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This is a sequence to my previous article about sports sponsorship for individual athletes in marginal sports. Good news: it applies to any opinion maker: not only athletes, not only in marginal sports (which really shouldn´t be emphasized in a negotiation, like “hey, my sport is so marginal that nobody ever heard about it”).

These six questions are what really matters to the company’s investment. It is not the number of Instagram followers, facebook friends or the number of selfies he posts.

 

  1. How seriously is your opinion maker taken?
    2. How many people listen to him?
    3. How seriously do people listen to him?
    4. How many serious people listen to him?
    5. How serious are his listeners willing to take action based on what he tells them to?
    6. How much seriousness does your product/service require in order to sell?

 

Let’s go through all the items.

 

  1. How seriously is your opinion maker taken?

This question is about trust. Let’s say you – “you” are the company – are negotiating with a fighter. His fighting score is impeccable. He is, indeed, an excellent athlete. He obviously has fans and followers. What you need to know is how much these followers trust this fighter in anything besides winning a fight. In spite of the fact that the symbolic weight of “victory” and “winning” can be transferred to basically anything, if your property’s behavior doesn’t inspire trust in his followers, you don’t have a good opinion maker. You need to know how much trust his image carries.

 

  1. How many people listen to him?

Whether our hypothetical fighter attracts millions to an ESPN transmitted fight matters. Your logo will show somewhere on his body. But it matters even more whether people are willing to hear what he has to say. Therefore, his communication skills matter and the number of people actively listening or reading his content matter, too. If he has a microscopic sect for followers, he might not be the best investment.

 

  1. How seriously do people listen to him?

So your hypothetical fighter has a big following, he has active social media, people listen to him, but he’s a clown. He´s always saying something stupid, embarrassing himself and your company and part of his followers either want to know what the next joke will be about, or, worse, they are equally uninterested in information for decision-making.

 

  1. How many serious people listen to him?

Which brings us to the next question: what is his following profile? Who are these people? What is the proportion of critical consumers in that crowd? You know that unless they are a considerable percentage, the recognition of your brand might not count at all in their choice.

 

  1. How seriously are his listeners willing to take action based on what he tells them to?

This is about the power of persuasion. How persuasive is your property? Back to our fictional fighter, let’s suppose he is a good athlete, that his behavior is acceptable, that he is relatively well educated, that he knows what is important about your product but he is boring. He simply cannot manifest a call to action. You either educate your property to act differently (and this is more investment, besides activation itself) or you have a puppet (and then your investment will be really much higher).

 

  1. How much seriousness does your product/service require in order to sell?

All these questions, however, only matter if your product requires some level of technical knowledge to be understood, and, therefore, sold. If you are selling protein powder, you definitely need to show your consumer you are proficient in the technical fields related to its production (nutrition, biochemistry, human physiology, etc). Your sponsored property is your spokesperson and it is mandatory that he masters the basics of that technical content. Today, hardly any product will go without some, if not much, technical content. The higher the technical content your merchandise represents, the more you need your sponsored property to be trustworthy in the matters related to your business.