10 Step Plan for Olympic Sponsorship Success – Marzena Bogdanowicz

August 8, 2011


Be crystal clear about what it is you are trying to achieve through the sponsorship and associated campaign, be realistic, be measurable, don’t set too many objectives….. better to have a few specific ones rather than lots of vague ones – a sponsorship is only successful if it meets the specific targets you set at the start.


Develop a strong and detailed strategy for the campaign – Be clear about what it is you are going to do to meet the objectives you have set, this is probably the most important element of any campaign, if you get the strategy right, the campaign should flow from this.  You will require additional assets as the Olympic programme rarely offers any specific assets for partners.


The activation space around the Olympic Games is extremely cluttered, when developing your strategy try and think about where you might find some white space in order to try and gain  cut-through  – this isn’t always possible, it will obviously depend on your brand/product and you are trying to target, but if you can achieve it  can be very powerful.


Be confident in who you are targeting, be specific in focusing on the target audience that is relevant to your brand and your objectives, don’t try and reach everyone via a generic campaign, you are unlikely to create strong resonance with large numbers.

If you are a B2B brand, then don’t try and expand out to consumers, some of the most successful campaigns have been solely B2B, work in the area you know best.


Put a strong measurement system in place – When you have set your objectives, think clearly about how you are going to measure your results to prove you have achieved them, measurement should be in place from the very beginning, continuing throughout the campaign planning and activation and after the Games, a significant proportion of your budget should be allocated for this area.  Use the measurement to assess the progress of your campaign so that you can adjust and be fleet of foot to maximise opportunities.


Keep the programme simple, do one/two things well. Don’t try and overcomplicate it.  Temptation is to do too many things as there are many opportunities.   Pick your area, chose relevant assets, make sure they have a relevant place in your campaign and you know how you are going to use them effectively, don’t just take something because it is offered to you.


Campaign timing – Whilst the Olympic Games themselves last for only 17 days in each host city, there is a four-year cycle toc onsider, with these timelines becoming even longer for worldwide sponsor with long-term partnership agreements.  It is essential to consider when and how you are going to activate to gain cut-through and maintain momentum – if you go too early then it is a long road ahead to keep the activation going, if you go too late then you might just miss the boat

Campaign relevancy and integrated marketing – There is nothing worse than a brand launching a campaign that makes you think ‘what on earth has that got to do with Brand X?’ Make sure that your campaign is intrinsically linked to your brand and product, and put the sponsorship at the very heart of the campaign marketing plan – make the sponsorship the marketing tool and then it has a central place in all elements of activation creating a more natural fit


Do not underestimate the power of the Olympic Games. There is something very special about the Olympic Games, unlike a lot of other sporting events it touches everyone irrespective of age, gender, race or religion.  Everyone has an Olympic memory – whether it be from when you were a small child and remember watching your first Games on the TV, whether you met a medallists on their return home or whether you can remember the moment when Olympic dreams were shattered on the track.  If sponsors can tap into this passion and spirit within their campaigns it will capture the hearts of their audience and ultimately engage them into their campaign.  The Olympic Games are about young people doing the best they can on the world stage, in many cases they are just the boy or girl next door not living in a mansion on a private estate – they are everyday people to which everyone can relate.


Make sure you have a budget to deliver the programme.  Too often companies get involved in a sponsorship programme spend their money on the fees and then realise they have no additional budget to use on specific assets, promotions and most importantly measurement tools.  Ensure you have the budget and strategy (even in a basic structure) agreed BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.

10. GOLF!

An Olympic Games sponsorship is like a game of golf, you pay the initial green fees, and you are given a caddy.  It is then up to you what equipment you use and how you play the game!



Marzena Bogdanowicz and her team at b-focused have worked with sports rights holders in defining their marketing and sponsorship strategies, management and coordination of key projects and events such as the 2008 Visa Handover in The Mall, London & The 2004 Olympic Torch Relay, London.

Marzena spent 10 years with the British Olympic Association as their Director of Marketing, where she developed a lasting legacy with the introduction of the internationally recognised and well established Team GB brand, representing the Great Britain Olympic Team.  In that time she was involved in all UK Olympic Sponsorship programmes.

Marzena is a well respected figure in the industry appearing as a regular judge on the Sports Industry Awards Panel since 2005, and is regularly invited to speak across Europe on Olympic and elite sports sponsorship.

Marzena Bogdanowicz’s isportconnect-profile-widget

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