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Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors: Part I

Great quotes and references can help your cycling club secure sponsors in a number of ways. First it can provide you with examples of how, and why, cycling is an excellent vehicle to augment a sponsor’s advertising and public relations campaigns. Second, a reference gives you immediate credibility by describing the value your cycling club has delivered to companies in the corporate sector.

Last week, SunGard and Quiznos provided examples of positive endorsements touting the value of cycling to their brands! SunGard’s CMO was quoted:

“We are pleased to extend our sponsorship of Riis Cycling in 2011 and join Saxo Bank as a co-title sponsor. We share Saxo Bank’s enthusiasm for this project and we are looking forward to renewing our collaboration. The Saxo Bank-SunGard Professional Cycling Team represents a fantastic opportunity to gain visibility for our brand in front of a global audience.”  – Brian Robins, Chief Marketing Officer, SunGard

The quote delivers an endorsement of the Saxo Bank-SunGard Team, while describing how sponsoring cycling contributes to increasing brand awareness and visibility.

Another example of a positive endorsement for cycling came during the announcement of the Quiznos Pro Challenge. The Quiznos executive describes how sponsoring cycling aligns with their brand, customers, and objectives of supporting the growing trend of healthy lifestyles.

“We always try to stay in front of what most interests our customers. Cycling is representative of the more contemporary American lifestyle and Quiznos customers participate in just this kind of activity….. With the creation of the Quiznos Pro Challenge we aim to promote an active lifestyle while bringing an exciting new pro-cycling event to a growing audience of fans in the United States.” – Ellen Kramer, Quiznos Chief Communications Officer.

When talking with prospective sponsors, use quotes like these to educate the company on the value cycling can provide in promoting their brand. Furthermore, if you find the company’s demographic aligns with cycling’s demographic, the proposition becomes even more compelling. Not only are you offering the company the potential of increasing the visibility of their brand, but you are also helping to increase visibility and awareness, of their brand, in a growing market segment – cycling!

Another point to stress is the relative value of sponsoring a cycling club, to increase brand visibility, awareness and sales, vs. other advertising and public relations mediums.  The Reuters article “Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams”, contrasts how sponsors can reap the rewards of increased brand awareness and reach, for less of an investment, when compared with other sports, like Formula One or Soccer, for vastly less funding. However, the return on investment for sports marketing, dollar-for-dollar, is greater when considering the ratio of dollars:visibility, making cycling a much better value.

On a local level, think of how many events (races, training rides, charity-based rallies) and miles your members cover on roads and trails during the year. Then, factor in how many people see your members riding during the year. Also, don’t forget to consider visitors to your web site, e-mail distribution lists, members of your on-line community, social networking tools, etc. Lastly, have the prospective sponsor consider the amount of funding you are requesting, in conjunction with visibility of your club members (on road, trail, cyberspace) compared to their current expenditures for advertising. Your proposal should be very compelling and attractive.

That’s all for now; gotta’ go ride!

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, “keep the rubber side down.”

Al

References:

Lance Armstrong Achieves Another Victory by Bringing International Pro-Cycling Back to Colorado: Seven Day Quiznos Pro Challenge to Become One of the Most Significant Cycling Competitions – PR Newswire

Riis: Saxo Bank Joins SunGard as Co-Title Sponsor in 2011 – PR Newswire

Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams – Chris Baldwin, Reuters

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Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors – Part II

We have witnessed a ton of interesting sponsorship news in the world of professional cycling over the last several weeks. A few sponsors have increased their level of sponsorship and commitment (SunGard), while new sponsors have emerged as leading corporate partners for teams (Geox), and unfortunately, one major bicycle manufacturer decided to abandon sponsorship of its team (Cervelo). And, it’s not over yet – some of us are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the sponsors associated with a new, Luxembourg based team! Probably going to see more intriguing moves before the current season ends, and the 2011 season begins.

But, what does any of this have to do with your cycling club or team?

Well, we can draw a couple of parallels across various levels of cycling clubs – pro, amateur, national, international, regional, local, competitive, non-competitive, etc. Irrespective of the type, or focus, of cycling club or team, three factors remain constant regarding sponsorship –

  1. sponsors will come and sponsors will go
  2. some sponsors will increase their level of commitment, while other sponsors will decrease their investment
  3. your cycling clubs objective is to keep the sponsors you have, while attracting new ones

Keeping the sponsors you have means continually demonstrating your clubs value year after year. Documenting the value your club delivers for a sponsor does two things. First, it forces you, and your corporate partners, to quantify your cycling club’s value. Second, quantifying your value with existing sponsors can directly help your efforts in securing new sponsors.

As pointed out in“Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors” part I – one way of demonstrating, and quantifying, the value your cycling club delivers to sponsors is through effective use of quotes and reference stories.

Why? Quotes and references are an endorsement of the value your cycling club provides, and when used properly, they can be one of the best tools you can use when engaging prospective sponsors. References and quotes give you credibility, and demonstrate your cycling clubs value in your sponsor’s own words!

A few tips for developing quotes highlighting your value and success with existing sponsors include:

  • the contact’s name and position
  • the company
  • collaborate with your contact – build a quote which captures why they sponsored your club, and the value they received. Potential examples of value statements can be – aligning their company, brand, products, marketing messages, market plans, etc……with cycling. Here are a few examples I found online:

“The HTC High Road Sports partnership is a great match of like minded organizations driven by innovation, excellence and competitiveness and we are excited about the opportunity to communicate HTC’s brand value through the great sport of cycling.” – Peter Chou, CEO, HTC

“This is an exciting time at RadioShack,” added Applbaum. “We are re-launching our brand with a new creative platform in early August, and now having Lance on our team – an American icon who embodies the spirit of mobility, connectivity and philanthropy – really allows us to accelerate our brand’s evolution.”Lee Applbaum, CMO, RadioShack

“…..but I spoke with the president and he told me of his idea of entering cycling because it’s a sport of great tradition, with a huge following and for people of all ages.”Mauro Giannetti, on Geox sponsorship of his team

“On a marketing front, we like to align ourselves with ideas that fit with our culture, and cycling is a great fit. We also like the fact that cycling is very much an international sport as the BISSELL brand grows around the world. We also believe in supporting a healthy lifestyle.” – BISSELL

“To us, this is more than a logo on a jersey, it is a relationship that embodies the qualities that we as producers of the finest coffee in the world would like to foster – hard work and hard play…..we believe it is more important to stay healthy and active. We think it’s important for your physical health and your mental health.” – Mountain Khaki’s/Jittery Joe’s Cycling Team

  • If possible, see if you can get the sponsor to provide some type of metric in their quote. Anything related to increased sales, website or store traffic, product downloads, literature requests and leads, etc., quantifying the value sponsoring your cycling club delivers. My blog post “Leveraging B2B to drive added value for your cycling club’s sponsors” has some excellent examples from NASCAR corporate sponsors.
  • PLEASE – ALWAYS GET THE SPONSORS APPROVAL BEFORE PUBLISHING A QUOTE! MAKE SURE IT IS ACCURATE!
  • ALSO, ENSURE THE SPONSOR APPROVES WHERE, AND HOW THEIR QUOTE WILL BE USED – some companies do not necessarily want their quotes used in all forms of media. This might be for legal reasons or because of confidentiality. It is important to have clear direction on exactly how, and where, the quote can be used.

The possibilities for using quotes with prospective sponsors are endless! A few recommendations are as follows:

  • Use quotes to stimulate interest with prospective sponsors during early stages of contact. This can include in e-mail and letters.
  • As you progress through the process with sponsors, one can use quotes in supporting documentation, during face-to-face meetings, or during presentations.
  • Sponsorship proposals can include quotes to help illustrate – a) that other companies find value in sponsoring your club, and b) ideas of how prospective sponsors can achieve similar value.

*Note – I will present the sponsorship process, and steps involved, in future blog posts – Al.

Hopefully, today’s blog provided you with additional insight into creating, and using, quotes from your existing sponsors with prospective sponsors. If you have questions or comments please post in the comments section, or feel free to e-mail me – al@sponsormycyclingclub.com. I really appreciate the comments and e-mails I have received, because they help me to understand your impressions, perceptions, and perspectives; which in turn, helps me do the best possible job I can to share my knowledge, expertise, and passion, in a way that will benefit you and the members of your cycling club!

Also, you can follow me on twitter.com/@albrodie3, twitter.com/@sponsors4urclub, or on Facebook at Sponsor My Cycling Club, for information on the latest posts and updates.

Lastly, I am working on a FREE e-book – “Top Ten Tips for Securing Cycling Sponsorship” – which should be available shortly. Please check back for updates.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, “keep the rubber side down.”

Al

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Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors – Part III

This is the third blog entry in the series – “Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors.” Today’s entry will focus on Reference Stories.

Reference Stories are another excellent, and effective, method for demonstrating your cycling clubs’ value to prospective sponsors.

Why? Because a reference story does just that – it tells a story, from the sponsor’s point of view, describing the value they see in sponsoring your cycling club. Well written reference stories can help you create credibility, and attract prospective sponsors by:

  • portraying real world examples describing why sponsoring your cycling club is a good business investment.
  • providing an endorsement for your cycling club. Think of a reference story as validation of the value your club delivered to a corporate sponsor.
  • building a foundation for discussions with prospective sponsors. You are giving examples of how your club delivered value, enabling you to explore how you can do the same for their company.

A few recommendations for structuring a solid, descriptive, reference story highlighting your value include:

  1. company name and logo – check with your sponsor to make sure it is okay to use their logo
  2. company overview – this is a SHORT, one or two sentence, description of the sponsors business. Try to describe in a couple of sentences their – business, products/services, primary market they serve (ex. – consumer electronics, cell phone service provider, luxury auto dealer……)
  3. your contact – include name and title (make sure the spelling and title are correct)
  4. company URL – include a hyperlink to their website
  5. length of relationship with your club – length of time the company has sponsored your club
  6. why the company sponsored your cycling club – explain, in the sponsors words, why they sponsored your club. A few examples you can draw from are:
    1. aligning their brand and products with a sport promoting an active, healthy lifestyle
    2. augmenting existing marketing activities in order to increase company, brand, or product visibility
    3. increasing visibility of their products and brand in a specific market segment or geography
    4. using sponsorship to drive more traffic to their website, or into their store
    5. promoting positive public relations by supporting a club involved in an eco-friendly activity
    6. leveraging the importance of fitness, health & wellness, with their employees (See Health & Wellness blog entries)
    7. driving increased sales and market share
    8. as an aid to drive awareness of new products or services

As with quotes, try to work with the sponsor in quantifying specific metrics that can be associated with sponsoring your club. A few examples are:

  1. increases in sales by xx% or dollars
  2. increase in website hits or store traffic by xx%
  3. increases in leads by xx%
  4. increases in downloads from the sponsors site by xx%
  5. increases in company and brand visibility by xx% (*example – many companies conduct surveys identifying how a client learned of them, where they last saw their brand mentioned, or the clients perception of their product or company, etc)
  6. increases in penetration rate of a particular market segment
  7. also, use time periods if possible

These are only a few of the many reasons companies sponsor cycling clubs. (In fact, this sounds like an excellent blog post unto itself – “Why do companies sponsor cycling clubs?” – look for it in the near future.)

*NOTE – PLEASE – ALWAYS GET THE SPONSORS APPROVAL BEFORE PUBLISHING A REFERENCE STORY! MAKE SURE IT IS ACCURATE! AND, AS MENTIONED WITH QUOTES, ENSURE THE SPONSOR APPROVES WHERE, AND HOW, THE REFERENCE STORY WILL BE USED.

Lastly, as mentioned in “Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors – Part II”, quotes and reference stories can be used in proposals, newsletters, on your social media sites, in your blogs and on-line communities, as attachments to introductory e-mail……the list goes on and on. The beauty of having solid, descriptive, quote or reference story is that you can use them at anytime during the sponsorship process to describe “why a company should consider sponsoring your cycling club?” They provide your cycling club with immediate credibility and value!

Thanks again for visiting. Remember, until next time, “keep the rubber side down.”

Al

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