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Activations - Some Suggestions

Activations - Some Suggestions

Read this article on linkedin the other day, and thought we would share it, as using merchandise and apparel to leverage sponosorships at activations is becoming a bigger part of our business at Withers & Co.

Globally for every $10 spent on sponsorship $6 is spent on activating that sponsorship, in New Zealand the ratio is $10 to $1…corporate's spend all this money on sponsorship and don’t activate!!

Here is a list of suggestions when putting your activation together.

1. What are we trying to achevie?

Why is an activation, whatever it may potentially look like, important to the partner? Are they trying to have a physical presence at an event? Are they trying to leverage other partnerships in the one big opportunity? Try and tease out of the partner what their objectives are in this piece e.g. brand awareness, community engagement etc.

All of this will help you determine what the activation should or could be. Most importantly, it will help determine what success looks like in the eyes of the partner.

2. What resources are available?

Whether they are financial or physical, both in preparation for the activation as well as on the day, you really do need to understand the resources the partner has available. The answers will shape what you can achieve (which is much better than making assumptions and then not executing the activation well).

Be sure to identify any possible barriers from the outset. This is really important because one thing to understand is whether you will have additional funds to activate the partnership or whether it is expected to come from the fee already agreed. Too often, I just assumed that, if needed, there would be some extra money. Usually, there wasn’t. So, make sure you cover this key element BEFORE trying to get creative!

I know, I know, it’s hard not to get excited.

Another important element is whether or not the partner has access to graphic design or digital expertise to help give the activation a polished look. Or, will that fall to you?

If the activation centres around an event, what access to support staff will you have on the day?

3. What ideas do you have?

Someone needs to come up with the ideas. That’s why it is important to ask the partner, at the start, “Do you have any creative ideas you would like to consider?”

Too often, I put myself in the position of coming up with cutting edge, out of the box ideas. It’s not I didn’t have good ideas. Instead, it’s that the partner probably did as well, and they might have been better, but I didn’t ask. Bit rude.

Don’t put all the pressure on yourself to come up with the cool activation idea. It’s OK to use external advice where possible. You can’t see it just yet but you have an amazing network and lots of them could offer some activation ideas over a coffee simply because they want to help. Reach out.

Or, involve others from both businesses to get some creative input. You never know where the spark will come from. It doesn’t always have to come from you just because you are the commercial manager.

Finally, sometimes, you might have to talk to an agency. That’s cool. It’s all about the best outcome.

Most of all, don’t assume that you will be able to pull out a fresh idea at the last minute. Trust me, I know you.

4. How would you like the outcomes reported on this?

This is a special component of the partnership. Don’t assume that it can just be rolled into a mid or post-season review.

You should ask the question, at the start, “How and when do you want to be informed of the outcome of this activation?”

By identifying what is attempting to be achieved (Question 1) you will know what success looks like. Then, you can put this into the agreed format which may be a formal report or it may just be a brief slide for talking through during a coffee.

Whatever it is, ensure you report on this activation specifically, note the positives and the negatives, and learn from those for the future.

Sam, hopefully, this letter helps identify a whole bunch of things that will help you immediately. Now, go out there and ensure those partner activations are something special!

Source: Sam Irvine, via Linkedin