My recent focus at Turnkey has been sponsorship research-related projects. Learning about various brands and their partnership objectives has been eye-opening: some of the brands have a specific target audience and objective in mind, while others have a general plan and are focused more on brand awareness and product consideration.

Working on these projects got me thinking: if I were in charge of marketing a brand to a team, what would my product be, and how would I go about the process?

A brand’s objectives should – of course – drive their messaging and activation decisions. For example, let’s say I was in charge of selling a protein-rich sports drink to Millennials. In this instance, I would de-emphasize traditional media and signage and instead focus on social media, in-arena and in-market activation opportunities. I would have product samplings on college campuses, in stadiums, and at other sports venues on campuses.

Millennials are often said to prefer brand advertising that’s authentic and truthful rather than heavily focused on direct selling. Therefore, as part of my advertising, I’d create a storyline around the history of my product, and tie the themes from that storyline to campus traditions and values.

On the flip side, if I were to market this product to, say, Baby Boomers, my approach would be totally different.

The same scenario holds for sponsor/property relationships: an ideal match between the two exists when the brand’s marketing plan has targeted goals and objectives that align with the properties they sponsor. Knowing the target audience and activating accordingly is the key to any brand’s success.

Next time you attend a live sports event, I challenge you to take moment to look around at the various sponsors and the different means through which they activate. Think about their messaging and the methods by which that messaging is presented. Is it geared to appeal to you, or another fan group/generation entirely?

Got a great example of targeted activation, or a partnership that’s completely on-point? Let us know!

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