With so many events happening all year round, it’s no easy task to draw companies to sponsor YOUR event. Re-using old jaded sponsorship ideas doesn’t cut it anymore. Here is some inspiration for your next event.
Event sponsorship is broken and gone are the days that your sponsors can hand out a few branded non-woven or paper bags and have their logo flashed on the screen and be satisfied. The traditional booth, banner and logo are dead and it’s time to think of something new!
Coming up with unique and interesting sponsorship ideas shows that your event is innovative and original, which can set the right frame of mind for your guests. Interaction with attendees has become even more important to your partners when sponsoring an event.
With the increasing use of social media and the internet it can be hard to “wow” attendees but they are more likely to remember you if you interact with them face-to-face or offer them something they have never had before. Here are 13 creative sponsorship ideas to suggest to your sponsors to ensure their brand is remembered and they get the most from their investment.
Playing games, relaxing and releasing their inner child will always be a big a hit among attendees. Ideas such as giant Jenga, chess or board games are a great way to get involved and your sponsor could even have their own giant branded pieces. A branded relaxation corner with big bean bags or foam chairs can encourage attendees to interact with each other.
Create mini competitions that last throughout the day so that the sponsor is remembered and keeps attendees coming back to talk to them and try to better their earlier scores. By running tournaments such as table tennis or more traditional fair games such as guess the sweets in the tin (or for bigger budgets, balloons in a car) sponsors can offer great prizes (and their own products) while also collecting some new email addresses to follow up with after the event (they have to contact the winner somehow).
When an attendee gets to create something with a brand they are more likely to shout about it on social media. Creating a craft area where attendees can decorate or create something and take it home with them also serves as a long lasting reminder of the sponsor and offers a talking point with their friends. This is also an excellent way to improve social media presence if there is a competition on one of your channels for the best artwork and prizes which creates a buzz and gets people interacting and sharing online. Sponsors could also opt for a more environmentally friendly option of planting flowers, trees or seeds in a branded, take-home pot so that it as it grows at home the brand is on display as well.
The joy of fitness is that you can make it fun and it only has to last 5-10 minutes. You can tailor it to any time table to suit the event. This is what the company Zumba did to expand their dance fitness brand awareness. By showing up at events and running 10-15 minute beginner dance sessions that the attendees could join in with it not not only got them involved in the event but had them feeling good about themselves which made them walk away searching for local classes in their area, and turning it into a huge success.
The key point to remember with fitness is to keep it fun, light and entertaining because not everyone wants to work out or is dressed appropriately so you should look at having some music going and lighter options to get everyone involved (for example using branded flexibility balls or other equipment).
Forget products, have staff and representatives in branded apparel (t-shirts, trousers, bags etc.) carrying samples of your products at the event. Having a physical presence can help humanize your brand and allow attendees to connect while also giving them the opportunity to ask questions and get advice on your latest samples. Apple, for example have employees frequently wear brightly colored branded t-shirts at Apple events who help with organizing, greeting people at the door and showing how helpful their brand can be, which reflects its products and company ethos. Staff can be just as important to reflect the brand image as the actual products are and create a whole sense of experience for the attendees.
At the Sweets & Snacks Expo they take things one step further and have staff on branded Segways with sponsor messages and free product samples which is definitely memorable and fun!
Virtual or Augmented Reality
With increasing technology it is becoming simple for brands to opt for more high tech options at an event. Augmented or virtual reality are becoming increasingly popular as attendees like to blend the real and virtual worlds or escape altogether (just look at Pokémon Go). Virtual reality are particularly useful for product demonstrations or services that are harder to show at an event (i.e. if they are too large, bulky or have outdoor applications).
Sponsored Live Streaming
Don’t limit yourself to just the event itself, the internet is a large medium and there will be many people online who missed out on tickets or could not physically be there. Offering sponsored live streaming (or even live tweeting or updates from the event) can be a big hit and make potential attendees feel like you haven’t forgotten about them. It’s also a great way to expand the sponsor reach and brand awareness for those who may not be able to attend events in person but are following avidly online, so use your own social media as well to supplement this.
The key to streaming is to commit to it, and test everything to make sure you sort out any technical glitches prior to the event because if it goes wrong it can leave a very bad impression.
Show off services at an event, whether your event sponsors are a big or small brands, is a great way to be remembered. It is incredibly budget friendly (after all they are doing what they know!). A great example is of Jellyfish and Intersport sponsoring the fitness and food festival at the UK’s Run Reigate half marathon running event. They provide local masseuses, chiropractors, sports therapists and samples to showcase how their services can help by giving free demonstrations throughout the day.
The same can be said for health clubs or spas who can offer free 5-10 minute mini treatments or massages at an event. During the treatment period you have a great opportunity to strike up a conversation and often will be asked for more information about the product or service you offer without having to do the hard sell.
Even if you don’t provide these types of services your event partners can sponsor them for the event and hire trained staff for the day wearing your branded clothing instead. Just make sure that you brief everybody representing the brand.
Use your event to show your brand’s philanthropic side and draw attention to charities or causes that your sponsors work with. Attendees who feel like they can help another cause at the same time can satisfy their charitable side with minimal effort and this is always popular. Helping others or being struck by charitable awareness tends to strike a chord with people. Opt to give CSR gifts at your event, allow them to “sponsor” animals or land for wildlife conservation or even combine with the craft idea and get them making things for others; for example, assembling gift baskets for the less fortunate. Alternatively, if your event is near Christmas you could have a toy assembly area to make toys for children to ship overseas after the event and where attendees can write letters or notes accompanying their toy or gift.
Everyone loves swag bags and gifts because they love to walk away from an event with free stuff. Give unique and alternate gifts in the goody bag and they won’t be thrown away. Sponsors can collaborate to give away some pretty decent swag and with higher budgets you can provide a lot of excitement and a treasured, tailored swag bag. Sponsors can create intrigued by only handing out the best swag to VIPs or top prospects that talk to them rather than a blanket approach.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that attendees are going to be taking pictures throughout your event and although in some cases sponsors products can give the wow factor often they will just be snapping themselves. Sponsored photo booths or walls are an excellent way to get in on their photos and all over their social media for the day. You can opt for branded Instagram frames, product related props or even event themed backdrops for people to stand in front of (or into!).
Nothing beats a bit of celebrity hype and it always gets discussed on social media, so using reality stars, minor celebrities and well known faces to go out and represent your sponsor (or even to promote on social media for you) is an interesting and unique way to collaborate. Celebrities have their own following so make sure that you find the right person to fit with your brand, for example UK reality stars from Geordie Shore are frequently used for alcohol related events and themes while you may opt to use a well-known beauty YouTube star for your fashion show, cosmetic or make-up event. In many cases you don’t have to use celebrities, you can also use well known bloggers to collaborate and attend events to help spread your reach.
Social Media Reach
Two of the most popular forms of social media that is used by attendees at an event is Twitter and Snapchat which is probably due to how easy it is to post short snippets throughout the day. Why not sponsor a Geofilter on Snapchat to help users show off where they are with the exclusive event filters! You can also use celebrity ambassadors on Snapchat to show off the event and use the customized filters to stir up some online brand awareness and buzz for the event early on. Likewise Twitter or Facebook ads allow highly targetable ad campaigns and can be cost effective options.
Everybody has got to go, so why not use this to your advantage? Let’s be honest, sometimes going to the toilet at an event (here’s looking at you festivals) can be horrific and it really ruins the vibe so opt to sponsor luxury toilets that actually flush, proper sinks, and have plenty of toilet paper. You can even opt to have hair dryers, GHD straighteners and make-up stations like club class at FSTVL 2016! You can even use the back of toilet doors or mirrors for extra branding posters or stickers because the attendees will be giving you full focus!
You want your event sponsors to get the most out of their investment. Now is the time to think creatively and see results. Encourage sponsors to connect with attendees, get guests involved and make them feel good about what they are doing in one way or another. This means the sponsor’s brand will be synonymous with positivity (which is exactly what you want).
Be innovative and creative and remember that being different will help your sponsors and your event to stand out above hundreds of other brands trying to get noticed! We hope some of these unusual ideas will provide inspiration for your sponsors to work with you and think differently when planning how to get the most of their future event sponsorship opportunities.
This article first appeared in Event Manager’s Blog