Language Barriers: The Disconnect Between Sponsorships and Consumer Brands

Language Barriers

The Disconnect Between Sponsorships and Consumer Brands

Jim Richards

CEO & Founder of The Market Share Group

CPG and FMCG brands, listen up! Sponsorships are an underused goldmine, and it’s time to bring this effective marketing tool back into your marketing mix. Many of you have steered clear of sponsorships, often due to a misunderstanding of their value. The crux of the issue? A language barrier in the industry that’s costing us all—brands and properties alike.

We have a team member fluent in Telugu, a language spoken by millions in southeastern India. While she feels connected with her family when she speaks Telugu,, if she tried using it at work, we’d all be lost.

This story isn’t just about language; it’s a metaphor for the disconnect we’re seeing between sponsorships and consumer brands.

The Cost of Miscommunication

Just like in our office where Telugu wouldn’t translate, the language of sponsorships often falls on deaf ears in the CPG and FMCG sectors. These language barriers lead to:

1. Misunderstanding: When two parties speak different languages, they often misinterpret each other.

2. Missed Opportunities: A lack of common language can halt potential collaborations and growth.

3. Wasted Time: The time spent on translating documents could be used for more productive tasks.

4. Isolation: If you’re the only one in your organization who understands sponsorships, you’re likely to be ignored.

5. Customer Hesitation: Brands that can’t grasp sponsorships won’t renew or engage in the first place.

Here’s the thing—people buy what they can understand easily. You’re inundated with data around digital ads, social media metrics, streaming stats, and more. When it comes to the point that you have to stop to try and understand a new set of metrics OR a narrative from a property you are sponsoring that is void of data, it can be off putting.

The Power of Sponsorships

Sponsorships aren’t just about impressions or reach; they’re about building lasting emotional connections and brand loyalty—two essential elements for consumer brands. With effective sponsorships, you can engage your customers in a more interactive and meaningful way than any digital ad or coupon program can offer. Be open to these softer measures. You want consumers who say, “I only buy brand A”. That loyalty comes when you grab a share of the heart. It comes through experiences (planned or unplanned). It doesn’t come through a coupon. Sponsorships can create these experiences unlike any other form of marketing.

Demanding Clarity

As you attempt to get comfortable with new language, it’s time to challenge properties to speak your language. Ask them to translate the benefits of sponsorship into measurable outcomes. If a retailer can promise that spending $1 will generate $4 in return, then sponsorship professionals should be able to offer the similar clarity. We’re not saying ignore the “soft” benefits like emotional connections or brand affinity. Instead, we’re advocating for a dual approach: traditional metrics alongside the less tangible but equally crucial benefits.

The Bottom Line

Sponsorships work. They’re excellent tools for connecting with your customer base, fostering brand loyalty, and driving revenue. The issue isn’t their effectiveness; it’s the industry’s inability to articulate this effectiveness in a language that you and your internal decision-makers understand.

Let’s clear up the confusion and bring back sponsorships into the CPG and FMCG landscape. It’s time to break down these language barriers and unlock the full potential of what well-executed sponsorships can offer.