Of all the ways to market your business, one in particular can bring a smile to your face and your employees’ faces, and make Hampton Roads a better place to be: sponsorship and community activities.
Sponsorship is what happens when a company provides financial or in-kind support for an organization or cause, usually community-based, in exchange for brand visibility through that organization. If you’ve ever been to a local sporting event, those billboards you see around the playing area are sponsorship in action.
Reliance Staffing Services partners in sponsorship with many organizations. In the past year alone, we’ve sponsored local branches of the Alzheimer’s Association and Habitat for Humanity, as well as Cerebral Palsy of Virginia and the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary.
Why sponsor so many organizations, or even one? The benefits go beyond the fact that you’re doing good for others (although that does feel really good).
Sponsoring shows that you care about the community, that you don’t just consider this area to be a source of customers but a place worth investing in. If you’re a local business, sponsorship is a natural choice, but if you’re a regional or national company, sponsorship is still a good idea. Just be sure to make your branding local: the Greenbrier branch of your company, for instance, instead of just the company itself.
Sponsoring also gives your company added respectability and goodwill. In a sense, you’re “borrowing” the goodwill and respect of the organization you’re sponsoring, but if it’s a good fit, both sponsor and sponsoree will increase their visibility and perceived value.
While sponsorship took a hit in 2009 (what didn’t?), it rebounded last year to $17.2 billion for North American companies. Even higher gains are expected for this year. How can your company become a part of that?
Well, you’ve probably already been approached by local organizations seeking sponsorship, so you’ve likely got some options to choose from. First, consider which organizations align most closely with your company’s values. If you’re a dog grooming business, local animal shelters are a natural choice. If you’re an insurance company, something family- or child-oriented would be good.
Also consider which organization is likely to appeal to your target customers. This might sound a little mercenary, but remember, sponsorship is part of your marketing budget, so it’s not unreasonable to expect some marketing return for it. Ideally, you’ll be able to find some overlap between values and target customers, and there will be the organization(s) for you to sponsor.
We’re already looking forward to our next sponsorship activity: building a playset for a child who’s winning the fight against cancer through the Roc Solid Foundation next month!
Have you sponsored any organizations? Any great community-activity tales to tell? Let us know in the comments!Share this Post