We’re working with our longstanding client Pride Cymru, Wales’ largest celebration of equality & diversity, to assist them in raising corporate sponsorship to fund this year’s 3 day Big Weekend extravaganza this August Bank Holiday weekend. Let’s take a look at what benefits sponsoring such a charitable or not-for-profit event can bring for businesses…
Raise brand awareness Businesses sponsor events because it puts their brand in the spotlight – which may not translate into immediate financial gain but it does create positive PR and raises the profile of the organisation. Charities and not-for-profits typically operate on minimal marketing budget which means they often excel at using all free/low cost channels to promote their cause – such as getting the media on-side. The benefit to the sponsor is the free exposure that your brand could receive which can potentially reach far more consumers than those simply attending event itself, thanks to pre-and post-coverage – the trick here is to arrange a deal early on to benefit from all the build-up coverage across all channels, be it brochures, banners, website updates, newsletters & e-bulletins, tickets, social media campaigns, etc
- Engage with your audience Traditional forms of advertising are one-sided. One of the perks of partnership is that it offers a chance to educate, inspire and support your audience by engaging directly with your customers and develop relationships beyond purchase. Sponsoring a cause, event or community group can accelerate the process of building rapport, and by developing trust for your business and seeing you demonstrate positive behaviours, a customer is far more likely to feel comfortable giving you a go.
- Access niche markets– sponsorship can enable entry into a very specific market sector if you link up with an event that already has a reputation in that market – see our case study on Pride Cymru below.
- Test the market Most nonprofits have no issues with your brand giving away ‘freebies’ and promotional materials to enhance the experience, which means an event could be an ideal way to soft launch a product or idea.
- Acquire data – gaining a database of attendees is potentially the most valuable perk of partnership so ask about access to mailing lists and distribution channels – even if it’s a no for data protection reasons, the charity may deliver your marketing message to the database on your behalf.
- Stretch the budget Sponsorship can be more cost effective than mainstream advertising and can generate substantial publicityfor a relatively small investment – essentially, you’re using the reach, budget and audiences of two organisations to build your brand awareness. Plus sponsorship deals are often bespoke and tailored to a specific budget that the sponsor sets, meaning little wastage…so if you don’t want 100 free tickets as part of the deal, but you do want your company logo on the tickets, it’s all up for negotiation.
- Positively affect revenues– either directly e.g. by selling your product at the event you have sponsored, or indirectly by sparking a positive change in audience attitude which leads to later purchase
But the benefits of sponsorship are not merely limited to the marketing department – there are reputational advantages for the whole organisation. People often spend with their heart, and sponsorship can help to create an emotional connection as it shows your brand cares enough to get involved at the community level. This is important in demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility. (CSR), the voluntary action businesses take over and above legal requirements that benefit the wider society. A business’s CSR strategy can encompass a wide variety of tactics and does not have to take the form of large philanthropic gestures – it can be efforts to be environmentally conscious, employing ethical labour practices or allowing employees to volunteer during company time.
Selling a good product is no longer enough to attract today’s socially conscious shoppers as more customers are looking to buy from companies with practices that match their own values. A recent study[i] shows that:
- 55% of consumers globally are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact – up 10% from 2011.
- 90% of shoppers worldwide are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause, given similar price and quality
- More than 90% of the consumers surveyed are more likely to trust and be loyalto socially responsible businesses compared to companies that don’t show these traits.
- More than 80% consider social and environmental issues when deciding where to work, what to buy, where to shop and which products and services to recommend to others.
- 63% of women and 45% of men say that a company’s cause work influenced them to accept a job – meaning that your CSR strategy can positively impact your HR strategy.
CASE STUDY: Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend
PRIDE Cymru’s colour annual parade – which last year stretched to over a mile long – is synonymous with Wales’ largest celebration of equality & diversity. This year, the Pride team are going bigger and better, bringing back Cardiff’s famous Big Weekend and extending the festivities into a 3 day extravaganza!
Say Pride Cymru Chair, Lu Thomas: “Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend 2017 will provide 3 days of pure party atmosphere and extravagant entertainment in the heart of the capital, celebrating and promoting the importance of equality & diversity in the community as well as bringing more than 120,000 people together in Wales’ capital city. Pride costs around £250k to stage, and we receive very little formal financial support, instead relying on volunteers, donations and sponsorship”
The ever-popular Big Weekend was always one of the key events in the summer calendar – this year we’re turning the City Hall Lawn and the streets surrounding the Civic Centre into a carnival of colour, with funfair rides & amusements from the largest travelling funfair in Europe and entertainment from some of the UK’s biggest names in music, plus a faith area, dance tent, community stage, yoga village, vintage tea rooms, a multitude of market stalls, and much more!
Sponsoring Pride Cymru this year has many benefits:
- Affirmation to your workforce and the wider community of your organisation’s commitment to equality and diversity and to preventing discrimination of any kind. It gives the opportunity to show to customers, staff, members and suppliers that your organisation is a forward thinking business, serious about its commitment to increase understanding and respect for all.
- Showing that your organisation is passionate about making a real difference to individual’s everyday lives, through helping to combat hate crime and making an impact on community safety.
- Recognition as a partner to Wales largest LGBT+ charity.
- Direct brand association and exposure to over a hundred thousand visitors over the weekend – we attract visitors to Pride Cymru from all over the UK and beyond, ranging from young children to the older community.
- Further brand association via Pride Cymru’s media and promotional activities, including our website, social networking, viral email campaigns, posters, e-brochure and mainstream media. The event had extensive media, print and online coverage last year from regional, local and national sources including BBC Wales, S4C, ITV Cymru, Wales Online, Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Buzz, Diva, Attitude, Awesome Cardiff and Pink News.
- Access to LGBT+ awareness and education programmes.
Sponsorship opportunities are bespoke and can be tailored to your budget – for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Study by public relations and marketing firm Cone Communications and Echo Research based on surveys of more than 10,000 shoppers in 10 countries.