Before starting to talk about Sponsorship, it is important to clarify the difference between this discipline with respect to Patronage and “Brand Presence” in activities of similar characteristics.

Brand sponsorship is characterized by playing a key role in the development of third-party initiatives within an advanced society. A brand that sponsors is one that helps to make a certain activity a reality or, at least, that this initiative is developed in better conditions and with a greater margin of success. From this success in its many facets and the relevance it can generate before different stakeholders, sponsored and sponsored. There are countless cases, but in Spain, it is worth highlighting, due to its track record, duration and continuity, the case of Repsol in the world of motorsport and especially with Honda in the Motorcycle World Championship. Movistar also played a prominent role in supporting the training of young Spanish motorcycle riders who have already become champions, but, for some reason, it abandoned it. Too bad.

History of Patronage

Patronage dates back centuries to one of its most brilliant periods during the Renaissance. When kings, popes and other prominent members of society, they favored with money and resources the efforts of great artists, for example: Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, Titian or, later, Velázquez and Goya himself. Similar cases occurred in other arts such as music, architecture, even literature.

Patronage, nowadays, implies a more selfless role for brands within the world of arts, sciences and other benevolent initiatives; and their physical presence, their explicit exposure, is less obvious and more commercially disinterested. Patrons and promoters of culture such as BBVA, Santander, La Caixa, MasterCard, Heineken and many others do not demand as much commercially and rely their investment, in a more discreet way, on building their reputation and CSR. Admirable. And a must-have.

“Brand Presence” and the Significance of Other Brand Activities

Brand Presence” is a minor activity, complementary to Sponsorships and Patronage, when brands support a certain activity with a lower budget, a lower presence and level of exploitation, and moderate contractual requirements. This isn’t to say that their function isn’t meritorious and that those brands can’t get a very juicy return on their investment. Quite simply, your presence and brand footprint is not dominant and it is quite possible that it will be combined with others. A magnificent exploitation of this model was that of La Mutua in its first years in F-1.

Complementary to all of the above and, perhaps, on a higher plane is the activity of certain brands that, by practising sponsorship, especially sports and music, also become the very soul of an event or an initiative, providing it with content, value and attractiveness. In this case, I must highlight by far the magnificent management of the Red Bull or Coca-Cola brand around the world. Brands that are not sponsors, become the event itself.

Leaving Branded Content and other potential practices derived from these activities for a later occasion, I would like to concentrate on the crucial factor that must be considered when dealing with Sponsorship as a communication tool in particular: the return on investment. This aspect is often questioned and questioned.

And here I would like to be extremely precise: there can be no measurable return on investment if sponsorship (including patronage) is not planned, selected and carried out with a high level of professionalism. So much so that, from this perspective and level of demand, it could be said that an alarming percentage of sponsoring brands have not approached this activity under strict analytical parameters and hence their frustration or even waste.


8 basic principles to keep in mind to achieve an effective and consistent Brand Sponsorship.

There are some basic principles, but not the only ones, that we must take into account and evaluate meticulously and objectively:

1. The compatibility between the sponsoring brand and the sponsored activity: positioning, values, personality.

2. The adequacy of the brand’s target audience with that of the sponsored activity.

3. Impact and popularity. That is, the general interest of the public and the media.

4. The potential for corporate and/or commercial exploitation.

5. The presence and dominance of our competence in the same activity or others similar or superior in interest and impact.

6. The duration of the sponsorship and budgetary implications.

7. The coverage or geographical scope where the sponsorship takes place.

8. The implicit or explicit risk involved in the sponsored activity, equipment, or individuals.

Each of the points mentioned would deserve, at the very least, a specific post if not a larger document. There are proven tools and methodologies that facilitate this process.

And let’s not forget that after the aforementioned points we will have to undertake three other essential ones:

– Preparation of the activity.

– Exploitation during.

– Post-dissemination

Brand Sponsorship Measurement Instruments

It is after doing all this deep and complex exercise that we will be able to decide which measurement mechanisms we are going to use. And there are all kinds of them to fulfill multiple functions:

– Brand awareness.


– Positioning, values, attributes and personality.

– Linkage to the performance of our product.

– Like/dislike.



– GRPs, OTS…

Or all at once. The important thing is to know what, and that is given to us by no other process than objective analysis and strategy with its tactics. There is always no solution to “pre”, “post”.

Conclusion: Brand Sponsorship as a Profit Generator

Sponsorship is an activity that, although generally linked to recreation or leisure, does not cease to become a fundamental part of the activity of the company-brand-product.


Ignacio Ochoa

CEO at Branward®

Author of the book “Planeta Marca”

Photos: Shutterstock