In the early days of planning any arts production, or a sports event, sponsors and sponsorship are naturally high up on the agenda. Calls of “Let’s get a big brand on-board!” will inevitably reverberate around the table. But that clamour doesn’t always result in a significant partnership that will fulfil the immediate need and also go on to grow the relationship over subsequent productions.

There could of course be any number of reasons for this, from unrealistic expectations from either partner, to little benefit accruing to each party from the association. However, far and away the most likely fracture is a lack of brand fit.

In the same way that an organisation will have interrogated its own brand, the production and artist needs to do similarly. Values, personality, message(s) conveyed and the positioning vis a vis other entertainment that currently attracts audiences and that which is likely to attract new audiences, are all significant considerations in a potential sponsor gauging the value in forging a relationship.

Equally so, is how the artist/production is going to stand head and shoulders above the increasing amount of sponsorship noise out there and deliver for both the production and the sponsor.

So what constitutes ? It’s no Yogi aiming to bring serenity to their respective worlds. But what it will bring is an acutely considered and therefore strongly connected sponsorship, with an approach that meets the realistic aspirations of all parties.

Which is a very good thing, in the context, of that it might be argued we’re moving towards a state of sponsorship fatigue – from bumper breaks on TV, to product placement and extending branding to a stadium or theatre – and so likely an increasing cynicism on the part of the viewing public.

Inertia also plays its part. At what point, for example, does ‘The O2’ become as generic as Hoover and deliver no positive meaning aside from some latent warmth for the brand?

Similarly, and it may just be me, but isn’t Emirates just about everywhere at present? It is possible that its brand character is becoming somewhat diluted with the greater exposure. Perhaps going a little off-brief, with a wider spreading of its sponsorship budget, than the apparently more focused strategy it had early on. The appearance of its smart, sophisticated cabin crew pitch-side seems incongruous to me – but maybe I’m missing something?!

So, as the meaning behind a sponsorship could dissipate, (or be lost on some!), it is as well to have a strong brand fit from the outset. Then, when there is clear comprehension of why there is an association between the partners, the public will derive greater meaning from the sponsorship.

For artists and production companies seeking sponsorship, once you’ve explored and identified your brand characteristics, you can be more assured in matching sponsors values with your own. Sensibly starting with the natural match for the subject matter of a production and then going wider, as you align the nuances of your production/production company with those of potential candidate brands.

A case in point: I’m currently working with a choreographer, who is growing in reputation as he is developing his Company. It is to be a reflection of him, one that forges both his dance and sports sciences pedigree and the innovative approach he takes in creating each stage experience.

The current production seeking sponsorship, deconstructs a marathon as a metaphor for the blood, sweat and tears of a fraught family relationship, and innovatively uses augmented reality via sensors to enhance the senses of the audience, so they are at one with the runner.

So, for example, and may not be uniquely individual, but together they will combine to mirror a number of candidate sponsor’s brand values and so we’ll have a better chance of mirroring the personality traits they wish to communicate to their audiences too.

In this example, by being true to the personality of the principal and aligning that with potential brands who’s values also reflect the output, we can can demonstrate a genuine crossover of and and we’ll no doubt appeal to many more relevant sponsors.