Sponsoring a conference or event often comes with the promise of elevated brand awareness via the traditional approach of displaying a company’s logo and messaging in high-trafficked areas of the venue. However, Bruce Rosenthal, corporate partnership and sponsorship consultant, has a pretty big problem with all that signage: No one actually sees it.
“Members tend to walk right by them,” Rosenthal said in the PCMA webinar “Balancing Educational Content & Fulfilling Sponsor Expectations,” sponsored by Digitell. “I’ve often wondered if you took that sign board in the lobby of the convention center and put one of the logos upside down if anybody would notice. My guess is there is only one person who would, and that’s your corporate partner. Your attendees would probably never even notice if the logo was out of place.”
What will capture your attendees’ attention? Giving them something they need. That’s what Brooke Passy, CMP, meeting manager at Association Headquarters, has been doing with the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society’s (WOCN) annual conference. Since 2011, WOCN has partnered with medical product manufacturer Hollister Incorporated to offer Library Pass, a physical card with a code that gives registered attendees access to all the educational content from the organization’s annual event, which unveiled its rebranding to WOCNext at this year’s Nashville conference. The code is shareable, too, giving two colleagues per pass holder the ability to watch all those sessions. Nearly a decade after handing out that first card, it still resonates.
“The first year we did it, [Hollister] set up a booth where they could pick up their pass, and they were swamped,” Passy said in the webinar. “Even to this day, eight years later, we’re like ‘Are we still producing a pass?’ And Hollister says, ‘Absolutely.’”
“There is something about that goodwill and that access to information that [attendees] connect with a physical card,” Passy added. “And the fact that they can share it with their colleagues is the other piece that everybody loves.”
While on-site attendees see Hollister’s name on that card as a regular reminder of the sponsorship throughout the year, the company is also connecting with remote attendees due to the company’s sponsorship of the live-streamed program. That type of sponsorship can be a bit harder to measure. Since on-site attendees have to stop by the Hollister booth to pick up their card, they can gain an immediate sense of whether the investment is having an impact. To help the company understand what the live-stream sponsorship means, Passy recently added two questions to her attendee survey.
- Is the live-streaming education beneficial to your practice? (100 percent said yes).
- Is it recognizable who supports the program? (94 percent said yes).
“We’re able to reinforce for Hollister and provide them with an ROI for their colleagues to show that this is working,” Passy said. “It’s proof that it’s not just their logo on a piece of paper but [it’s delivered] in a way where people are getting education, and they know it’s coming from them.”
Find other helpful information on creating win-win packages for your sponsors and your attendees by watching the entire “Balancing Educational Content & Fulfilling Sponsor Expectations” webinar.
David McMillin is an associate editor at Convene.