Monday, September 22, 2008

Reading Response Week 10

In summary, the key points I have learned from this week’s reading are that sponsorship is separated into three distinct categories known as philanthropic, corporate, and marketing, that clear and concise proposals are key to securing sponsorship, that public relations practitioners must be wary of and anticipate ambush marketing, that sponsored events can be expensive but possess the potential to generate both positive publicity and to increase profits not only for the sponsoring company but also for the organizing body

Philanthropic sponsorship “is as close to a donation as sponsorship can get” as it is community based and its primary focus is to foster an image of good will in the eyes of the public rather than directly seeking “revenue-oriented results” (Johnston and Zawawi 2004). When a company offers support for an event or activity that is not typically associated with the business of that company this practice is called corporate sponsorship (Johnston and Zawawi 2004). The primary objective of corporate sponsorship is to simply benefit from mere association with an important event or activity. Marketing sponsorship works to generate “revenue-oriented results” and is achieved through offers of money and merchandise. Marketing sponsorship is the most popular and widely used form of sponsorship (Johnston and Zawawi 2004). Professional athletics provides great examples of this form of sponsorship where the most sought after athletes receive millions of dollars in endorsement deals every year. I have read of this form of sponsorship more times than I care to remember. What is troublesome is the possibility that athletes or other celebrities profit from advocating for a particular product and yet never use it themselves. In all honestly, how does one really know?

Even before an event or activity can acquire sponsorship, a proposal must be written to the prospective sponsor detailing what rights and benefits they stand to gain and what goals the organizing body wishes to achieve. It is extremely important that such a proposal remains clear and concise and that its primary focus is to detail how the prospective sponsor will benefit from supporting a particular event, organization or individual.

The most common hindrance of sponsorship is ambush marketing. This occurs when a company represents itself as being associated with an event when in fact no previous agreement has been made between the company and the organizing committee for the event (Johnston and Zawawi 2004). The optimal approach in minimizing ambush marketing is to control all aspects of an event and to clearly define rights and benefits if there are multiple sponsors (Johnston and Zawawi 2004).

My learning builds upon previous learning about public relations in that with sponsorship as with any facet of a public relations campaign or program, success can only be found when a plan has been developed on the basis on certain goals and objectives and methods of reaching those goals and objectives have been established. Without a structured and goal-oriented, results-oriented proposal sponsorship will not come to fruition. Even if sponsorship is acquired, without careful planning an event could fail miserably.

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