A common question many sponsors ask is exactly how should they brief an agency to measure sponsorship ROI? Preparing a research brief often is a challenge for many Sponsorship Managers. Often it is overlooked, given little thought and rushed through to meet a deadline. In many instances, there is actually not a good example of a research brief available for reference or as a basis for developing a good brief for a specific project. This paper has the specific objective of providing some basic guidelines to writing an effective sponsorship research brief.
Step 1 - Background
All research briefs need a background for the agency. A brief should outline the nature of the sponsorship, the role that the sponsorship plays for the sponsor, information about the sponsorship property and the target audience itself. Additional information on the sponsorship activation is also highly useful in so far as assisting an agency better measure how the sponsorship is impacting.
In terms of length, there is not a definite rule but on average 250-300 words is fairly average.
Step 2 - Business Objective(s)
This is where you should set-up the primary business objective of the sponsorship for the sponsor. These are the primary commercial objectives of undertaking the sponsorship investment in the first-place. Importantly, what the sponsor is seeking to gain from the sponsorship. For example, they could involve some of the following:
o To increase brand awareness
o To strengthen brand positioning on the key attributes of technology leader, global, premium and widely available.
o To increase sales by at least 5% for the period of the sponsorship;
o To increase brand consideration from 18% to 30% with the target audience for the sponsorship.
These are just a few examples.
Again, the focus of re-stating the business objectives is to ensure that the research results very much address the core business case when results are made available.
Step 3- Research objectives
Research objectives are written with focus on measurement of key criteria that relates to the original business objectives. They are key objectives an agency will use to construct a research project methodology for the research to be conducted.
Examples of research objectives derived from business objectives:
Business objective: To increase sponsorship awareness by 5%
Research objective: To measure spontaneous and prompted sponsorship awareness
Business objective: To strengthen brand positioning on the key attributes of innovator, global, premium and widely available.
Research objective: To measure key brand image attributes of innovator, global, premium and widely available
Business objective: To increase brand disposition with 30% of the target market that are passionate about (the sponsorship property)
Research objective: To measure purchase intent and advocacy
Business objective: To increase sales by at least 5% during the period of the sponsorship
Research objective: To measure sales pre and post the event using a combination of sales and consumer research data to isolate the impact of the sponsorship.
Step 4 - Action Standards
Why is the research being conducted? What decisions are likely to be made if the research results are favourable, or for that matter not favourable. It is best practise to actually articulate what forms a decision-making basis prior to conducting research or obtaining the results
For example, with the sales objective, we might say that the research needs to establish that the sponsorship delivered a 5% increase in sales for the sponsorship to continue.
In the case of consumer research results, we might state that we need brand disposition (purchase intent & advocacy) to increase at a statistically significant level for 30% of the target market identified as those passionate about the sponsorship property.
Step 5 - Methodology
If the sponsorship manager has an idea about the type of work they would like to undertake, then in this section they can point out some options. For example, they might want to conduct event research, tracking research, pre-testing or broadcast research. In this section they generally outline the target audience for the research itself.
Step 6 - Budget
This is not always something that is provided in research briefs but on the most part it is helpful for all parties concerned. If the sponsor would like competitive bids then there is no reason why stating the budget would adversely effect the process. For an agency preparing a proposal it certainly helps ensure that the research design considered is more likely to be within the realm of consideration rather than under-designing or over-designing a research project.
Overall, a good sponsorship research brief greatly assists measurement of sponsorship effectiveness. Objectives are clearly stated both in research and business terms and secondly there is much greater agreement about what constitutes a successful sponsorship strategy in the first place.
Pre written Research Papers