1. Non-sports sponsorship
The most well-known method of sponsorship is towards sport, even though it’s starting to change or at least expand to include other professions as well. Sponsorship (and non-sports sponsorship) has been more and more used since the internet arose and the clear benefits have become even more visible.
An example of a non-sports sponsorship is Google Lunar X Prize, which is a space competition sponsored by Google. “Teams are challenged to launch a robot to the lunar surface and make it operate in it by sending information and images to the Earth. The prize is $20 million for the first team get it done before December 31, 2012. Thereafter, the prize will be 15 million by December 31, 2014.”
Another example of non-sports sponsorships are all the influencers right now (or all the non-sport influencers). By using their social media channels, they receive products, discounts, money from the brands in exchange for referrals, pictures, etc. This is probably one of the trendiest marketing methods right now for brands in the fashion, event and product business.
2. Sponsorship linked to an NGO
The World Bank describes an NGO as “a private organization that pursues activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development” and according to the Business Dictionary, an NGO is a “private sector, voluntary (and usually non-profit and non-sectarian) organization that contributes to, or participates in, cooperation projects, education, training or other humanitarian, progressive, or watchdog activities.”
Many companies/brands that decide to sponsor NGOs see this as a key element of their CSR (corporate social responsibility). Besides the CSR it’s a great way for the companies to improve their image and show the world about their social contributions and responsibilities. It’s not cynical to claim that the main reason they choose to sponsor NGOs are to improve their image and their CSR benefits are just a side effect.
3. Personal sponsorship
Personal sponsorship is when a brand chooses to sponsor and get associated with the image of a public figure. There are many ways to perform a personal sponsorship as well as the fact that there is a lot you may want to get out of it, both from the sponsor and the sponsored.
Besides the clear benefits like improved image, improved public notoriety, etc., there is also a risk for the brand using personal sponsoring. E.g. if the public figure behaves bad or get a bad image it would impair the brands image as well, therefore it is very important to thoroughly research the candidate before initiating any partnership. If there is a history of bad behaving, the risk that it would happen again increases as well as the risk that it could affect the brand negatively.
Patronage is, opposite to sponsorships, a contribution of fund without any expected returns. It is support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that a brand donates to another. The most common patronage is cultural (art, music, etc.).
“Business patronage refers to the monetary contribution or in kind, by way of the business organization, to a non-profit institution, that contributes to carrying their mission out in activities of general interest and with the purpose of reverting part of the profits its obtains back to society.”
An example of patronage in the context of sport is when FC Barcelona choose to donate the best spot on their match kit to UNICEF and instead of receiving any revenues they decided to donate money as well. Even though patronage doesn’t expect to give any ROI, this was a very successful partnership and it improved the image of Barcelona as a successful and humble club. Also, it exposed the values of UNICEF and made it expand to one of the biggest NGOs in the world.