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Unlocking the Power of Sponsorship: Lesa Ukman’s Insights

In a world where marketing strategies constantly evolve, Lesa Ukman’s session at the Sponsorship Mastery Summit shed light on the enduring and transformative power of sponsorship. With a record number of mergers and acquisitions and a surge of private equity investments in the sports and entertainment sector, it’s evident that sponsorship holds a premium place in the eyes of capital markets.

Building Brand Equity: The Role of Sponsorship

Lesa emphasized the indispensable role sponsorship plays in brand equity. She pointed to Interbrand’s 2023 list of the world’s top 100 brands, where sponsorship’s influence was impossible to ignore. Yet, despite its remarkable track record, many in the marketing world continue to grapple with understanding and appreciating sponsorship.

Challenges in the Marketing Landscape

The post-COVID era has witnessed a shift in the marketing landscape, with sponsorship departments facing budget cuts and a move towards media buying. This change raises a crucial question: Will sponsorship’s unique rights and benefits be reduced to a standardized cost per thousand? Lesa reminded the audience that the true power of sponsorship lies in its ability to change attitudes and behaviors, moving beyond mere social media engagement and click-through rates.

The Profound Impact of Sponsorship

Sponsorship’s reach extends far beyond traditional marketing mediums. It possesses the potential to enrich not only big media conglomerates but also fans, communities, and customers on multiple levels. It is a force that should not be underestimated.

Red Bull’s Remarkable Journey

Lesa shared the remarkable success story of Red Bull. This brand, with a budget that allocated zero to measured media and 100 percent to athlete, event, and musician partnerships, became a global bestseller in the beverage industry, creating a brand category worth over $50 billion. Red Bull’s investments in sponsorship, content, and partnerships, across various media channels, exemplify the brand’s impact on multiple sectors, from sports to entertainment.

Emirates Airlines: A Sponsorship Success

Lesa highlighted how Emirates Airlines utilized sponsorship to transform from a small carrier with two leased jets into the world’s largest international airline. By building the Dubai brand and positioning it as a highly desirable destination, that sponsorship effort was pivotal in achieving meteoric growth.

Nike and Samsung: Transformations Through Sponsorship

Two corporate giants, Nike and Samsung, leveraged sponsorship to achieve unparalleled transformations. Nike, through its partnership with Michael Jordan, evolved from a small running shoe brand to a global sportswear powerhouse.

Similarly, Samsung’s Olympic sponsorship propelled the brand to compete on a global scale with tech giant Apple.

Beyond Traditional Objectives: Sponsorship’s Versatility

Lesa emphasized that sponsorship extends beyond traditional objectives such as brand awareness and image building. It can drive customer behavior change, foster enterprise transformation, create opportunities for new product development, and deliver substantial returns on investment.

Corporate Social Opportunity: Sponsorship’s Role in Social Responsibility

Sponsorships provide a unique platform for corporate social responsibility. High-profile partnerships allow brands to communicate their values and efforts in making the world a better place, creating a win-win scenario for both the brand and society.

Measuring What Matters

Lesa stressed the importance of measuring outcomes rather than outputs when evaluating sponsorship. Focusing on objectives like brand awareness, image change, sales, loyalty, and social impact is essential for a comprehensive assessment.

Sponsorship: More Than a Channel

In closing, Lesa described sponsorship as a mindset and approach to business that transcends traditional marketing boundaries. It operates as a multi-channel platform with a primary focus on service, exemplifying its multi-faceted nature.

In a rapidly changing marketing landscape, Lesa Ukman’s insights underscored the enduring significance of sponsorship as a dynamic tool for building brands, fostering change, and making a positive impact on society. When harnessed effectively, sponsorship has the potential to deliver substantial returns for brands, rights holders, and communities, transcending the conventional confines of marketing.