When we think of developing and negotiating sponsorship agreements, relevancy to the location and the needs of its people are key components that must be researched and addressed for maximum success. The PacWest Partnership Conference in October will feature BC as the backdrop to demonstrate how you adapt your approach to build a sponsorship package.
Just as we need to understand how British Columbia is unique, every sponsorship environment requires a customized approach in order to be successful. Simply stated, a “Made in Toronto” approach towards sponsorship in British Columbia will not be as effective as a home grown approach that responds to market nuances and conditions.
Adapt Your Sponsorship Approach through Research.
According to Chatelaine magazine, 52% of women from British Columbia said they were happier now than they were 10 years ago compared to a national average of 44%. It may sound trivial, but the point is that Canada is large so cannot paint the entire country with a broad brush stroke when describing the national landscape. We must customize. We must research.
What makes BC residents unique in values and lifestyle?
• British Columbians are generally more relaxed and spend more time outdoors than the rest of Canada. Their favourable climate allows for year-round access to the outdoors and increased physical activity. And, we all know, when we are physically active, we are happier.
• British Columbia is diverse. Its people represent the highest proportion of visible minorities in the country at 27% of the population, of which Chinese and South Asians are the most prominent. Aboriginal citizens are also the highest percentage in the country at 5% of the BC population of over 4.4 million.
• British Columbians have a very high respect for the environment which they depend on for their economic welfare. They also expect corporations to share this same respect.
What are the unique needs of BC’s business community?
Sponsorship is about offering business solutions to help sponsors meet corporate objectives. Some of the unique challenges that companies (potential sponsors) face in British Columbia include:
• Because BC is so diverse, companies doing business on the West Coast must cater to a wide range of audiences with different cultures and lifestyles. Therefore, marketing campaigns must be targeted to reflect the distinct needs and interests of the audience.
• With over 40 different Aboriginal groups in BC, the responsibility to consult with First Nations is an important part of doing business in the province; especially for the resource sector. Companies must be respectful of Aboriginal culture and lifestyles and must be seen to be “doing the right thing”.
• While BC is Canada’s third largest province, over 80% of the population lives in the southwest which makes BC a very competitive environment for companies that market to consumers.
• Natural resources (forestry, mining and fishing) are, and will continue to be, a crucial component of the economic well-being of British Columbians. One of the greatest challenges facing business leaders today is ensuring that our economic development is environmentally sustainable. There is a strong demand for public policies on a host of issues, such as water use, air quality, carbon emissions, environmental assessments, bio-diversity and at-risk species. Companies must be seen as environmentally friendly by combining business objectives with sound environmental practices.
• BC’s changing demographics and shifting employment opportunities present key challenges for employers, such as how to find enough skilled workers, how to adjust to a more diverse and aging workforce.
The bottom line is that citizens who live in British Columbia have certain values and lifestyles and companies doing business there have unique challenges. Our ability to uncover the “pain” of corporations and connect them to relevant sponsorship opportunities will determine what level of success we can expect through our sponsorship efforts.
These and other concepts will be discussed at the PAC-WEST PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE, October 11-13 in Vancouver where I am pleased to be the featured speaker. The two-day conference will focus on the festivals and events sector, the West Coast sponsorship environment and how approaches need to be adapted to meet the corporate objectives of companies doing business in BC.
This conference is a unique opportunity targeted toward helping individuals in charge of festivals, events and fundraisers as well as Board Members, Staff and Leadership Volunteers involved with local not-for-profits and charities. Register Today