SPONSORSHIP : And The Winner Is…

Awards and honours are handed out every year in every sector of business. Someone has to organise each event. And someone has to pay.
But despite the recession, instead of struggling as you might expect, many awards are getting stronger. How can that be?
There are many benefits to sponsorship, says Ian Walker, of Vero, which sponsors the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards.
“We get the association with high-performing companies and organisations, the positioning of Vero as champion of the SME market, the partnership with Sarah Trotman and the team at Bizzone – and the profile that comes with events such as this, such as when the winners are announced.
“It all adds up to great investment for us.”
Deloitte sponsors the Top 200 with NZ Management magazine and has supported it for 20 years.
Karen Torjussen, head of marketing and business development at Deloitte, says the company’s name is synonymous with the Top 200 and is one of the first things people ask about.
“It’s been great driver for brand association, and for reinforcing the fact that we service many of the organisations who fall into the Top 200.”
BDO sponsors two big awards, both the Vero Awards and the KEA World Class awards. Adam Davy, deputy chair of BDO New Zealand, says there are two key aspects of any sponsorship.
“It’s about having clear objective at the outset, which should be constantly reviewed to ensure it is being met, and secondly, getting an organisational and cultural fit in terms of vision and values.
“For BDO, that means growing excellence in business and excellence in people, through both the services we offer to New Zealand’s small to medium enterprises, and through how we develop excellence in our own organisation. These values are very well-aligned with those of Vero and KEA.”
Torjussen has some advice for promoters and businesses alike: “Don’t apply the cookie-cutter approach. Treat every sponsorship as unique opportunity. Don’t assume every potential sponsor wants the same thing or that ‘brand exposure’ should be the primary benefit for all sponsors.
There are many other ways of spending marketing budget. Why choose sponsorship over other marketing methods?
Richard Yeomans, general manager of Moët Hennessy New Zealand, says the company sponsors the Veuve Clicquot Awards for businesswomen because it is targeted access to group of consumers that can otherwise be hard to isolate.
“Of course there are always many other marketing options available, however when executed well, sponsorship can deliver subtle yet emotive connection with the brand.”
For Vero, it’s not instead of traditional marketing, it’s part of brand strategy, says Walker. “We use different communications channels to achieve different objectives. Sponsorship is valuable part of our marketing mix – but we see it as an enhancement of our overall communications strategy, rather than replacement for any other channels.”
Davy agrees and says the key is leveraging the exposure. “Not only is it about exposing your brand to your target audience through events, award ceremonies, promotional material, media opportunities and so on, but sponsorship helps develop closer and better relationships with customers – both existing and potential. ”
He says best practice is that for every $1 spent on sponsorship, another $7 should be spent on leveraging opportunities that arise from that.

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