Sponsorships: Win/Win Brand Partnerships

by John Dillon – November 2014

How do you win corporate partnerships?

It’s no secret the world of marketing has become exponentially more complex over the last several years.  Gone are the days of screaming your brand message through TV or radio, and expecting to hit exactly the target you wanted.

As you look to take your brand or team to the next level, how well do you understand your consumer base?  And as you look to corporate partners, how well do you understand THEIR objectives as well as your own?

[re]Think Segments

For an established brand like Denny’s, we’ve spent quite a bit of time listen — really listening — to current and potential guests.  We quickly realized just how diverse their needs were.  It’s led to some exciting and successful initiatives running a broad range of targeted partnerships with:

  1. AARP to speak directly to our active boomer (50+) generation,
  2. Social and digital media efforts with branded content with partners like College Humor, Funny or Die, DumbDumb, and
  3. Continual dialogue with younger guests on Tumblr, among many others.

Recently we launched a successful partnership with Atari, appealing to multiple generations including kids, millennials and Generation X who have sparked to sharing the experience of the classic Atari games like Centipede and Asteroids, turned into relevant games downloadable and playable under our Denny’s inspired names like Centipup and Hasteroids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEZGjYdXnfI

dennys-hobbit-menuSimilarly, we’ve partnered with major movie releases such as The Hobbit to appeal to generations both young and old.  Our kids menu has become re-energized this year with a wonderful partnership with National Geographic Kids – a brand that research proved had strong appeal to both kids and parents.  A wide array of partners enable us to drive sales and traffic counts against multiple targets simultaneously, not one at the expense of another.

What’s in common?

Each of these partnerships have commonalities:

  1. They are unique. No one else is doing anything like it.
  2. They hit specific targets at a time where they are most receptive–where they are and when they’re naturally consuming the media vehicle we’ve selected.
  3. And most importantly, they are partnerships that truly create win/win situations for both brands.  Each of us (our brand and the partner brand) allows the other new avenues to target key customer groups in ways that we don’t necessarily naturally reach.

How does this translate to sports marketing?  Having been on both sides–the team and the brand–I can attest that it does very clearly.

Within the team sports space, our best partners understand our brand and the particular target we’re trying to reach in that market AND the particular business objective we’re trying to hit.  Is it a value sensitive market?  If so, how can you help us get our value message across?  Is it a heavy Hispanic market?  If so, let’s make sure that important demographic is clearly a part of the partnership proposal.  A market with a high representation of families… or millennials?  You get the idea.   A little research by the team goes a long way and leads to truly breakthrough results for BOTH of us.  Come with THOSE ideas, and you’ll prove there are indeed positive, powerful win/win partnerships.

 

 

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