«We are now trying to talk not so much about sponsorship, but more of a partnership»
During the master class at the RMA Business School given by the director of sponsor relations at «Crystal Palace» FC Jack Johnstone, he talked about the key principles in sponsor relations upheld by his club.
«The main principle — we, first and foremost, are interested in the brands that are similar to our own. That is to say — they have to be young, or have a history that is in the state of redefining of their ambitions, the kind of brands that are seeking new horizons, in other words the bands — challengers. They, just like us, need to conquer the new markets, new audiences, and in need of proving a lot. As an example, I can refer a vodka brand called New Amsterdam — it’s a new American product coming out of California. They have recently entered the British market, and have chosen to partner with us as one of the instruments of achieving their ambitious goals.
Second principle element: we are now trying to talk not so much about sponsorship, but more of a partnership. We aren’t terribly interested in the kind of cooperation were we simply sell advertisement for money and spots in the skyboxes, instead, we are proponents of the more contemporary approach, that is to say we like the idea of diversity and creativity in our package offerings, because even moderately creative activation attracts the traditional media, and generates traction in the social media, which eventually gives us with the very PR both us and our partners are seeking.
And finally, the third principle: we are very thoughtful in working with our sponsors, which includes the scientific approach. And I’ll explain what I mean by that… You know, there are some of them that are very cautious in having anything to do with the soccer clubs, because, they believe, if they link themselves to any one of them, then the fans of the other competing clubs will turn away from their product. So we went ahead and thoroughly researched this very issue. We’ve paid for a specialized public research, as part of which we polled 43 thousand respondents — our fans, those of the other clubs, as well as those with no particular interest in soccer altogether — the poll was focused on 57 key parameters, and covered 10 categories of products. So without going too far into details, our research had positively shown us that these concerns of our potential sponsors were largely superstitious in nature, because, as it turned out, the distrust toward a given brand product among non soccer oriented respondents was much, at times by an order of magnitude higher than among the fans who could have been swayed in their dislike by the dictates of either the team loyalty or antipathy. Moreover: we have found that sponsorship of the specific soccer club, by itself, irrespective of which one it is, can still attract a positive attention from the people who do not support this team, including those who might be fans of another club entirely. Now, we are taking these detailed findings along with us quite often when we negotiate with our potential partners. And I can say conclusively, this has already helped us to secure at least several deals», — remarked Jack Johnstone.