In part one we already established some important details: Sponsors don’t care much for results, and what they pay for is exposure. Of cause, most of the time winning comes with some added exposure, but because sim racing is in its infancy as a sport, the reach and exposure gained from winning are still minimal.
We will talk more about how to build reach and exposure, but now we will focus on getting ready to handle, control and build that exposure. Remember the six steps?
- Define your values
- Select you audience
- Make your value proposition
- Chose your platforms and media
- Build an audience
- Keep going, never give up
Why define your values and how?
Sponsors look for branding. Did you know originally branding is the act of burning the farmer’s logo or initials into the skin of farm animals, for the benefit of allowing the animals to roam freely? It also seems to have somewhat lost its original meaning in marketing and is commonly reduced to the act of putting company logos on merchandise.
In marketing, it used to mean the act of building associations between products and activities, opinions and lifestyles. The goal of branding is to build an extra perceived value on top of the actual value of the product. When customers buy well-branded products they do not only pay for the product but pay extra to own a product with a specific perceived value, which most people agree says something about the owner’s personality. Companies that do this really well include RedBull, Apple, Disney, Mercedes, Coca-Cola and Louis Vuitton. We all think of a specific kind of people who share specific traits and values when we think of the people who buy the products of these companies. Most companies will usually have clearly defined or at least a sense of brand values that they want to signal and associate with to build extra profit from specific added perceived value.
To make it easier for you to find the best fitting sponsors, you should look for ones that have opinions and values aligned with your own. To do that you must clearly define what your principle values are.
What are your values?
When helping people in online advertising I find it easier to get specific by firstly defining what you are definitely not. The only caveat here is not being too banal and starting with things that are implicit, like racism, sexism etc. No sane person is a racist or sexist and you don’t need to define that. It’s implicit.
- I’m not cheating – I love a challenge
- I’m not giving up – I am persistent
- I’m not racing alone – I am social
- I’m not a talented driver – I am an engineering driver
I’ll try to describe my own approach to sim racing. I never give up, and I never retire from a race unless it is technically impossible to continue. I try to be as well prepared as I possibly can. I love the technical engineering side of racing. And I love the social interaction of cooperation on training and developing setups with friends and teammates and I love helping others. I put numbers, math and physics over feelings and opinions and I use math and logic processes to deduce the facts from feelings and opinions. So it wouldn’t be wrong to define my values as:
- Logic and data-driven
- Social and friendship
- Well prepared
These four are OK. But when we get down to the nitty-gritty, what makes me different from other people? What are those values and opinions that truly make me? I believe in conservative family values and I’m a liberal who believes strongly in personal freedom and responsibility and taking responsibility for others as well. And I believe in treating animals, the environment and the planet with respect. Those values are part of my personality and will shine through whenever I communicate openly and freely. So gotta include those as well.
Those are values that I can identify with. And I can now use those values in my pitch material when engaging with potential sponsors. You can do the same for yourself or your team and use the values to compare your fit with the brand values of various companies.
In a pitch, I would list the values and tie them together with some description of how they reflect on my sim racing.
Both on finding your brand values and company values there are great materials available online. Especially if you are a team and need to discuss and agree on a set of values, online help and inspiration could be needed.
Finding companies that match
I find this rather silly, but most of the time the brand values or company values can be hard to find. I have resorted to using search engines a LOT.
Although it does look a little messy right now and the end goal isn’t clear, that is it for this part. And don’t worry, this series will end up with a nice pitch presentation template, that you can use. The next part will focus on using values and target audience to help you define your team or personal brand even further.
If you missed part one, it is right here: https://gtr24h.org/blog/how-to-attract-and-get-sponsors-part-1/