Powerful partnerships – how sports sponsorship really works

Shared knowledge and innovation drive the long-term value
Screaming off the grid and reaching over 100mph in less time than it takes to read this sentence, today’s Formula 1 cars speed past the TV cameras at over 200 mph. Sponsors logos, positioned in clusters all over the cars and the drivers helmets, flash past in the blurred blink of an eye.
So why do the world’s big brands continue to queue up for the opportunity to hand over substantial sums of money to the F1 teams, for such feeling moments in front of cameras?

Image source – Raconteur


Partnership not sponsorship

The answer is simple. In Formula 1, as in many other sports, companies are much more interested in building meaningful partnerships than they are in briefly increasing their brand visibility. Longer-term partnerships are what matter, the logo on the car is simply the symbol of that partnership.

Consumer brands vs B2B brands

Of course there are consumer brands, such as Red Bull and Vodafone, who successfully use the sport as a vehicle to engage a wider audience through brand visibility in a very appealing environment. For instance Red Bull had David Coultard drive an F1 car on the helipad of the Burj Hotel in Dubai, and it became one of their most watched pieces of social media content ever.


Image source – The National 


However business-to-business sponsors can really reap the wider rewards of association with this glamorous, technologically innovative and high profile sport. Take for example the Williams team partnership with world-leading human resources provider Randstad.

Shared learning and innovation

Established ten years ago with a common goal of driving high performance and understanding the future of engineering and IT, Randstads partnership with Williams has been described as ‘a huge success’.

In the same way that technological developments in automotive engineering have been passed down from the F1 test tracks to today’s road cars, so innovations in IT and technology have been shared between the Williams team and their brand partner.

In an article on the Randstad website, the companies director of international marketing Joost Schriever says ‘We are one of the world’s biggest recruiters in engineering and IT. It is vital that we understand what technologies and skills are going to be needed in the future. Formula 1 gives us that insight.’


Image source – Randstad 


There is currently a large shortfall in the number of science and technology graduates, and as new talent becomes increasingly scarce in this field, the partners are collaborating to address the issue with creation of The Randstad Williams Engineering Academy, an elite institution designed to identify talented young engineers.


Image source – Randstad


The power is in the partnership

This example, along with others such as Ferrari’s deal with Kaspersky Lab and McLarens relationship with technology company SAP, are proof that the true power of sponsorship lies in mutually beneficial partnerships.

Naturally there are the obvious perks of F1 sponsorship – track days, driver experiences, factory visits, VIP tickets, glamorous events. But it is clear that the real value lies in the sharing of knowledge, innovation, technology and profile. The logo on the car is merely the seal on the deal.




If you would like to know more about how we can help your brand or business present and build powerful partnerships please get in touch