Jul 21, 2009 at 09:54 PM
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What Happens When Peer Properties Collab to Cross-Sell?

Charities and local sports properties are a natural fit for sharing and cross-selling benefits as evidenced by the fact that virtually every sports property as some sort of charity affiliation. The importance of their collaboration was never more apparent than when a Performance Research study recently revealed that 41% of consumers believe sponsorships of nonprofits should increase to raise opinions of corporate America. Some took this study as a victory for cause marketing and an indictment of sports sponsorship. In reality it showed us that, while causes may now have more leverage in dealing with sports properties (and their sponsors), both parties need each other more than ever. Sports organizations offer the media to fuel awareness of important causes within the community and causes lend critical goodwill capital to sports properties. Together, they have the potential to impact the community's eyes - and hearts.

Today, Lollapalooza announced a pro-bono partnership of sorts.. we think. In an effort to support Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, Lollapalooza has named one of its two presenting stages as the Chicago 2016 stage.

It's not explicitly clear what, if anything, the organizer, C3, will be getting in return from the organizing committee. Would it be naive to think of this as a truly pro-bono partnership or will C3 have a conscious or unconscious leg up in staging Olympic events if and when it comes time? We don't know. According to wikipedia, pro-bono means this:

Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning "for the public good". The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms.

All of this got us to thinking, could other genres of sponsorship work with their peer properties in a way similar to that of how causes and sports properties traditionally link up? Perhaps among peer properties in a similar location, among similar audiences, a thematic similarity or a number of other different ways. Agencies research and source opportunities that have similar characteristics relating to a common campaign, should properties be thinking about ways that they can pitch in a similar way? A shared association in some cases creates a more powerful impact for all parties. Mind you, we're not suggesting properties shortcut customization, but rather seek to, where appropriate, identify new ways of collaboratively adding value to their pitch. As with a partnership of any kind, one thing to consider is the additional risk exposure you might take on. Should something unfortunate happen on the Chicago 2016 stage, the bid's image could be tarnished by association.

Nevertheless, we throw out the question: is there a scenario where peer properties could partner up to further entice potential partners and make their sponsorship dollars work a little harder? When done right, is this a 1+1=3 scenario in your opinion?