On Wednesday 7 June, our Managing Director Darren Natale took to the Mumbrella360 stage alongside Michael Nearhos, General Manager Brand Experience at NAB, and Kristy Macfarlane, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at NAB, to present on the theme: Human, Unexpected & Bold.
Speaking to a packed auditorium, the three shared the work they had done together to build a deep connection between the brand’s More than Money promise and its grassroots, people-focused sponsorship strategy, through a partnership with Midsumma Festival.
Midsumma Festival in particular is tied to NAB’s commitment to providing employees with a safe place to come to work – a place where diversity and inclusion is a top priority. Over a three-year period NAB successfully evolved its relationship with the target audience of this partnership. Entering the space under a cloud of skepticism, NAB was quickly able to address cynicisms with the simple intent of listening to people. With no forced brand messaging and overt sales tactics, the festival’s community has come to respect and engage with NAB at the festival in an authentic way.
As the presentation demonstrated, sponsorships can offer many powerful opportunities. However, a successful sponsorship needs to be about much more than just exchanging money for logo placement. Many brands struggle to create a genuine connection between their audience and the activity they are sponsoring. All too often, a lack of strategy, authenticity and innovative thinking results in flat, one-dimensional experiences that deliver little value to anyone.
So, we wanted to share some thoughts on how brands can ensure their sponsorships are meaningful:
Alignment is key. Take a close look at the connection between your audiences – both existing and potential – and the sponsorship property. Without some alignment, the sponsorship will most likely be a wasted investment.
Activate beyond the traditional. If the sponsorship is more than a one-off appearance, your brand must keep evolving in the eyes of the audience. Do your research, and be sure to listen. Never assume you know what an audience wants.
Examine the audience journey. Where are their pinch-points, and how can your brand be activated to solve it? You need to be ready at every turn for action and influence.
Measurement first. Know what matters to your brand, and be clear on your objectives. Whether the results are a reason to celebrate, or an opportunity to learn, having clear and measurable data is critical.
As always, a commitment to creating something truly meaningful must be at the foundation of what you do. Audiences are more skeptical than ever, and a ‘tick box’ approach to sponsorship could potentially do your brand more harm than good. So, do your research, think creatively, consider your long-term strategy and continue to deliver an evolving experience.
For the full story of NAB’s three-year Midsumma Festival journey, see our case study.