Measuring the Value of an Arts Sponsorship

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Sponsorship of the arts can be a valuable way for companies to engage with the public today but its value to potential sponsors is not well understood in terms of measurement. Whilst arts sponsorship is often the poor cousin to sports sponsorship in terms of dollars, it has unique features which are very attractive and cannot be achieved through sports sponsorship.

Unfortunately, many arts organizations do not highlight many of these key elements when seeking sponsorship. Many of the sponsorship proposals from arts organizations are well thought out and have a good sense of style about them but there is often something missing in terms of the value proposition. The value of the arts sponsorship is not ‘consumer-centric’, instead it is focused on a sales package incentives as if they were selling to sponsors the same messages as what you would use to sell to the audience. Too much about selling a sales package and not enough about a potential sponsors marketing and corporate objectives.

The value of arts sponsorship is that it can achieve results for sponsors in ways that cannot be achieved from other forms of marketing. The best advertising, digital media or public relations campaign is often unable to achieve the same type of results. The unique aspects of arts sponsorship simply cannot be replicated with other types of marketing or sponsorship types. This is evident from a measurement perspective, especially in understanding the sponsorship ROI itself.

When looking at value arts sponsorship from a ROI perspective, the attraction of arts sponsorships is related to several key factors.

The Target Audience

Firstly, passion for arts properties is very specific to a target audience. It is highly targeted and more often than not, this particular segment of the market is a hard to reach by conventional marketing methods. The key aspect is the passion. Now with SponsorMap, we use a benchmark called the PassionIndex to measure the level of emotional engagement to properties. The stronger the passion, the higher the level of engagement.

In the example below are results taken from a national sample of adults 16+ that was representative of the the general population. What is shown is the specific analysis of the high income, female segment of the national market. This segment obviously is very appealing for many businesses that wish to build relationships with existing or prospective customers. Whether it is financial products, fashion or prestige cars, this target audience is a key market segment for many companies.

Passion Index Ratings Arts Property in a Segmented Market

Passion Index Ratings Arts Property in a Segmented Market

Looking at the PassionIndex slide it is clear with this consumer segment arts properties strongly engage with them. Hence, if there is a high level of emotional engagement then that by itself is attractive as corporations can build relationships through sponsorship with these types of arts properties. It is important to remember that the market needs to be segmented to identify opportunities for consumer engagement and this process does often highlight good opportunities in the arts area for sponsorship that can be missed. Not every type of consumer is open to arts sponsorship, but the key consideration is that there are segments of the overall general public that are receptive.

Sponsor Fit/Brand Alignment
Is the partnership between the sponsor and the arts property a good brand alignment? Does it enhance a sponsor’s brand image? This is often mentioned as a key deliverable of all types of sponsorship. It is actually something that can be fairly easily measured as it is just a matter of asking the right questions. A good quantitative survey can be used to do this. Typical results from arts sponsorships are shown in the slide below.

Brand Enhancement of Sponsorship

Brand Enhancement of Sponsorship

It shows the image attributes of the sponsor and how the sponsorship is enhancing them. In this case, it is about the arts sponsor property influencing the image ratings of the brand. Ideally, we would demonstrate this with a control sample or a pre and post measurement, but this will often suffice for most sponsorship evaluations for the arts.

Sponsor Appreciation
This is a very strong feature of arts sponsorship. Sponsors of arts properties tend to rate very highly on this measure, meaning there is a strong level of overall appreciation to sponsors for their involvement. They are seen to have done the ‘good thing’ and helped something that is of importance to people. This influence is what as known as Balance Theory, it is the change in attitudes to a sponsor/brand that occurs due to the direct involvement with the property. People will adjust their attitudes to a corporation because they are perceived to have done the right thing. (Not everybody feels appreciation, some feel in more than others and some do not feel it at all.) In the example below, brand advocacy is strongly influence by the appreciation felt towards the sponsor based on gratitude, as measured by the Gratitude Index.

Sponsor Appreciation Enhances the Value of Sponsorship Itself

Sponsor Appreciation Enhances the Value of Sponsorship Itself

With arts sponsorships, this influence can deliver major dividends for sponsors and is an influence not generated from other forms of traditional marketing communications such as advertising. Hence, when measuring the value of an arts sponsorship it is essential to demonstrate the gratitude to a sponsor for their involvement as arts sponsorship perform very well on this measure. This is a unique feature that should be emphasized as the impact can be quite dramatic.

Survey methods are highly recommended to measure the contribution of an arts sponsorship. There are several reasons, namely sponsorship is about attitude and behavior change for a sponsor, without this there is no ROI. Sponsorship’s impact is only felt if it achieves a modest amount of attitude and behavioural change. Other measures are also useful, but should be viewed provides additional metrics of overall contribution. If you have them then that is terrific as they build the overall case for the value of the sponsorship overall.

It should be remembered that demonstrating the appeal of the arts sponsorship to prospective sponsors and subsequently linking it to the sponsor’s own objectives in a measurable way provides a strong case for sponsorship. Likewise, for corporations considering sponsorship of the arts, there are ways in which a well planned sponsorship can drive marketing and business results much more effectively than traditional marketing communication methods.

Overall it is the consumer-centric approaches to sponsorship that is the best way to measure value. What is important how audiences emotionally engage with a brand/property partnership in the arts. That is the foundation of the business case for arts sponsorships and the reason why it can be a power relationship building tool for any Marketing Director or CEO looking at the arts.

There Are 6 Responses So Far. »

  1. Excellent Information

  2. very well sense. . . I also know all about sponsorship. Since I am absentminded when I read about the arts sponsorship..I am enjoying when I see a variety of art… excellence :D

  3. Thank you for the post, and for bringing attention to the arts.

    As a strong supporter of the arts, I have always trumpeted the benefits of the arts and the lack of funding to allow it to thrive at a greater potential. I have never seen such a detailed analysis of sponsorship.

  4. Truly, Understanding your audience and market enables you do better decisions.

    Webmaster, Inflatable Kayaker

  5. Everything in us is an art. Thanks for opening us the value of it through this site..

  6. A good read,hope i will be able to pen winning proposal for the arts org i am heading.

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