Tag Archives: economy

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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Isn’t it worth saving the Soap Box Derby?

All-American_Soap_Box_Derby_Logo_We all know that the current economic state has affected the way that companies spend their marketing and sponsorship budgets in regards to major sports properties like NASCAR and the PGA. If we take a deeper look, we can also see how the little guy is being affected by corporate budget cuts. One example is the current situation facing the All American Soap Box Derby. Since 1933, the AASBD has been the governing body of American soap box racers. They govern regional events, culminating with a National Championship in Akron, Ohio each July.

Two years ago the AASBD lost their title sponsor and are now struggling to stay afloat as they will incur a financial loss for the second year in a row. With only a few regional sponsors, and a dwindling budget, the organization hopes that some company will come forward with the $250,000 annual title sponsor charge. While the price may seem relatively small compared to the fees charged by larger organizations, the AASBD is constantly reminded about the lack of marketing funds from potential sponsors for the upcoming year So what is the organization supposed to do?

Well it seems as if the AASBD has a plan. This non-for-profit group is taking a new approach in which their value to potential sponsors is highlighted. Right in step with the green movement amongst Corporate America, the group will focus its sponsor pitch on the fact that their sport uses only gravity during competition. Paul Swangard of the University of Oregon recently remarked in USA Today that the AASBD has “been green longer than Al Gore”, and suggests that an alternative energy company may want to sign on at this price.

The fact that the AASBD is presenting themselves off as a green group may be just the type of sales pitch that they need. This, coupled with their non-for-profit classification puts them in a prime spot for companies wanting to benefit from cause marketing. As we have mentioned on this blog previously, cause marketing in the current economy ensures companies remain relevant through sponsorship, while touching a positive place in the hearts of consumers.

Besides the opportunity of a sponsor capitalizing on soap box racing as a non-profit eco-friendly sport, a corporation could also benefit from sponsoring a sport that is considered as American as apple pie. During this period of economic hardship it seems logical to show some national pride by teaming up with an American tradition.

It will be interesting to see which companies rev up this flailing sport, and by which methods of sponsorship they decide to activate. If a sponsor does partner with the AASBD, a strong plan of action will go a long way in benefiting from the relatively inexpensive cost of the title sponsor slot. As our Vice President Bill Doyle stated this past spring, sponsors should go on a “diet”. If done effectively, a $250,000 sponsorship of this worthwhile organization seems like it could match a sponsorship manager’s appetite perfectly.

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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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Economic Recovery could (should?) spur era of “Customer Compassion”

As Americans struggling through a down economy, we have had little to do other than budget our spending and look for the light at the end of the tunnel.  When we do pull ourselves out of this hole, how will we spend out money when these brighter days come?

gmOne sector that makes this question very interesting is the automobile industry.  As of early June, the American Government (i.e. American Taxpayers) owns roughly 70% of General Motors, which could lead to a historic shift in consumer purchasing objectives.  Now that the majority of this manufacturing giant is owned by the public, does that make us any more likely to purchase one of their (our) vehicles?

Some would say of course.  “How unAmerican would you be considered amongst your peers if you chose a foreign manufacturer, considering future taxes and financial stability are linked to GM’s success?” asks Bill Doyle, VP of Performance Research.  Like minded individuals would agree that this sense of “new America” patriotism will offer the domestic auto industry a big bump as we rebound from rougher times.

Besides the possibility of increasing sales in the near future, the post recession customer base will offer GM a chance to re establish themselves as a viable option for the long term, and if they succeed, setting up the building blocks to create a new sense of brand loyalty.  The determining factor will be GM’s ability to lure skeptical consumers to sign on the dotted line, by invoking an air of U.S. pride, and offering a product comparable to Asian competition.

If given the option of two similar vehicles, at equivalent prices, I would like to think that I would purchase the American made automobile based on both economic impact, and national pride, but it would be require some consideration.  Why do we owe to these companies who took so much, yet how do we turn our backs on one of our own?

What would you do?

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