Wag The Dog

Savvy sports sponsorship buyers already know that in most circumstances sponsorship performs best when evaluated over the long-term and when it features "ownership" of a distinctive piece of the action. For instance, having an in-game feature is more effective, dollar for dollar, than being in the middle of the :30 spot parade.

Add to this a relatively new strategy: Adding foreign language rights to a general sponsorship. If the sponsorship being considered is official status with one of the stick and ball sports, let's say MLB, it would be smart to enlarge that sponsorship domain to include Latino, Asian or even all foreign language rights.

At this point in the evolutionary process most properties are relatively unsophisticated when it comes to the concepts and techniques of multicultural marketing. In their minds, it is a strange beast, nebulous and of uncertain value. Many times this mindset has its origins in arrogance or ignorance. Even worse, it is sometimes the result of stubbornness or being just plain cheap. Ever unwilling to invest in things that are new, and instead paying and then hoping for miracles from a player long past his glory days. Research is viewed as a frivolous luxury or an affront to the highly prized gut instinct.

At the other extreme are numerous companies who understand that research is the key to new sales. A good example is good ol' P&G, which long ago realized that the new general market is today's emerging multicultural market. It has institutionalized this knowledge and woven it into every aspect of its corporate culture, from hiring to packaging to community outreach and media mix.

Here are some helpful tips:

Extend Your Rights: Most letter agreements only describe the specific elements in a package and generally ignore the language issue. By being heads-up, a minor negotiating point can turn into a huge advantage down the road and in the short term.

Pay With Research: There are many forms of currency and greenbacks are just one form. When it comes to negotiating price offer to use your research and knowledge of multicultural markets as part of a cost offset.

Foreign Language Co-op Advertising: Just because the property is too myopic or cheap to invest in foreign language media doesn't mean that you can't include them or the overarching metaphor in your own foreign language media buys. Do it in the form of an advertorial, and build it around the property.

Leverage Your Media Savvy: It is surprising -- shocking really -- that many teams don't recognize the importance of print advertising in the Latino community. Quite often these publications are the lifelines of the people. Share your knowledge of making smart media buys.

Hire Foreign Players as your Spokespersons: For every Derek Jeter there are probably 10 Spanish-speaking players who will attract and inspire far more Spanish-speaking people. Because their command of the English language is sometimes mediocre at best, their endorsement possibilities are limited. Understand this dynamic, hire the heroes of the people and you will win the hearts of his countrymen.

Chances are that when you combine the multicultural marketing aptitude throughout your company, it will be quite substantial. Make the most of this knowledge to advance the brand's agenda and wag the dog instead of it biting you at the negotiating table. ,

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