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In case you need any convincing, we thought we would set out why it is so important to enter and win a UK Sponsorship Award.
Earlier this year, the 2016 Sponsorship Awards attracted nearly 500 leading figures from across the sponsorship sector. But why do companies bother to enter industry awards? What are the business benefits in taking the time and effort to do so? Here we list some of the reasons that persuade the world’s most famous marketing brands to come back year after year.
Anyone who has attended the UK Sponsorship Awards (or any awards for that matter) will know how pleased people are to win or be nominated. Entering Awards is a way of showing you value your team’s efforts… that you have monitored their progress through the year and are proud enough to showcase it to the wider industry. Even if you don’t win, you’re sending a message to your team that what they do really matters. Clearly Awards aren’t enough in themselves to boost team morale, but they play a part. They can also encourage team collaboration and cohesion.
Independent Benchmarking Of Success
Awards are like an objective external audit of both your strategy and your b2b communications skills. By allowing your peers (the judges) to assess your work (and your ability to articulate it), you can gauge whether your approach is as robust as you think it is. If you win an award that’s great… because it’s something that you can show the board (perhaps protecting your department’s budgets for the coming year). But if you don’t make the shortlist then it’s an opportunity to ask why, to try and develop a constructive conclusion that will inform future business plans. [Note: When McDonalds was named creative marketer of the year at the Cannes Lions Festival in June 2014, it claimed there is a direct link between award-winning work and effectiveness).
Opening The Door to Opportunities
Winning an Award attracts industry attention and can lead to new work opportunities. It would be wrong to suggest that one Award is life-changing, but there’s no question that successful marketing services companies, brands and rights holders know how to make good use of their Awards track record. There’s no hard science to back it up, but it stands to reason that organisations with numerous notches on their belt will be more likely to be on the pitch list, more likely to start conversations with sponsors, etc.
Monitoring Industry Best Practice
It’s not always easy to be objective on Awards nights, but there is a value in seeing what your rivals have been doing. It can spark fresh ideas, crystallise trends more clearly and give some insight into industry best practice. Like anything in life, it should be regarded as providing a useful learning experience. In the case of the UK Sponsorship Awards, at least 60-70 different sponsorship campaigns are showcased during the course of a single evening.
Awards nights are good fun. So entering Awards is a good way for an agency or consultancy to get some valuable face time with their client. It’s unlikely to result in much deep strategy being discussed, but it is a way of reaffirming a bond and trying to ward off competition for a brief from rivals. Remember, the majority of people attending the Awards are winners and shortlisted organisations, so there’s a mood of success and achievement in the air. Anyone who works in corporate hospitality will also tell you that cutting back on or avoiding event-based activity can present its own problems. Rivals rarely assume that you have cut back for sound marketing reasons. They tend to see it as a sign that something isn’t quite right creatively or financially.
B2B Marketing/Media Coverage
Trade magazines (paper and digital) tend to give good coverage to major awards events. They also sometimes follow up with profiles or analysis stories. At very least, winning an Award is an opportunity for a PR exec to approach a magazine or journalist to tout for coverage. Award entries can also form the basis of case studies that can be displayed on various industry websites. A well-written case study has a lifespan of at least a year, which means it can also do the rounds at various industry events.
REAP THE REWARDS OF YOUR SUCCESS
Winning or being shortlisted for a Sponsorship Award is a fantastic achievement; a huge boost to all who worked on the campaign or within your business. But it’s much more than that – it’s tantamount to proof that your sponsorships work.
In these turbulent financial times, when threats of budget cuts are all around, you need to be able to offer concrete evidence to your board, your clients, employees, stakeholders and prospective sponsors that you know their business and your business inside out and that you have created a sponsorship that ticked all the vital boxes.
If your sponsorship programme was a great success and you can prove it, now is your opportunity to gain the recognition that you and your staff deserve. Ten reasons why should you put your campaign in for a Sponsorship Award:
Convinced? If you need any more persuading, please take a minute to read our testimonials.
"The launch period for the SSE Hydro in 2013 was the culmination of a lot of research and development to create a compelling customer benefit programme to Energise Entertainment through SSE Reward. It meant a huge amount to the team and our agencies that the success of our strategy was endorsed independently by the UK Sponsorship Awards in 2014."
Colin Banks, Head of SSE Hydro, SSE.
“Winning The UK Sponsorship Award was a fantastic justification for looking at a tactical and local amplification of our larger Home Nations partnership, and it was great to receive another plaudit for using a bespoke creative approach for a single day of activity, after the great reaction from Scottish fans on the day.”
Cheryl Stibbs, Vauxhall Sponsorship Marketing Manager
‘We were absolutely thrilled to win two awards and could not ask for a greater accolade from the sponsorship industry in recognition of the education programmes we’ve developed with our clients.’
“Winning the Sponsorship Consultancy of the Year Award in 2014 was an outstanding achievement for Fuse Sport + Entertainment and is recognition of the great strides that we have made in a very short time. We have a fantastic team who work across an increasingly wide range of programmes for some of the top global brands. It is also a huge tribute to our founder, David Pinnington and the team that he created at Fuse.”
Fuse Sport + Entertainment
“We took a risk in doing something that had never been done before, by joining forces with Global Radio & Metro to build Bell’s an association with not just popular culture but pub culture, via the World’s Largest Pub Quiz. We were very pleased with the level of engagement that both consumers and key partners such as Help for Heroes showed during the campaign, but winning The UK Sponsorship Award and gaining such recognition from industry experts has meant it’s both an Award and partnership that we are internally at Diageo very proud of”
‘Winning our first ever UK Sponsorship Award was a huge thrill for SPP Media and our client People’s Friend, and a fantastic way to prove the effectiveness of broadcast sponsorship on sales as well as awareness metrics’
Leigh Alexander, SPP Media
“Winning a UK Sponsorship Award is a superb accolade for any sponsor or its agency. It’s an independent endorsement of your work and makes everyone involved proud of their achievement and provides a huge boost to the whole agency.”
David Peters, Managing Director, The Story Lab
“The Sponsorship Awards are the ‘Oscars ‘ of the sponsorship industry in the UK”
Rob Mason, IMG Consulting International
“We were delighted to receive our first Sponsorship award for our partnership with Philips. Recognition from such a well known sponsorship organisation, as well as the knowledge that industry experts made the final decision, meant we were extremely proud of our award. The evening itself is always a special occasion and we are very much looking forward to the next awards.”
“Winning a Sponsorship Award was credible acknowledgement of our hard work, our creativity and our investment, an appreciated nod from the industry and our peers. For an in-house Communications department, this was independent evidence to the business that our strategy was clever and effective. “
“Winning the Consultancy of the Year Award was a significant boost to Synergy. Not only was it testament to the consultancy’s work, it was a great cause of celebration for everyone working here whose excellence was publicly recognised.”
Karen Earl, former chair of Synergy Sponsorship
“The Sponsorship Awards are one of the highlights of the sponsorship calendar. Being shortlisted in the PR category for our Ashes cricket campaign, and subsequently picking-up the trophy, was a fantastic achievement and something that Betfair is extremely proud of. Not only does the award reflect the hard work that went into activating the partnership, it’s also testament to the fact that the sponsorship was successful in terms of meeting our objectives and delivering a significant ROI.”
“The Sponsorship Awards allow us to benchmark ourselves against best practice within a competitive and creative industry.”
“The winners act as models of good practice for everyone striving to bring the best of the sponsorship market.”
Arts & Business
“Winning seven UK Sponsorship Awards in 2009 was simply amazing – the awards are hugely prestigious. It’s very satisfying to gain that type of recognition from our peers – it gave the whole team a real lift.”
Tove Okunniwa, formerly MEC Access
“Winning a UK Sponsorship Award demonstrates we are definitely doing things right, it provided a real boost for everybody involved in the programme.”