Today, the 4th of May 2022, Mukuru announced a shirt sleeve sponsorship deal with EPL team Crystal Palace for the 2022/23 season. Mukuru has also announced a sponsorship deal with Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira, the former iconic Springbok. For some of you who might not know, Mukuru was founded by Zimbabwean Rob Burrell. Be sure to check out an entrepreneur profile of him I did a while back. Our discussion today, based on these recent developments is, why businesses or startups should be sponsors. Even from sponsoring smaller things, why is it important?

Business Or Startup Sponsorships

There are countless ways through which businesses or startups can sponsor worthy causes. One of the guiding principles is so long that what is being sponsored aligns with what an enterprise stands for. They can sponsor materially or financially. The kind of initiatives to sponsor can be events, tournaments, charity, campaigns, and so on. They can also choose to specifically sponsor personalities e.g. sportspersons, music artists, and the like. This is usually done with a bigger picture in mind. Generally, it is all about pursuing a certain business or startup goal. To better understand why to let me share with you it is a good idea for businesses or startups to be sponsors.

Boosting Brand Authority, Visibility And Reputation

Competition is a common scenario for almost all businesses or startups. For them to stand out they must have a superior brand authority. Brand authority is defined as the extent of how trusted a brand is by customers including the extent to which they regard it as an expert. There are of course many strategies that can be employed to boost brand authority. Becoming a sponsor happens to be one of the most effective. Once your brand authority is solid you easily stand out from your competitors.

Enterprises usually sponsor causes that are dear to many people. A good example is Mukuru as highlighted earlier. The idea is to build or enhance positivity in customers’ perceptions of your brand. It is more like, if you care about what we care about then we will care about you. Given that there will be a broad and diverse reach of people involved, your brand awareness will surge. You will constantly be in the line of sight of many people – your prospective customers. It is even remarkable in that it can be more cost-effective yet far-reaching than other marketing strategies.

Consider the Mukuru example; their sponsorship package will result in an effortless global reach. The result is they will experience more conversions, leading to increased profitability. Being able to sponsor something as a brand also boosts your reputation. One, it communicates that you have what it takes financially meaning your enterprise is performing well. Two, it shows you are legit and reputable since if you were not you would have not been allowed to sponsor.

Increased Opportunities For Strategic Business Or Startup Networking Or Partnerships

Typically when you get involved in sponsorship packages you get to meet a lot of people. You also get to possibly meet other businesses or startups. They could be co-sponsors for the same cause or they could be pursuing other things. There will be meetings, events, and several media engagements as well. All these platforms and activities will open up some great opportunities. You will end up networking with individuals and corporates that will be beneficial to your enterprise. It can even go as far as you entering into strategic partnerships, strategic alliances, or joint ventures with other businesses or startups.

Gaining New Knowledge And Expertise

As Mukuru gets to roll out its sponsorship deal they will get exposed to the world of soccer. They will most definitely learn new things about that industry and other related industries. There are invaluable lessons that will be learnt during the months ahead. The involved Mukuru management and staff will even gain new skills and expertise during that whole experience. As a brand, they will discover and take note of the information on industry trends and how other brands are operating. In the end, they will accumulate insights that can inform strategies they can apply to their brand. Putting all this together you can see that when a business or startup is a sponsor, the bonus is access to new knowledge and expertise.

These are some of the fundamental reasons why businesses or startups should become sponsors. It is an ingenious way of marketing your brand and it comes with innumerable benefits. One of the global companies investing lots of money into sponsorships is Red Bull. They are an interesting case study to look at. In Zimbabwe, big corporates such as Econet, Nyaradzo, Delta, and banks are examples that are actively involved in sponsorships. I would advise that small to medium enterprises must start to get involved as well. You do not need huge amounts of money to make a difference. You can start by sponsoring small initiatives e.g. community soccer tournaments.