Sponsorships and event partners are essential for a lot of events to thrive. Whether they are cash sponsors or in-kind partners, they often contribute to the bottom line of an event’s success.
However, traditional partnerships and sponsorships have changed a lot over the years and event producers have to be more creative in finding ways for partners to engage consumers and provide tangible value at the event. Creating event partnership opportunities with levels (Gold, Silver, Bronze) still exist, but partners gain a lot more value through audience engagement.
Why are partners getting involved in events?
There are many reasons why partners are supporting events. For example: brand interaction is a chance to interact with a niche audience in an intimate environment. Brand recognition is keeping brands top of mind. Brand association refers to having a brand aligned with a particular event of status or credibility, generating new clients and building brand loyalty.
Change in Consumer Behaviours
Companies have to be creative in how they interact with audiences. With the increase in people working from home and using virtual solutions, we have less exposure to our customers. Change in consumer behaviours and how they build loyalties to brands are ever changing. So much information is at our fingertips through technology and the consumer voice has more power than ever. Giving consumers an opportunity to be a voice for your partners is the best kind of advertising they can get.
How do you create immersive experiences?
The best way that I have found to engage event partners is through immersive brand experiences that add value to partners and they also bring an experiential element to an event.
So where do you start?
Look at the touchpoints within your event with the audience. The entrance, the dinner table, the visuals, the bar, speeches and so forth. Each of these touchpoints can create a brand activation.
Consider the goals of your audience and help to create activations that will reach those goals. Are they looking to network, entertain clients, have fun, pamper themselves or learn something?
Is there something that a partner can contribute and bring more creativity to the event? Whether it is an experience that will help your audience get into the theme or provide them with a quiet place to network, there are many existing event touchpoints at an event where you can elevate the experience.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Entrance greeters handing out a themed item to help guests get into the event such as a top hat at a “Broadway” themed event.
- Champagne welcome cocktails presented on a walking table with branded glasses.
- Specialty washroom attendants creating a luxury experience with branded amenities to take home.
- Complimentary coat check picked up by a partner.
- Valet service compliments of a sponsor with branded water bottles left in the car for the ride home.
- Glow in the dark branded giveaway to help with the live auction bidding for a fundraiser.
- Overnight branded amenity baskets with all the essentials for traveling.
- Interactive cooking experiences with branded aprons.
- Distribute floral bouquets to guests as they exit with branded stickers.
- Mini barista coffee trailers with branded cups.
- Branded “break” zone for attendees to catch up with emails or a quiet place to make a phone call.
- Branded charging stations for all types of electronics.
- Branded lockers to allow attendees to be “hands free.”
- Branded photo activations incorporating partners logos and/or products sent by guests through social media.
Track your Value
Tracking the value of your partnership is very important. Creating measuring tools around the partnership will help to ensure long term partners and to communicate the impact of the brand experience. Give your audience a reason to continue to interact with the brand or be an ambassador of the brand after the event.
Some measuring tools include:
- Coupons with code which encourage sales opportunities,
- Giveaway opportunities,
- Follow up sales incentives,
- Social media contests with brand engagement.
When companies partner with an event they are looking for a unique way to market their brand and build customer loyalty. It is a win-win for both the event organizer and the partner to create these elevated immersive brand experiences and activations.
Michelle Planche, CMP, is president of Paradigm Events in Toronto. She leads an award winning team and has been producing large events across the country for over 25 years.