Sunday, January 13, 2008

Focus on Event Sponsorships

PR professors across the country joke about the fact that every freshman female they encounter wants to go into "event planning." I suspect that movies like "The Wedding Planner", the increasing use of events by PR firms, and the ability of Facebook to spread info to young people rapidly has created this influx of interest in doing events as a career.

Of course, we have to tell them that there are many types of events, that you still need a wide range of PR skills---including writing--to ably handle events, and that you might not be able to or want to focus on planning events for your entire career.

On that latter point, we may be wrong.

Witness an article in Business Review about a new firm--8 Point Promotions--started by Pat Driscoll, the former head of marketing for the Muskegon Summer Celebration. Driscoll's agency will focus on the sponsorship aspect of events, ensuring that both the event host and the various sponsors see ROI for their efforts. The article is a recap of his presentation to the Ad Club recently.

Driscoll (who spoke about event sponsorship and seeking sponsors in one of my classes several years ago) may be on to something. Not only is this a niche area for an agency to capture, he could be a worthy partner with Ad and PR firms, even those that specialize in events, when it comes to the sponsorship aspect. He could handle one of the more challenging aspects of event planning, allowing firms to focus on other aspects of the event. It also provides a great service to area companies who might consider sponsorship as part of their social branding. Sponsors often want to see new business from these events, as well as demonstrate their commitment to a cause or community. But doing both without looking cheezy can be a trick. An agency making sure the nature of the event and the core business of a sponsor are related could be a nice service.

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