2017 Arts Festival and Music Sponsorship Summary Report Launched

This year’s Arts, Festival and Music Sponsorship – Summary Report produced by Business to Arts and Allianz highlights the value of cultural sponsorship to PR and communications. This is the third year this report has been produced and it details the increased importance being placed on PR related activities offered by sponsorship offers.

PRII was delighted to collaborate with Business 2 Arts on the launch of the report on November 1st and to offer observations on its findings.

The findings include:

  • 87% of participants value such collaborations for the unique events and experiences it allows companies create for stakeholders; and
  • 82% recognise the positive effect they have on brand awareness.

Before offering some reflections on the report’s findings PRII CEO Dr Byrne noted that the relationship between Allianz and Business 2 Arts is itself was an example of good practice in the field of sponsorship not least because of its longevity (17 years), but also because of the evident close alignment of both organisation’s objectives and stakeholders.

“Experience tell us that sponsorships only work and add value when both parties see themselves benefiting.”

Dr Byrne noted the report’s value to the PR profession as it will usefully inform the reviews and budget decision making on sponsorship portfolios which generally take place at this time in public relations offices around the country.

She also pointed out that public relations professionals carry out work on behalf of both sponsors and rightsholders: from researching and selecting a ‘fit’ that will be mutually beneficial; through contract negotiation and programme activation; to measurement and evaluation.

The PRII endorsed the message in the report that best practice sponsorships measure results against objectives clearly set organisational objectives. While important media coverage and audience numbers should figure prominently in any evaluation, so too should results against other leveraged activities and goals be evident in programme KPIs.

While it is obvious that uncertainty exists around the economic outlook in the context of Brexit, it is heartening that the level of sponsorship spend will be maintained at similar levels next year.

However, as PRII CEO Dr Martina Byrne noted at the report launch the activation ratio of 5:1 - 1 euro being spent on activation for every 5 spent in a rights fees -  seems somewhat low.
“There is no way of buying objectives and values ‘off the sponsorship shelf’ and, given that finding and the finding that projected spend in 2017-18 is likely to hold steady or decrease, this is the time to redouble efforts to demonstrate clearly the value being delivered by art, music and festival sponsorships and the contribution they can make to the bottom-line.”

The importance of the Business to Arts programme is the new ways it provides for engaging audiences, promoting the best of Irish culture and the arts while at the same time telling the stories of key organisations and brands and giving them the ability to reach wider audiences in ever more engaging ways. The opportunities to create enduring connections between companies, cultural endeavours and audiences is borne out by this report.

Perhaps more importantly these collaborations create valuable opportunities to highlight important issues, as exemplified this year with projects tackling literacy, diversity and mental health. They provide a rich ground for enhanced communication with and on behalf of key publics, as well as providing a hotbed of creativity which is the key component of any communication or PR initiative.

The Allianz Business to Arts Report 2017 rightly makes the case that arts sponsorship works, that it delivers and that it contributes significant benefits, direct and indirect, to the economy, said Dr Byrne.

PRII Members can access the Business to Arts Report via the members area, using the download code available there.

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