The Case for Greater Digital in Sponsorship Briefs

The Challenge

It’s often the case that a sponsorship or experiential team will create an overall strategy for activating the brand at an event or throughout the year, then “back into” concepting for digital content and interactive. In the process, a true brief for the digital experience is never created, rather, ideation and delivery take place downstream from the overall brand activation thinking.

But deferring the digital experience to latter stages of sponsorship planning can be costly; sometimes in small ways – like making the digital concepting and production phase take longer – and sometimes in important ways – as in those instances where the digital piece is clearly just bolted on to the program rather than truly integrated on a thematic and experience design level (here’s looking at you, photo booths).

The Opportunity

We’re seeing true digital innovation occur when sponsorship marketers and their agencies think about content and their audience first and foremost and prioritize the digital experience – both onsite and online/mobile – as a vital part of the creative brief (and thus the program overall).

By getting the digital experience brief right, some key outcomes are addressed:

  • 100% alignment between sponsorship strategy and digital experience design
  • Digital experiences that bring brand messaging to life in authentic, powerful ways
  • Maximizing social media reach and amplification
  • Deeper connections to ecommerce and other more transactional aims
  • Scalability of digital across multiple events, programs and campaigns

What to Do About It

Some recommendations on how to insure maximum impact of digital content and experiences:

  • Insure digital content and experiential are part of the original creative/project brief
  • Set aside a certain percentage of every budget to support digital experience goals
  • Set clear objectives for the use of digital media as part of the overall sponsorship
  • Evaluate and define the brand audiences’ digital platforms usage/expectations
  • Tap internal/external digital content and experiential experts to guide the creative

Consumer’s digital behavior and sponsorship expectations are fast moving: every demographic has its own needs/wants and behaviors. It’s our job as brand stewards and activation experts to understand their world and make adjustments to sponsorships plans to match and exceed those expectations whenever and wherever they encounter the brand (both online and at events).

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