Sponsorships – How SMEs Like Olytico Get Involved

by Lorcan Bannon on 15/02/18

My sponsorship experience comes from working with some of Ireland’s leading brands.

During my time at Absolut Vodka, I was involved with large scale Irish sponsorship partnerships including the (Absolut) Dublin Fringe Festival, the Galway Arts Festival and the (Absolut) Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. We had an active brand strategy, engaging with these festivals (often as title sponsors) in a concerted effort to build brand awareness and a credible connection with the creative community in Ireland.

It was a lot of hard work, but we had a lot of fun along the way. Thankfully this sponsorship strategy, in tandem with strong commercial activity, worked and Absolut Vodka is now one of Ireland’s leading premium spirits.

While this large-scale sponsorship approach is not appropriate for a start-up or SME, three key take outs have helped our team at Olytico build a strong sponsorship activation plan, suitable for our scale and budget.

1)    Start Small And Learn Fast

The first sponsorship campaign I was involved with was the (Absolut) Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. This is an annual event that is held in Dublin to celebrate the best international and Irish theatre works with a broadly gay theme. For Absolut Vodka, with a strong heritage in supporting the LGBT community, it was a perfect fit. As our first official title sponsorship, we had to learn on the fly. One of the first challenges was how to merge core values and brand guidelines from two different brands while communicating a message consumers would find consistent and appealing.

At Olytico, we started our sponsorship activity with one partner initially – The Audi Dublin International Film Festival – and took the learnings from this experience to develop and grow sponsorship partnerships with the Dublin Theatre Festival and Kilkenny Cat Laughs in the years that followed. After each sponsorship, we review what worked well and what worked less well, proactively improving our activation strategy.

2)    Identify Events Where You Can Add Value and Stay Focused

Absolut Vodka is one of the world’s most premium spirits and has brand credentials the envy of most brands around the world. Consumers (generally) get this. When it came to adding value to sponsorships, we focused on adding value where we knew we could do it best i.e. consumer experiences, drinks receptions, advertising campaigns that got people thinking. At the same time, the festival organisers focused on their core strengths delivering incredibly creative programmes and unparalleled cultural experiences for Irish consumers.

At Olytico, we are Social Media Monitoring and Analysis specialists. That’s what we do. When it came to identifying potential sponsorship opportunities, we wanted to work with events that stimulated a good level of online conversations and we knew we could add value through real time alerts and retrospective analysis. By staying focused on where our core strengths lie, we have built a strong sponsorship platform for Olytico.

3)    Maximise Your Return On Investment

Sponsorships can be a lot of fun, but they do require time and investment to activate correctly. As part of the Absolut Vodka sponsorship activity, we focused on a through-the-line approach – investing heavily in outdoor campaigns and supporting activity in the local on and off trade environments. In addition, Social Media was used to build greater awareness with those consumers who couldn’t physically attend events.

At Olytico, we are taking a similar approach, investing time to create content connected with our sponsorships that we hope our customers will find interesting. For example, as part of our Social Media monitoring services, we can identify the most talked about acts in the run up to a festival and create tailored word clouds reflecting the nature of the online conversation. This is relevant and ownable for our brand and helps us to maximise our return on the sponsorship investment.

At Olytico HQ, we are really excited to partner once again with the Audi Dublin International Film Festival.

The festival starts on the 21st of February.

More information (including details of some proud partners) can be found here.

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