Large national brands are investing more finances in local Canadian sponsorship every day. Brands such as Tim Hortons, BMO and Old Dutch understand that reaching out to the community really does pay dividends when it comes to their reputation and it only makes sense from a business standpoint to give back to those who purchase your products when you have the funds to do it. So what does it take to make a program build a success community program? According to Ron Caughlin of Boardroom Metrics, “It starts with a clear understanding of what motivates your core audience at an emotional level.” “This means a three sixty approach to researching on how to connect at personal level with the brand. Test the program using qualitative methods and re-test after you have implemented the changes to see what affect you had on the brand.”
Tim Hortons Timbit Sports Program
Tim Hortons, for example, has a long standing program known as the Timbits Sports Program, which is a community-oriented sponsorship program for children four to eight years old who participate in local house league sports teams. The program’s philosophy is not based on winning or losing – but on learning a new sport, making new friends, and just taking time out to be a kid. Tim Hortons sponsors over 200,000 children annually through the program in sports such as hockey, soccer, lacrosse, t-ball, baseball and ringette across Canada and in the United States.
Bank Of Montreal – Ultimate Fan Appreciation Nights
In February, BMO – as the official bank of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and its member leagues and teams – held a series of Ultimate Fan Appreciation Nights in 40 CHL hometowns during the 2012/2013 season. Each team encouraged fans to attend a BMO Ultimate Fan Appreciation Night during their local hockey game and show their fan spirit by dressing up in their team’s colours, jerseys and costumes. One fan was recognized at each event as their local team’s BMO Ultimate Fan and entered for a chance to win the grand prize. Three winners were announced in February and each of them won a trip for two to the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This is an outstanding way of not only giving back to the community, but developing community interaction in order to win a spectacular prize.
Old Dutch – Junior Blade Program
Finally, the Saskatoon Blades of the CHL are currently running an amazing community program called the Junior Blade, sponsored by Old Dutch potato chips. The program is catered to kids who play hockey. They can earn the chance to feel like a Saskatoon Blade for a night and experience what the players feel when they hit the ice before each game. If selected, kids will receive:
- 4 tickets to the game where you will be the Old Dutch Junior Blade
- A chance to lace up their skates with the entire team and enter the ice surface with the starting line-up
- An opportunity to stand on the blue line before the start of the game during the singing of the National Anthem
- Their name announced and picture displayed on the Blades Jumbotron for all of their friends and family to see
Contestants can stop by their nearest Mac’s store location to enter their names. The program is a great example of a small-market sports franchise catering to local fans and their children to keep them involved with the team for the foreseeable future. The program also breathes community. The Blades know that the majority of the contestants entering this contest will be fans of their team and this contest is a way to give back to their community as a thank you of sorts to their adoring fan base.
Canadian Sponsorship Forum Showcases Community Sponsorship
Saskatoon will also be the host of this year’s Canadian Sponsorship Forum (CSF) and Memorial Cup. This year’s forum will feature the theme of building community, looking at events and ideas similar to that of the Junior Blade program. The event will take place from May 24-26 at the Radisson Hotel Saskatoon and will feature an abundance of guest speakers, networking possibilities, workshops, roundtable discussions and more. For more details about the CSF, you can visit their website at http://www.canadiansponsorshipforum.com or check out the video below: