering, in turn adding value to the cause as a whole. Some forms of support that a sponsor could offer would be donating funds, giving out their product for free, offering discounts on product, or perhaps providing food and drinks for the volunteers.

By sponsoring the volunteers a company would touch each person individually, helping them feel appreciated and accomplished. Also, the sponsor would look good in the public eye through this act of community support. As volunteering continues to grow, let’s hope that sponsor support can keep in step. By the looks of it, all sides will benefit. What do you think?

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Engaged at Futbol Fiesta

caughtoureye4If you have ever been to the Futbol Fiesta prior to a Mexican National Soccer Team game then you already know that it offers a party like atmosphere including loud music, games, player appearances, and dozens of other activations presented by the sponsors. If you are a first timer (like I was last month in Dallas when Mexico played Colombia), then you are in for quite the experience. If you like to see passionate fans, engaged by equally ardent sponsors, than look no further!

Like all the events we attend, no matter how many good activations are present (quite a few in this case), there is usually one that really piques our interest. The activation that “Caught Our Eye” this time was presented by Home Depot. The Home Depot had several different booths open to fans, with multiple activities on hand. The particular aspect of their activation which impressed us the most was how they gave fans paint, brushes (items they sell) and large poster boards in order to make signs for the game. Whether you were painting the words “Let’s go Mexico!” or “Colombia Rules!”, you were able to take the sign into the Cotton Bowl for the game, and then bring the poster home with you as a souvenir.

Home Depot 3Not only did Home Depot engage fans by offering them the chance to directly participate with the soccer game, they also encouraged the use of their retail products and sent people home happy with free memorabilia. It seems to make perfect sense why the Home Depot activation was one of the busiest we saw.

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Performance Research Study Rings True at Corporate Sponsored Events

“As Consumers Change the Way They Spend in Tough Economic Times, They Expect Corporate Sponsors to do the Same” was the title of a March 2009 press release issued by Performance Research. The release, which included data from a Performance Research online survey conducted amongst a sample of American consumers, highlighted the American perspective on corporate sponsorship spending in the midst of troubled economic times.

barandarrow copyThe results of the survey offered some critical opinions of corporate spending on sports sponsorships. While 23% of respondents agreed that companies should spend less on sports sponsorships, an even greater number respondents (48%) said that they actually become angry when discovering that a corporation has a hospitality or VIP box at a sporting event.

A recent article published in the New York Times indicates a growing trend in the methods of “Stealth Spending” given current consumer attitudes towards corporate spending on sports sponsorships, supporting the findings of the study conducted by Performance Research. The article references the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, held on Long Island earlier this summer, and discusses how the companies sponsoring corporate hospitality tents kept a low profile throughout the event. While in previous years, many corporations paying for these tents – including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley – went all out on both spending and logo branding, this year a more tentative approach was taken in their sponsorship activation. While spending may or may not have been cut back, more noticeable was the removal of branding. According to The Times, this was evident in the lack of banners, logos on shirts, branded merchandise and other items that may be considered over the top or lavish. While the brands did spend some cash, they kept themselves away from public criticism as they continued their sponsorship in private, reaching only the clients they chose to entertain.

high quality logoThis image of “Stealth Spending” that The New York Times presents when discussing this year’s U.S. Open runs parallel to the idea of “Modesty Marketing” suggested by Performance Research just a few months ago when presenting our study at the 2009 IEG Annual Sponsorship Conference. The majority of respondents in the Performance Research study agreed that in today’s economy, it is more important than ever for companies to appear humble (64%). The consistency between the aformentioned results and the actions at the event show how the corporations are listening to the public. By paying for the events, but not widely promoting the fact, the corporations are able to maintain a sponsorship marketing program while managing to look more conservative in the public eye.

It is good to see corporations embracing the market shifts described in the Performance Research study. It will be interesting to see how public opinion on corporate sponsorship spending is affected by future shifts in the country’s economy.

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