Some sponsorship situations can be downright scary or spooky. Make sure you're not dressing up and taking on the behavior of these characters.
- Sponsorship Drillers. Some sponsorship sellers' and fundraisers' behavior is akin to slurping up dollars, like a giant vacuum, or natural gas drilling machinery. Sellers drill, insert piping, then frack the hard shale core of the corporate sector, pumping up all the dollars they can find in the pockets and spaces under the core before moving on to other sites. It seems exhausting, thankless, and only temporarily satisfying. The antidote is building meaningful relationships, based on trust, and co-creating for the long-term.
- Phantom sponsors. If you're going to invest in sponsorship, do so 100%. Don't become a phantom. I was in Brussels last week and came upon these two phantom situations. Nissan apparently sponsored a conference at the Royal Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Mercedes-Benz sponsored an art event at a hotel. It does no good to just park a car and a banner outside a building and become a phantom.
- Sponsorship ghosts. You find these characters on both the buying or selling side of the table. You start or develop a relationship, and then your contact disappears, vaporizes, only to be returned to the table after an elaborate seance, if at all. Don't become a ghost. Clue your partner in before they have to call Ghostbusters. If you're not interested, say "no." If you're busy or go on vacation in the middle of your work together on your actual sponsorship plans, let the other know that and how you'll meet the deadlines. Communicate proactively, respond in a reasonable amount of time to emails and calls, and be a good partner.
- Ghouls. Sometimes people who seem to have issues around control and trust suddently become ghouls, eating your flesh alive. OK, that's a bit of an exageration. But they do consume a lot of your energy. These are the people on the sponsor side who suddenly become unreasonable or begin negotiating new terms to the deal onsite at the envet. Or they are the never-satisfied changing the rules as they go along. On the property side, they are the people who never quite nail things down or fail to deliver. Deal with your issues, and don't let them play out with in your business dealings.
- The costumed. On all sides, there are always those in costumes. Fake, plastic, schmoozing, adding little to the conversation, but always somewhere holding up the process. They are found on the sponsor side, on the property side, and they are sometimes brokers or at agencies.
Have you met any other spooky, scary characters in your sponsorship activities?