How values are coming first in brand and athlete partnerships
The traditional decision-making tools for sponsorship are quickly becoming outdated. We are surrounded by shallow promotion where profits are the primary focus and follower counts, demographics and reach are the deciders.
However, consumer trends are reflecting a wider societal shift towards authenticity. It’s never been more important to think carefully about your brand affiliations and build trust with your consumer market – values are becoming the new metric in sponsorship.
Authenticity and values
So what’s the good news? Aligning with an ambassador who shares your values can have a positive impact on your brand. It’s a tried and tested way to successfully navigate the increasing distrust of our cluttered advertising environment, created by the ‘fake-news’ concept that’s left people feeling cheated.
“90% of executives recognise the importance of
having ‘an aspirational reason for being which inspires
and provides provides a benefit to society'”
Consumers are thinking more and more critically about what they buy into as a result. Brands are judged on their purpose as well as their products. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of adults are more convinced by recommendations made to them by those they know and trust, over recommendations made via traditional advertising. Aligning your brand with sport through shared values is one way to take a step ahead of tradition and reach new markets already invested in sport.
A purpose beyond the balance sheet
90% of executives now recognise the importance of having “an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation and provides benefit to society,” according to an EY Beacon Institute / Harvard Business Review study. It’s a trait shared by most athletes, they have a purpose driven by something other than profit.
Proven commercial success
In March this year the female-first app, Bumble, announced a multi-year global partnership with NBA team, the L.A Clippers, based on the shared principle of gender equality. The two organisations pledged to advance workplace equality and debuted an Empowerment Badge on the team’s uniforms.
It was a progressive statement for positive change within in a sport previously associated with misogyny. The Clippers are one of only two NBA teams to have a female CEO. They also have the NBA’s largest female leadership team and their collaboration with Bumble proved shared values can be a commercially beneficial metric for sponsorship in elite sport.
“The Clippers collaboration with Bumble proved shared values can
be a commercially beneficial metric for sponsorship in elite sport”
Athletes have a unique ability to connect with audiences unlike any others. The positive benefits of sport are common knowledge meaning those at the top of their game have a platform to inspire and promote positive change; as role models, ambassadors and public speakers alongside their elite performance.
Build trust and stand out
Connecting with an athlete who shares the same values as your brand could be the key to boosting consumer perceptions. It’s an increasingly key aspect to successfully standing out in a saturated media environment. Modern technologies are brilliant for reaching wide audiences but they also create information overload.
It’s also important to remember that people engage with what they admire and few things in society rally audiences like sport. Especially for those looking to disrupt the traditional and create change.
Online mortgage broker, Habito, hold the concept of ‘100% backbone’ as a core brand value. Looking to inspire their team internally, Habito turned to athletes that shared the same values. Former Army Captain turned ultra-endurance athlete, Tom Evans, and 2018 Commonwealth Champion boxer, Stacey Copeland proved the perfect matches.
“There is an alignment and a relatability with athletes,” Habito told caytoo. “We are a high performing disruptive business and our goal is to beat everyone else.
“Having someone come in from another business to talk to employees is interesting. People like Stacey and Tom, they’re not footballers on huge salaries, they work so hard for something they are passionate about, there’s a lot of credibility in that and a lot of transferability to business.”
Creative, progressive sponsorship
As the LA Clippers proved with Bumble, values can translate into progressive sponsorship. Aviation technology experts, Vistair connected with World Record holder and caytoo ambassador, Kiko Matthews, because of the qualities she promotes through her extraordinary challenges; pushing boundaries, being brave, positive change, trusting your instincts.
This translated into a successful team sponsorship for the 2018 Wadi Rum Ultra challenge, a five day ultra-marathon through the Desert.
Vistair’s CEO Ian Herbert told caytoo, “We’re all about innovation in business and disruptive technologies so, like in life, it’s about pushing boundaries, being brave, making positive change, trusting your instincts and those around you. These are absolutely what Team Like A Girl represents so that’s why we’re supporting them.”
“What we’re all about, is absolutely what Team Like A Girl represents
so that’s why we’re supporting them.”
As a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, Kiko’s next adventure will see her cycle 6700 km along the UK coastlines, engaging schools and communities in beach cleans to promote environmental awareness.
Commercial value of authenticity
Whether it’s for reaching new audiences, promoting brand awareness or building positive affiliations, connecting with athletes through shared values is a smart commercial move towards authenticity. Traditional indicators within sponsorship still play key roles, but greater transparency is being demanded as society shifts away from tradition. Get ahead of the game and align your brand with sport through athletes with shared values.
To help marketers, we’ve put together a package using our platform of inspiring athletes to create unique content to promote their brand values or to find the ideal ambassador to champion their business.
For a free consultation just call me on 020 3176 8135 or drop me a line.
Mark is a co-founder of caytoo. He is a former Director of IPG’s Universal McCann where he managed advertising and sponsorship programmes for some of the world’s biggest brands including Coca-Cola GB, Mastercard, Bacardi – Martini and XBox.