3 vital questions you need to ask before sponsoring an event

The following are three key questions you need to ask before sponsoring an event – or any property, for that matter. Core sponsors from the Honda Celebration of Light (HCOL) have been highlighted for reference.

Honda Celebration of Light Highlights

1. Is the property regionally relevant?

Consumer tastes, interests, and behaviours vary from region to region (heck, even within regions). What’s important to a resident of Quebec, Halifax, or Toronto may be drastically different from that of a Vancouverite. Smart brands can leverage this not-so-subtle nuance by partnering with local or regional events in meaningful ways – thereby enabling them to create positive brand association and, ultimately, cozy up to the hearts and minds of that property’s attendees, media, fans, followers, and influencers.

A terrific example of this is Honda and its sponsorship of the HCOL, Vancouver’s iconic annual fireworks festival (attended by a whopping 1.3M+ million spectators every year – the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world!). “Honda recognized the opportunity in 2013, its first year as Title Partner, and has done an exceptional job of authentically integrating into the very fabric of this magical event ever since,” says Garnet Nelson, Founder and Managing Director of Score Marketing Inc. “Honda realized the profile, reach, and potential of the partnership from a practical perspective, while appreciating the region’s overwhelming emotional connection to the event.”

2. Do the integration opportunities fit with our message?

While a property may have your brand’s desired target market, the available integration opportunities may not be a suitable platform to tell your brand’s story. CIBC’s integration into the HCOL is a fantastic example of how a brand’s message can be reflected through creative activations.

CIBC’s motto is “Banking that fits your life,” meaning that they adapt their service to cater to all types of customers, from families looking for a mortgage to Fortune 1000 businesses looking for investment opportunities. “CIBC is delighted to host our clients both at the Cabanas and our family oriented CIBC Community Viewing Zone,” explains the Regional Director, John Guthrie. “As a happy by-product of our hosting, clients who attend the event are more loyal and deepen their relationship with CIBC.” The HCOL provides CIBC with a platform to treat customers in each of their target segments, providing unique experiences that literally “fit their life.”

3. Is this a Win-Win-Win for the property, the customer and my brand?

“This event is near and dear to us as we’ve been a sponsor since 2010. Each year the crowd gets bigger, the entertainment gets better and the fireworks get more impressive.” – David Aisenstat, President & CEO of The Keg.

When researching properties, it can be tempting to look with just your brand’s interests in mind. Try a different approach and instead of asking, “How can my brand benefit from this property?” ask the more counter intuitive question, “How can my brand add value to this property?” Finding genuine ways to add more value to a property takes work and creativity. It will however make event producers more willing to go the extra mile and make your activation as engaging as possible.

Both the HCOL and The Keg aim to provide consumers a premier experience. That parallel is the reason why The Keg has been a major sponsor of the event for six years and why the partnership is so successful: The property, consumer and brand benefit equally. The Keg Lounge provides the property with a premier hosting option, the property provides The Keg with a platform to showcase its elite level service and dining, and consumers are treated to a memorable VIP experience of hors d’oeuvres and a world-class fireworks display.

Asking the right questions are key when solving a problem or identifying an opportunity. If you are looking at a property and the answers to the questions above are “yes,” take advantage of that property and propel your brand to the next level.

These are three questions, and the list is long. Share with us: What key questions do you ask before considering a sponsorship opportunity?