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What is Sponsorship in Marketing?

Sponsorship is a form of marketing in which a brand pays to associate itself with a particular event, organization, or individual. The objective of sponsorship in marketing is to build brand awareness, create positive brand associations, and generate goodwill among consumers

Keep reading to learn about the different types of sponsorship marketing, see our list of the top 5 advantages to utilizing it, and take a look at some real-life examples that prove the overwhelming value of sponsorship for brands worldwide.

For specific insight on strategy for using sponsorship to boost your brand’s visibility, awareness, and image, contact Criterion Global.


Marketing & Sponsorship: The Different Types

There are several different types of sponsorship. Brands can choose between sponsoring a team, a player, a venue, or even an entire event. Their logo or name is then displayed prominently to target audiences. Here are a few different types of events and groups that a brand might benefit from aligning with.

  • Large-Scale Events: This could be anything from a worldwide sports championship game to a popular music festival. These events can offer brands a platform to reach a vast audience, providing them with extensive exposure and an air of prestige associated with high-profile gatherings.
  • Local Community Events: Brands might choose to sponsor a local fair, parade, sports tournament, or neighborhood festival to enhance their local reputation and create meaningful/deeply personalized connections with local residents.
  • Educational Programs: These sponsorships involve supporting programs that promote learning and development, and can include educational workshops, seminars, or school events. Aligning with educational initiatives can help a brand showcase their dedication to fostering knowledge and growth, enhancing their image as a socially responsible entity.
  • Social Causes: A brand might choose to sponsor initiatives that support social causes. For example, sponsoring a charity run, environmental campaign, health awareness program, or humanitarian project helps the brand resonate with consumers who prioritize corporate social responsibility.

Top 5 Advantages to Brand Sponsorship in Marketing

You might still be wondering what the big deal is… Sponsorship is an extremely important tool for advertisers and chief marketing officers (CMO’s) and is often overlooked. Using sponsorship as a tactic can help them connect their brand with their target audience in a more personalized and emotional way than traditional advertising methods. By aligning with a cause, event, or organization that is valued by their target audience, brands can create positive emotional associations and establish credibility with their customers.

There are many advantages to brand sponsorship in marketing, so we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5:

  1. Reaching a Highly Engaged Audience: For example, a brand that sponsors a sports team or event can tap into the passionate and dedicated energy of fans who follow the team or attend the event to create positive thought associations.
  2. Emotional Connection: Sponsorship allows the brand to make a deeper emotional connection with their target audience, which can directly lead to increased loyalty, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
  3. Building Brand Recognition and Awareness: Sponsorship is a powerful tool for building brand recognition and awareness. By associating themselves with high-profile events or organizations, brands can quickly elevate their visibility and establish themselves as a leader in their industry. For example, a brand that sponsors a major music festival like Glastonbury or Coachella will reach a large and diverse audience, generating significant exposure for their brand.
  4. Differentiating a Brand From Competitors: Brands can use sponsorship to create a unique and distinctive image for themselves that sets them apart from their rivals. This can be particularly important in crowded or competitive markets, where it might be more difficult to stand out from the crowd.
  5. Positively Impact a Brand’s Reputation and Image: A brand might decide to associate themselves with a cause or organization that is well-respected and well-regarded in order to enhance their own image and build a positive reputation. For example, a brand that sponsors a charity event can be seen as a responsible and “socially-conscious” company, which helps them build trust and credibility with consumers and target audiences.

    Now, let’s take a look at some real world examples that prove just how successful sponsorship marketing can be when brands select the right event or person to reach target audiences. For more information about how to select the right partnership for your target audience, contact us for personalized guidance and expertise.


    Sponsorship Marketing Examples:

    We know sponsorship in marketing is a highly effective method for boosting brand awareness and visibility, driving real results proven through viewership data. Let’s jump into some successful sponsorship marketing examples:

    Nike x Cristiano Ronaldo:

    One of the most notably successful sponsorship marketing examples is the lifetime endorsement deal between Nike and global football icon Cristiano Ronaldo. The partnership is currently valued at $1 billion and leverages the athlete’s social media presence to generate significant media value. In 2016 alone, Ronaldo’s social media activity mentioning Nike generated an estimated $474 million in media value for the brand. Wow!

    Nike's sponsorship of Cristiano Ronaldo demonstrating a successful example of what is sponsorship in marketing?
    Cristiano Ronaldo poses for Nike

    Coca-Cola x 2016 Rio Olympics:

    Coca-Cola has been a consistent sponsor of the Olympic Games ever since 1928, making it the longest continuous corporate partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The long-term partnership has helped Coca-Cola maintain a strong global presence and associate its brand with health, fitness, and international unity. More recently, their year-long #ThatsGold campaign during the 2016 Rio Olympics helped the brand see an 88% accuracy rate for targeting teens and reached 77% of Brazil’s teen population, which at the time consisted of 21 million teens…. and it doesn’t end there. According to Campaign, the spot received more than 30 million video views during its active period. Talk about a success!

    Coca-Cola #ThatsGold campaign is a successful example sponsorship marketing.
    Coca-Cola’s “#ThatsGold” Campaign, 2016 Rio Olympics

    Pepsi x NFL Super Bowl Half-Time Show

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the iconic Super Bowl and it’s debatably more iconic half-time show. In 2020, PepsiCo invested $100 million into the super bowl alone…. good thing it paid off! After helping the NFL extend the length of the half-time show to become a bigger deal in the context of the Super Bowl, the show boosted in popularity, with the 2020 Shakira and J-Lo halftime show drawing in 104 million views… that’s 2 million more views than the actual super-bowl itself which estimated 102 million viewers that year. PepsiCo utilized sponsorship marketing tactics to build robust relationships with consumers and event organizers, helping them enhance the impact of their sponsorship methods.

    J-Lo and Shakira for the Pepsi Superbowl Halftime Show, 2020

    The Power of Sponsorship

    It is clear that by carefully selecting sponsorship opportunities that align with their values and target audience, brands can create powerful and effective advertising campaigns that drive REAL results.

    For more information about how you can leverage sponsorship marketing to drive profitable results for your brand, contact us.