Jim Andrews discussed the four trends that were having a major impact on sports sponsorships. In the first trend, Andrew describes the first trend as being stories. Traditionally, the brand holder provides the consumer the product story, thus leading the narrative. But unlike the consumer of the past, today’s consumer is more of a network. One entity that has the ability to engage with a larger number of people than previously available. The average consumer is no longer limited to his/her network of coworkers, family members and close friends. Through the advent of social networking platforms, many consumers are more connected with larger numbers of people through various platforms now more than ever. With that in mind, companies must recognize the power of those networks and provide the opportunity of telling the brand story to the consumers. They should have the chance to share how their Nike, Dicks Sporting Goods or Gatorade stories with their network while also allowing the product company to underscore those stories through sharing on their own, respective network. Companies should embrace the concept of their consumers becoming collaborates, co-creators and brand ambassadors.
The next trend is exploiting or using their assets to serve the needs of their consumers (or at least what they care about) instead of their own. When utilizing consumer centered tactics of sponsorship and marketing, companies must realize and accept that being advertised to is no longer an effective form of marketing. Companies must determine what the interests of their clientele and using its assets to create value for the consumer. Building brands that are of interest to consumers because they speak to what’s important to their consumers. This trend requires companies to understand what is important and valued by their consumers.
Engagement is the third trend and if focuses on establishing a sense of belonging for consumers. This trend doesn’t necessarily require brands to feel connected to a specific sport company. More so, consumers can feel connected to a thing while consuming a company’s product. A great example of engagement provided by Andrew was the Heineken music festival sponsorship which connected consumers together through the use of QR codes and personal information. QR codes were given to music festival goers and served as an easy way to interact with others to establish a connection. The central point remained the music festival but Heineken allowed itself and its QR codes to act as a connecting point with music as the backdrop.
Lastly, activation with partnerships was the last trend mentioned with an iteration on doing different things. Going beyond simply activating a partnership and being more creative and innovative. When consumers see the same product or activities over and over, they become immune to it and pay less attention. The trend emphasizes being unique, being first and simply being different in order to appeal to more people and a larger variety of brand exposure.