Importance of Companies & Brands Making Strong “Connections” With Consumers and How Simple & Precise Sponsorships Can Make That Happen – Pete Edwards of The Engine Group Has Story and Great Advice

By Paul Birdwell (

If there is one thing we hear over and over again from the companies we are pitching sponsorships to and then working with to successfully implement event sponsorship partnerships it is how important that the company and brand connect directly to the consumers it is trying to reach with their sponsorship investment.

Chief Strategy Officer for the advertising agency The Engine Group, Pete Edwards, recently posted on the Synergy Blog a terrific treatise on the entire brand “connection” issue titled:

Only Connect:  Sponsorship and Connections Planning, Pete Edwards, Synergy Blog

“I love this brand, I’ll buy this brand, I’ll tell others how great this brand is…

Ensuring that consumers have a positive opinion of their brand is an essential part of a marketer’s job. ‘Connecting’ consumers with brands in positive and meaningful ways is vital. What value the experience a fan has from meeting his sporting hero courtesy of brand x’s facilitation? To borrow Mastercard’s line; ‘Priceless’…

Which explains in part why ‘Connections Planning’ has become so popular in modern marketing departments. What is the best way for brands to ‘connect’? Where should my brand be, what should it say, what type of behaviors should it exhibit?

But what are the golden rules to successful connections planning? Is there a connections Silver Bullet, a one size fits all approach? What types of connections work best? And what is the role of sponsorship in all this?

One school of thought advocates that in a digital and data driven world, great brand connections come from personalization. The more we know about customers, the more targeted our communications can be. One-to-one, personalized, sniper-like interventions. Personalized messages, served to tiny groups of individuals, hitting consumers at the appropriate time, place, weather or even mood. Hence programmatic buying, demand-side platforms, real-time bidding and the like. The assumption is that pin-point targeting delivers the holy grail or marketing ROI. In sponsorship circles, this places much emphasis on personalized activation, pre-event, live and afterwards.

But does ‘connecting’ only mean personalized and precise – can connecting in a meaningful way still take place at a mass or blanket level, and does it have the same value? Where a recipient of a message knows that what they are receiving and experiencing is the same as Mike next door, Manuel in Spain or Minal in India. What’s the value of this delivery?

As sophisticated and individual as we like to think we are, we are still instinctively and inherently gregarious, group animals that desire the acknowledgement that one is not alone. In this case, the recipient is connected to the millions of others round the world simultaneously consuming the same content/event; they are part of an interest group, like-minded and joined, fulfilling a simple human need to be ‘part of something’. In this situation, a message that simply drives awareness and recognition of a brand to millions, simultaneously, has as much virtue given the right circumstances.”

Translation of what Pete Edwards wrote above:  A Simple and Precise Message Can Very Successfully Drive Brand Awareness to Millions of People

Case In Point:  The recent deal by Levi’s to secure naming rights of the new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers football team which will drive the Levi’s brand for a decades to come as football and many other events are held at the stadium with each time the name…

“Levi’s Stadium”

….being mentioned prominently by any all media outlets covering events at the stadium.

(Levi’s Stadium:  49ers’ new Santa Clara home gets a name in $220 million deal, Mike Rosenberg, San Jose Mercury News)

Pete Edwards goes on in his blog post to detail what companies should be directly focused on as they battle for a spot in the minds of consumers with their marketing, advertising and yes even…..sponsorship Dollars:

“Without doubt the source of enlightenment will always come from the consumer and the brand’s current and desired position and role in that consumer’s life. Clients attempting to unpick the ‘connections’ question are using ever more sophisticated and, crucially, integrated digital and social methods. But the basic questions still hold true:

Who are we trying to connect with? – a deep attitudinal and behavioral understanding of the audience – using technology and, in particular, social to inform the view of the customer.

What is the market context, where does the brand fit in?

What does the brand need to say? – the key brand messages required to create desire.

And, finally, connections are not fixed. Be prepared to be flexible and adaptive on how and what to do – listen and change dynamically; great connections change and evolve as fast as those consumers the brands are trying to reach.”

That is just Brilliant and Precise Language by Pete Edwards on exactly who and what companies should have their focus on when trying to drive brand awareness in the marketplace!

“Who are we trying to connect with?”

“What is the market context, where does the brand fit in?”

“What does the brand need to say?”

Now we here at the Roaring Fork Agency are off to incorporate Pete Edwards’ ideas into our next sponsorship pitch!  Thanks Pete!

The Engine Group -

Pete Edwards' LinkedIn Profile -

Synergy Sponsorship Blog -

Levi's Stadium -

If you have any questions about event sponsorship or venue naming rights contact the Roaring Fork Agency at:

San Francisco, California – 415 730 – 4854

Seattle, Washington – 206 940 – 3934

Bend, Oregon – 541 640 – 2221

Twitter - @RoaringForkAgcy