Be the Best in the World at… Something.
The team you represent could be league champions, national champions or even world champions. They’ve found some form of competitive advantage over their peers and they put everything into realising that advantage. Can you say the same for your approach to sponsorship?
Are you absolutely certain that you have a competitive advantage over your peers, and do you invest everything making sure your target audience knows about it?
A key element of sales and marketing best practice is developing a messaging architecture which is memorable, repeatable and reassuring.
When brands walk out of your pitches, what are the key things they would remember? How would they summarise your offering? Do you have something for them, a philosophy or a way of working or unique insights that you know they just won’t get elsewhere.
One way to make them recall your offering is insuring that you are the best in the world at … something!
Rory McIlroy is arguably the most talented golfer in the world. A winner on the course and off it.
But Rory’s team realised that being the best golfer in the world wasn’t enough when it came to ensuring he secured the biggest and best partnerships deals.
What everyone knew was that Rory was capable of winning a major by 8 shots one week, and missing the cut by 3 shots the next. Elation followed by disappointment. Rory’s team knew that this was something that kept Rory relevant. So they set about taking this from anecdote to data.
With the help of a research and analysis team, they were able to map Rory’s inconsistency against the exposure and column inches he received. Firstly, for a golfer’s world ranking, they discovered that it’s actually better to be an infrequent winner of tournaments than a regular placer.
Just as importantly, they were able to correlate Rory’s off weeks with similar boosts in exposure as the media struggled to reconcile his talent with his inconsistency.
Potential sponsors realised quickly that they were dealing with both an amazing golfer, and a commercial team who understood their athlete and his fans. His team illustrated a deep understanding of why and how Rory engaged and connected with a mass audience, and this contributed hugely to the scale of the partnerships that his team were able to secure.
While Rory was working to be the best golfer in the world, his management team were working on delivering insight into fans of golf and sport that their competitors simply could not match.
They were, without question, the best golf management company in the world when it came to understanding golf fans.
Find Your Competitive Advantage
Your buyers already know about your team, or your athlete, or your league, or your event.
They can look up the number of Twitter followers you have, they can sample the atmosphere in your stadium. The problem is they can do that for everyone and then make up their own minds; dangerous territory for all but the biggest and best properties.
As Commercial Director, it is your responsibility to understand and create your competitive advantage. The one thing you can stand over as being best in the world at, the one thing potential sponsors recall when they leave a meeting with you and your team.
It will need consideration and time and investment, but as an experienced sponsorship professional you know that you need to find a way to stand out. It will be time well spent.