If you are going to put the effort into forging a meaningful content partnership, it makes sense to make it as successful as possible. Here are some golden rules to follow...
Talk to the broadcasters
The key to a successful content partnership is successful collaboration. The TV broadcasters are incredibly flexible and will work closely with brands to tailor a solution that delivers exactly what they need. They welcome a proper brief but give them time to respond properly.
Choose well. The TV content a brand chooses to rub shoulders with says a lot about it so it is crucial to make sure it’s saying the right things and that the fit is spot on. Remember that the association is the communication.
Activate and integrate
To make the most of a partnership, a brand should integrate it into as much other marketing activity as possible. It can form a hub for through-the-line activity; brands should activate the association in any way they can: in-store, online, on-pack, through events, PR, internal communications…
Your ongoing brand research may not be suitable for assessing the contribution of a specific content partnership. Ideally, design and institute a tailor-made research study well enough in advance to understand the pre-activity metrics. If it is a long-term partnership, research will help to refine the partnership to deliver a better performance.
Respect the viewer
Viewers are very passionate about their TV programmes and the beauty of content partnerships is that brands can tap into this relationship. However, viewers can also be protective of their passions and if a brand appears disrespectful it will go down badly. Content partnerships should not breed discontent. Particular care needs to be taken in drama sponsorships in the ‘end of part’ bumpers, when the preceding action is likely to have finished on a tense moment.
Most TV programmes take a while to commission and make, so brands wanting to get closer to them need to bear this in mind. Also, if a brand is considering activity around a content partnership – such as an on-pack promotion – these need to be planned well in advance too.
Sponsorship idents in particular have to stand a lot of repetition so they need to be high-quality creative with plenty of varied executions which bear repeat viewing. Although it is legal to include various elements from your spot advertising you shouldn’t approach them as if they were ads. If it is a long-running sponsorship invest in creative refreshment every season.
Enjoy the journey
Many of the marketing directors we have spoken to about the TV content partnerships they have been involved in have absolutely loved their experiences: whether it’s the getting involved with great content, the cast and the collaborative process, or using the relationship to drive internal team motivation, or just the new learning and occasional improvising, it’s a different and often more personally involving experience that spot advertising. So it can be great fun to do as well as a powerful thing for your brand to get involved with.