Successful partnerships, in our view, are not just transactions but true collaborations. They should be developed creatively, strategically, and always with art at the core of the partnership. Moreover, they should be bespoke, generous, and ethical, seamlessly integrated across your organisation with clear brand alignment. This holistic approach instills confidence and pride in the relationship.
Here are some key takeaways from our series of presentations on corporate partnerships with the arts.
- What does a sponsor look for?
Make sure you take into consideration what a sponsor might be looking for. Think about the following; Your organisation’s audience - who are they? What’s the demographic? Look at your reach and engagement, think about what might be interesting to a sponsor?
How can that brand add value to a partnership? What do they offer you that might make the partnership even more exciting?
Look at partnerships that have been successful in your organisation, what’s worked for partners and what have been the challenges? It’s also always worth looking at peers in your sector and the partnerships that they have, look at what excites you and why.
Ensure you fully understand your programme, project, exhibition or show you are seeking support for, as well as the list assets that you would incorporate into partnership eg; branding opportunities, tickets and hospitality, content, CSR.
Analyse the benefits and their value so that you know your worth and what you’re willing to incorporate into your partnership.
- Narrative arc and storytelling
Think about the story and how you’re selling the concept to the potential partner. What's the angle for them, how can they creatively be involved in this partnership and what is the wider vision here, remember to get them excited about coming on this journey with you!
- When is a non-financial partner not valuable?
First and foremost, If the in-kind partnership doesn’t directly save you money from your budget then you need to rethink if this partnership is worth the value
Will the time and resources taken to deliver the benefits to your non-financial partner balance with the money you're saving from the budget?
If they hadn’t approached you would your organisation’s project need them? Be sure your brands feel aligned, take for example a drinks brand, the right drinks brands can elevate an event but the wrong one can feel disingenuous and tacky.
Can their expertise particularly in the digital space help support your project? What can they offer you that you can’t get from your own organisation?. If they are onboard as an event partner, then look at how they can elevate the event aside from the product they are giving.
Take a look at successful non-financial partnerships to see what they brought to the table. Did they support marketing and help you reach new audiences and amplify your project, show or exhibition?
Once you have developed your sponsorship proposal, firstly look through any of your warm and hot leads to see if now might be a good time to reconnect and share the proposal with them. Look at the top sponsorship categories across sectors including, arts and entertainment and sport. Make a note of any emerging categories and see if any of those brands could make for an interesting partner. Take inspiration from marketing and advertising campaigns on the tube, train, social media and television to see who might be launching products or what audiences they might be reaching, think about how this could tie into your partnership and how you might be able to help.
Make you sure you do your research when emailing and making contact with brands. Everyone wants to feel special and brands will be more likely to reply / meet with you if they feel you have taken the time to get to know their product, brand and tone of voice. Use Google news and tradepress websites like The Drum / PR Week to help you with your research. Remember these brands receive hundreds of emails so make your email stand out.
Explore how you can make your emails short, snappy and full of personality, how you can channel your organisation's tone of voice into the email and approach so that the brand will be biting their hands off to meet you! Make sure you don’t just talk about how great you are and how great your organisation is, balance the approach so that it acknowledges the brand but also draw a connection with your project and why this brand would be the perfect partner.
Crafting successful corporate partnerships in the arts requires dedication, creativity, and a deep understanding of your organisation's assets and values. By following these tips and tricks, you can pave the way for fruitful collaborations that benefit both parties and contribute to the continued growth of the arts and culture sector.
Written by Rebecca Kendall and Ellie Mayes, Rosendale Partnerships