Across industries and country markets, brands are moving towards more sustainable business practices.
It’s no surprise in 2020 that consumer research shows that the clear majority of consumers in the U.S. are looking for businesses to take the lead on social and environmental change. In terms of the environment, brands taking the lead doesn’t just mean green washing or tinkering with your carbon footprint or packaging.
It means considering sustainability across how you approach every aspect of your business, including how you market.
Consider the reputational risk against your brand’s defined sustainability position that lay, maybe dormant, inside your sponsorship portfolio. A well-aligned sponsorship will be seen by consumers as an extension of a brand’s values and voice. Sustainability needs to extend into this exchange, both in terms of how your brand activates its sponsorships and in the properties your brand chooses to support.
A firm commitment to sustainability in your sponsorship portfolio could manifest as a simple “go or no go” when first selecting potential partnerships but it needs to evolve into being a demonstration of your brand’s commitment to sustainability. This should include driving properties in your portfolio to prioritize their own sustainability position, particularly when your brand is a naming rights partner.
Beyond environmental sustainability, also consider the property’s social sustainability position including around employment practices, accessibility, diversity and inclusivity.
Consider where aspects of your brand’s sustainability position align with with the property’s and then amplify your sponsorship by activating around those. Think about your ability to help the property prioritize and articulate its sustainability position and then story-tell against it.
The inherent value of sponsorships is derived from an exchange of equity anchored in shared values. Sustainability is a value increasingly shared by your consumer audiences, your employees, your regulators and your communities.
Be more mindful for how the properties in your sponsorship portfolio support your brand’s sustainability position, or don’t.
Image credits: Cover) Getty Images; 2) Bonnaroo.com; 3) https://inhabitat.com/brazils-mineirao-is-the-first-world-cup-stadium-completely-powered-by-the-sun/