Why Brands Sponsor Drivers

Most teams have a deck with action photos, lists of successes, titles, a schedule of events, and a diagram of the race car with options of where a sponsor’s logo could be placed, depending on the level of investment.

Teams send these decks to everyone with“marketing” in their title, and then wait for a reply that never comes. It happens all the time. The problem with these generic decks is that they offer exposure, instead of showing value.

The only way to show a brand value is by understanding the company’s business and goals. So, when you meet a potential sponsor, listen and don’t talk! Learn everything about them. Find out who their customers are and what they consider value, then think about ways to give them that value through racing.

While all companies are different, those in similar industries share common needs. Food and beverage companies want sampling. Nobody goes to a store and buys groceries they haven’t tried before. To get their attention, explain to food and beverage companies how you’ll get fans and spectators to sample their products.

Retailers want foot traffic into their stores and online shoppers to buy from their websites. Show retailers how you’re going to tell potential customers about locations, hours, exclusive products, specials, and website offerings.

Tool companies want do-it-yourselfers to test their products. Find ways to use your racing to get construction workers and mechanics to try out new tools. Some tool companies also seek entrepreneurs to open franchises. If you send a proposal to Snap-on, explain how you’re going to help them find potential franchisees.

Equipment manufacturers, like LincolnElectric and Miller Welding, want to showcase their products’ functionality.They want amateurs and craftsmen to copy the pros who use their equipment. Use your racing to showcase how their welding equipment helped fabricate your car and mend broken parts.

Service companies, like GEICO, need to explain benefits and offerings. Help these companies educate customers about products and prices. It’s also a good idea to show how your race team will help them acquire leads by collecting spectator contact information at the track.

Aftermarket parts companies like to associate with winners so they can tout that their products helped the team win. Endemic brands prefer to align with racers who are frequently on the podium. As Bob Tasca said, winning on Sunday creates sales on Monday, especially for endemic brands. Your job as a brand ambassador is to generate sales by telling fans that their products contributed to your success.

Clothing, apparel, and accessory companies desire to be fashionable and in style. They want influencers to wear their brands, so fans will copy. But apparel brands must fit their team’s style. Don’t target companies for sponsorship if you don’t already wear or use their products. It’s not authentic when a rancher wears skinny jeans or a New Yorker wears camouflage.

Young companies, like my son’s sock company, Xuxa Socks, want the world to know they exist. This is one segment where exposure can help. Small and new companies need the visibility and benefit from sponsoring teams that help them spread the word. They also need help opening distribution channels. Show how you can create value for young companies by getting them in markets or stores they don’t currently reach.

Mature companies, like Ford andAnheuser-Busch, don’t need exposure or distribution channels—they’re everywhere.Legacy brands sometimes need to bring customers back who may have been lured away by competitors. Sometimes they need activities to keep employees motivated and suppliers happy. Instead of offering exposure, help mature companies stay relevant and use your racing to offer tickets, hospitality, and fun experiences that their employees and suppliers can’t get elsewhere.

How you approach a potential sponsor depends on the type of company it is. Don’t send a deck selling exposure to a company everyone knows, and don’t send a proposal when you should send a deck instead.There’s a big difference between decks and proposals. Decks get them interested and proposals close the deal.

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