We just wrapped up our activations on behalf of Tuborg Beer for their event sponsorship of Mingalabar! Festival. We try to stay modest but we are very proud of what we were able to pull off; we really do believe that we are the best event marketing agency in Myanmar. Anyway, it got us thinking about what it is that makes some sponsorship opportunities work so well while most seem to fall flat and provide little ROI. There’s a quote that we like a lot that sums up our conclusion nicely:
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”
– Chinese Proverb
So there are three options: tell, show, and involve. What most sponsors tend to do – and this is worldwide but especially so in Myanmar event sponsorship – is the first one, tell. What this basically means is slapping a brand’s name and logo as big as they can get away with on as many surfaces as they can get the event organizers to allow. It is the easiest way but definitely not the most effective. It lacks creativity, involves no strategy, and simply does nothing to set a brand apart from everyone else doing the same thing.
The second option from the Chinese proverb is to show. In event sponsorship this is a step above just slapping a name and logo anywhere a brand can. Showing could be giving free samples, having products on display, and doing demonstrations. There’s at least something to draw people in, and as the quote says, they may remember. But a sponsor paying a lot of money to participate in an event should be aiming for more than may remember.
What we do is to involve the public in our activations at events. Consumers today block or tune out most traditional advertising, so it’s up to brands to create content and experiences that people want to engage with. We view Myanmar event sponsorship opportunities not as a canvas to paint our client’s name as big as we can, but as a venue where we can engage consumers with experiences that provide them with real value.
At Mingalabar! Festival we were working under the Tuborg campaign of Find Your Fun, so obviously the value we wanted to provide consumers was a fun time. We also wanted to tie in with the festival’s principles of creative self expression and making Yangon yours. And lastly we needed to connect with Tuborg’s brand personality as a beer that values open-mindedness, art, culture, rock and roll, and good times.
Without presenting a full on case study here, we’ll say that we had three activities including one that allowed people to easily share cool bullet time videos to their Facebook. We had a lot of restrictions on where and how we could sell beer but we took the challenge as an opportunity and created a bar that was covered by a branded seating area for festival VIPs. We leveraged a current brand ambassador and worked with new ones to create a Facebook video of them experiencing the festival – a valuable piece of content marketing in a country where traditional alcohol ads are banned. And of course we had a full schedule of social media posts pre, during and post festival.
People finding their fun at Tuborg’s Mingalbar! Festival activations
Event sponsorship is a great opportunity for brands to connect with targeted audiences, and that is especially important in Myanmar. But it takes more than just slapping a logo anywhere you can and maybe giving out a few free samples. Event marketing needs to be experiential, it needs to create real connections that will leave an impression on consumers and create ripples that travel outward over social media. It is not enough to simply tell, or even to show. Brands must involve people. Their business and their loyalty will come easily after that.