Becoming Social: Sponsor Activation & Transparency

With the emergence of social media into mainstream culture, sponsorship rightsholders are increasingly integrating social media benefits into sponsor packages.  This allows rightsholders to raise the value of their packages while engaging a sponsor’s targeted audience in a unique and relevant manner to support their efforts to promote awareness, affiliation, loyalty and sales.

Take the world of sports for example.  Teams, sporting events and even individual athletes are embracing socialisation.  The London 2012 Olympics has been dubbed the ‘Socialympics’ with social media playing a huge role for sponsors engaging with consumers through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  Olympic athletes embraced social media in a similar fashion too providing a more intimate connection with the sport and creating loyal communities.  These communities provided opportunities for rightsholders to directly engage, share meaningful content, as well as to observe and to learn.

As rightsholders and sponsors increasingly work together on social media activation, I believe that it is important that both parties share mutual understanding with regards to transparency.  Transparency has been well documented by social media experts over the years and as Elissa Nauful clearly articulates, ‘transparency is a fundamental part to most successful social media connections and campaigns’.  It illustrates an openness and creates authenticity and credibility.

The acceptable degree of transparency in social media is debatable and John Cass provides excellent discussion around this topic.  I for one believe that honesty is the best policy but that at the most basic level, common sense needs to play a role and draw a line at confidential information, trade secrets and personal details.  As for brands working in partnership across social media, I suggest that rightsholders and sponsors proactively discuss one another’s philosophies on transparency to support the development of a long and prosperous partnership.

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