The former global head of sponsorship and media at Vodafone, overseeing major sponsorships like the Uefa Champions League as well as brands like Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1, Manchester United and England cricket, Daragh Persse set up The Brand Fans seven years ago.
Now the company is a key player in the growing Irish sponsorship market, as he explains to John McGee.
Chief cook and bottle-washer!
We have two main challenges. The first of these is to place our emphasis on a balanced approach to sponsorship evaluation — determining both the impact a sponsorship is delivering for the brand and balancing this with the return on investment.
As Oscar Wilde said: “Nowadays, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Our challenge is to ensure our clients are focused as much on the outcomes — brand impact, customer engagement, consideration, loyalty, NPS — as the outputs such as media value, tickets and logos.
The second challenge is investment. Once we have demonstrated the potential value and impact of a sponsorship, we then need to ensure the brand is fully committed to delivering a partnership that is backed up with investment, creativity and priority within the business. Agreeing a sponsorship and then failing to back this up with investment is a missed opportunity.
We have had more than 18 years working with and evaluating the impact from some of the world’s largest and smallest sponsorship properties. We address this by providing a range of tools and the experience necessary to give our clients — both brands and rights holders — the confidence that they are making the right decisions.
We have spent a lot of time in the last few years dispelling the sponsorship measurement myth and demonstrating that sponsorship is as accountable any other marketing channel.
Regarding investment, the best possible scenario is to enter an agreement with your eyes wide open. Our role is to both inspire and excite our clients with the potential impact from a sponsorship but also to paint a clear picture of the size of investment and commitment that is required to deliver on their aspirations. In the long term this is in the interests of both the brand but also the rights holder who is looking to engage with a partner that will fully activate the partnership.
The sponsorship industry is in very good health at the moment. We are fortunate to have some Irish brands spearheading creative and disruptive sponsorship campaigns. I am glad to say that the old days of the chairman’s whim, while still evident in some cases, is rapidly disappearing. We need to continue to celebrate great work alongside effective evaluation to ensure sponsorship remains at the top table and is seen as an effective tool to engage customers and deliver real business results.