Guest blog post by Brett Blumberg
Sales and Sustainability Manager at Kilowatt Events, Inc.
As much as sustainability professionals would love to expect all events and their sponsors, talent, fans, and other stakeholders to demand socially and environmentally responsible productions (and reap the many cost savings and business advantages of doing so), events run on tight budgets and money unfortunately does not grow on native, drought-tolerant, certified organic trees.
This presents two options to event owners for funding a sustainable production if the internal desire or external pressures exist: self-funding, or third-party funding from grants, rebates, miscellaneous donations, or sponsorships from organizations like yours. While many event organizers understand the importance of self-funding, many others require these strategic partnerships to bring their visions to life. However, you may not realize just how beneficial a sustainability sponsorship could be for your brand when you help the event to support local community needs, satisfy stakeholder interests and, perhaps even more significant to your immediate goals, showcase these efforts in front of your target market.
More Opportunities Than Ever.
Luckily, we live in an age with seemingly unlimited opportunities for face-to-face consumer engagement at large events. According to a 2016 study by the U.S. Census Bureau, live events hosted in temporary facilities or permanent venues not owned by the event (think music festivals, traveling sporting events, art shows, heritage festivals, etc.) nearly doubled their annual U.S. revenue from $4.23 billion in 2002 to $8.4 billion in 2012 (Encyclopedia of American Industries, 2017). This means there have been and will be more events, more attendees, and more opportunities to promote your company year after year.
Selecting Events to Sponsor Can be Challenging. Here’s a Tip.
With so many events to choose from, it may feel overwhelming to select the one with the greatest return on investment. During your team’s periodic marketing meetings to establish resource allocation for promotional opportunities, you will surely consider which events align with your target market, long-term marketing objectives, and overall brand imaging.
Consider taking it one step further by understanding your company’s vision and social values. Can any of your social objectives or initiatives be integrated into event operations? Perhaps you have recently created a new marketing campaign that ties together your product’s functionality with its eco-friendly supply chain, aligning it with the event’s sustainable sourcing policy. Maybe your brand has partnered with a non-profit to help provide job training for an underrepresented demographic, and the event you may want to sponsor is also committed to hiring staff from disadvantaged communities. Why not “double-dip” on a sponsorship to cross-promote your products and services alongside your community benefits?
Yes, there seem to be many events from which to choose, but by being selective and understanding how the event culture, legacy, and deeper-rooted purpose can be connected to those of your organization, your best choices will become clear.