Navigating event sponsorship

event sponsorship
With hundreds of large-scale events taking place across Canada every year, brands can find themselves with dozens of opportunities to make meaningful connections with target audiences. Event sponsorship is a growing method for developing brand loyalty as event attendees associate their experience with their interactions with a brand.  An activation agency can help you make those key connections to land your brand the ideal sponsorship opportunity. Not only do activation agencies have established relationships with event producers, they are also experts at pairing the right event with your brand. To learn a bit more about making the perfect pairing, we connected with Shereef Shiaty, the CEO of Reef Agency, a Toronto-based experiential marketing agency that has helped dozens of brands find sponsorship opportunities.

An interview with Reef Agency CEO, Shereef Shiaty

Where should event planners be seeking out sponsors? 

We find more often than not that word-of-mouth is one of the most effective tools when finding event sponsors.Working with colleagues and clients how they’ve gotten involved in events in the past and if they would like to participate in the exciting opportunities we have to offer. Alternatively, we get contacted for support with this as well via referrals. Building a list of contacts everywhere you go will give you the ability to pick up the phone and reach out to potential event sponsors for whatever event you are working on. We know from experience that the right sponsor paired with the right event, can truly give a brand a push in the right direction.

What are some red flags brands need to look for when they are considering event sponsorship?

Return on investment and supporting the objective are the key decision makers for brands seeking sponsorship or partnership opportunities. Never put yourself in a position where you spent too much money on the sponsorship and then don’t have enough in your budget for a truly effective activation. There has to be a balance. We find that activations with lower budgets don’t perform as well as a smaller sponsorships with greater engagement levels onsite because the funds simply aren’t there to give the activation a wow-factor for guests. Another thing to consider is your placement within the event. If you are an event sponsor, you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to location. Double, even triple-check that your activation correlates to the price you’re paying. We’ve worked with brands who have been negotiating deals with the events directly, only to learn that their placement for their activation is located in the farthest position from the high traffic event activity. Being strategic about your sponsorship is key. That’s why our clients trust us to manage these negotiations for them.

How will the right event sponsorship positively impact your brand?

When your brand is aligned with a well-known event, that the public already trusts, people notice. Making these positive connections between reputable events and your brand can go a long way with your consumers and will help to support future marketing initiatives. Creating a positive relationship with a national or international event can give your marketing efforts the push it needs to take your brand national, or even global. An experiential marketing agency like Reef, can help you take those first steps into strategic partnership with an event that will serve as your base line to bigger event sponsorship activations in the future. 

What are the key factors you look for in an event sponsor?

Event producers typically do all of their sponsorship work in-house, so they tend to look for sponsors who can bring in the right crowd to an event. Likewise, the sponsor, has to ensure the demographic is aligned with their brand objectives. Event producers that have relationships with, trust us to connect them with brands that will impact their event positively and lean on Reef to create unique engagements onsite that draw crowds. Ensuring the event and the brand are aligned is a critical factor when proposing a brand as an event sponsor. We always aim to connect event producers and brands that with naturally fit together. Our years of experience in the industry allows us to leverage our relationships with event producers, to bring our brand clients opportunities that both the brand and the event producers feel good about. In the past, we’ve helped form exciting connections between Boots and Hearts Music Festival and Flor de Caña premium rum to create a VIP experience for event-goers. Likewise, we helped to create a relationship between our client Ace Hill and Live Republic events that lead to Ace Hill becoming a title sponsor for a major Canadian concert. We are also bringing Yelp to Boobyball this year, who will be activating a very unique experience so we are excited to release that to the public. 

Why do you think working with an experiential agency is ideal for brands and event producers?

Event organizers respond positively when they work with an agency to represent the company, simply because it is a turnkey solution for the event and for a brand. When an experiential agency represents the brand or the event, there is only one entity that deals with negotiations and the onsite activation which makes the entire process smoother for both parties. It also helps to give event producers the confidence to follow through on their responsibilities. Likewise, it takes a lot of the load off of brands who may be unfamiliar with sponsorship territory and the diligence and time that must go into being an event sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities only work if they are executed well and help to build a reputation and relationships in the events world.
Shereef and his team of experienced experiential marketers, events experts and creative strategists have helped brands break through the clutter and land sponsorship opportunities. If you’re looking for a marketing opportunity to create impactful growth for our brand, trust the experts at Reef Agency to negotiate and create the perfect sponsorship experience. Contact Reef Agency today to learn more about what event sponsorship could look like for your brand.