As part of our successful Sport for Business Networking Night at Croke Park on March 26th, almost 150 attendees were broken up into groups and put on the clock to deliver answers to a variety of questions around the relationship between Sport and Business.
The third question we posed to our groups was what is the single most important element that business should get from sport. It was teed up by a great contribution from John McGrane of Ulster Bank and the British Irish Chamber of Commerce who spoke of the critical ways in which sport can energise communities and positively reflect back on organisations that are party to that.
Despite the proscriptive nature of the question, there was a wide variety in the answers coming back. the two that dominated though were connectivity and engagement.
These outstripped brand awareness which would still be seen by many as a leading driver of sponsorship and reflects a deepening of the way in which commercial partners are looking on sport as a medium through which to create longer lasting relationships.
‘Emotional connection,’ and ‘access to a passionate and engaged community,’ were two messages that came through strongly across the groups. The phrase ‘passion points’ also appeared in a number of the answers. It is clear that brands are looking to unlock some of the feeling and emotion that fans invest in sport and to reflect that back on their product or service to create long term loyalty.
Lessons from the coaching of sport and how they could be applied to business were also to the fore with one group providing the driver that ‘there is no hiding place in high performance sport, or business.’
Tournament, team or individual athlete?
The decision on which element to sponsor within sport can depend on a wide variety of decisions to do with the motivation of a business at a given moment in development.
Wherever a sport has the opportunity to present alternatives across one or more of these three areas, it should take them so as to pitch closest to where a brand is likely to be thinking.
A number of our groups presented a cogent argument for each. The tournament was seen as ‘safer but more expensive, and not as good for affinity.’ The success of a team campaign was linked to results and investment in an individual was seen as a cheaper alternative but that there was a risk of injury and or scandal to mitigate against that.
Of those who came down firmly on one of the three it was though the Tournament that came out on top. ‘Greater exposure’, ‘appeal to the widest audience,’ and more opportunity to experiment with activation,’ were seen as the key elements by those who supported the tournament option.
On the team side, the primary benefit was the ability to get closer to one really well defined group of passionate supporters.
Join us again tomorrow when we will consider how sport can deliver more to fans in a digital world and to business in areas of corporate social responsibility.
Our next networking event will be looking at the world of crowd funding, at how it can assist sports, teams and individuals, as well as businesses looking to raise funds from non traditional sources. We will have individual speakers that have been involved in raising as well as committing funds. Places will be limited so book your place today if you wish to join us on the evening of April 30th. Click here for more details.