The growing number of companies using sponsorship to support brand campaigns is creating new opportunities for sellers.    

Indeed, companies are increasingly using sponsorship in integrated marketing campaigns to communicate brand values in a one-to-one environment.

Such is the case with Western Union, Inc. The global payments company in 2012 inked a three-year presenting sponsorship of the UEFA Europa League to support the launch of the “Moving Money Better” global brand campaign.

“We are convinced that building a brand is no longer about saying things, but doing things. We don’t want to shout at people through advertising. We want to engage them in a real way and show them we walk the walk,” Marc Audrit, Western Union’s vice president, global brand, told IEG SR after announcing the deal.

More recently, Office Depot, Inc. used its new partnership with last week’s Winter X Games Aspen to bring its “Depot Time” marketing campaign to life. The retailer activated the tie by showcasing the stopwatch used in its new TV ads on the ESPN schedule board and other on-site locations.

The retailer—which last year dropped its long-running NASCAR program—also used the tie to introduce its new concept stores to young influencers. That included the Office Depot Recharge Lounge and www.odxgames.com, a dedicated Web site that featured photos, promotions and other X Games content. 

“The X Games partnership is one example of many ways that Office Depot is reaching a younger crowd this year,” said Bob Moore, Office Depot’s executive vice president and chief marketing and merchandising officer. “X Games is the perfect partnership to show off the new, fresh side of Office Depot.”

Sales Tips: How To Leverage New Brand Campaigns
While companies are increasingly using sponsorship to support new brand campaigns, it can be a challenge to identify impending initiatives.

“Many times you don’t know about a new campaign until it’s launched. Once you read about it in Advertising Age, chances are they have already developed an activation plan,” said Jon Podany, CMO of the LPGA.

Below, three tips on how properties can identify and leverage new campaigns:

Watch for agency reviews. Companies that have launched agency reviews frequently represent prime sponsorship targets, said Podany.

“Agency reviews often lead to new brand campaigns.”

Companies currently reviewing media-buying and planning agencies include American Honda Motor Co., Bacardi Ltd. and Walgreen Co.   

Leverage agency contacts. Properties should network with agency contacts to learn about new brand campaigns and other upcoming initiatives. They can then use that information to craft a tailored sponsorship package that supports the new brand campaign.

Help support existing partners. In addition to prospecting new sponsors, sellers should help existing partners support new brand initiatives.

Bank of the West last year leveraged a handful of existing ties to support its new “Go West” brand campaign. The bank launched the initiative at the Bank of the West Classic WTA tournament with an on-site text-message seat upgrade promotion that offered a seat located on the west side of the tennis venue.

In addition, BMO Financial Group activated the Calgary Stampede, NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and other properties with the “Power of Blue” program to support a brand campaign that emphasizes customer service.

The banking giant brought the campaign to life by offering customers preferential parking, special entrances and other perks at sponsored properties.