Many corporations pulled the plug on their sponsorship budgets when the housing market and Wall Street imploded in the fourth quarter of 2008. But the landscape has changed over the past 18 months. Think again if you are still convinced that sponsorship is too expensive.
Take PEPSICO for example. They recently gained fabulous visibility and praise for their series of advertisements inviting everyday citizens to apply for community improvement grants. It was brilliant. Why just be one more corporation in a sea of logos for another golf outing? Their advertisements attracted thousands of proposals. They haven’t announced the winners yet, but you can bet that they will be worthy projects. Plus they will undoubtedly be located in markets PEPSICO has a targeted interest.
Perhaps their promotion was a bit too successful, however. Proposals had to be submitted electronically and there was a specific start point at midnight on a certain date. By 12:00:30 they had received more than enough proposals and an automated response program was telling applicants “better luck next year.”
Think about this. Applicants had to garner widespread support for their projects. Folks had to commit to extensive promotion of projects using social media. There are worthy projects with overexcited once hopeful people who are now disappointed. Wouldn’t your company look like a hero…the “proverbial knight on the fancy stead riding in to save the day” if you now funded one of those worthy projects that just didn’t shove it’s proposal through a system in less than 30 seconds!!
One such project in New Jersey involves a prevention program related to substance abuse. Drug addiction and alcoholism often spikes during tough economies, so this is a timely project. Several County Administrators are poised to launch the project. Dozens of schools have been selected for a blitz tour. An expert resource has been selected. The public relations campaign has been prepared.
Is there a worthy project that wanted money from PEPSICO that could use your support (and make you look like a here) right now?
Imagine you are a banking executive with the responsibility to clean up the bad loans that were made a few years ago. Defaulted home mortgages and commercial leases. Time spent with unhappy people, piles of paperwork, and expensive attorneys in stuffy court rooms. Then you are supposed to encourage and pay commissions to loan officers as they ask you to authorize new loans. Gee, that sounds like great fun.
Or imagine you are the President of an advertising agency that used to have major retainers with financial sector clients. Last year, you had to lay off some of your most talented account executives and creative people. Plus, you’ve realized that your Operations Manager had selected a completely inadequate technology platform before leaving the firm. Now, instead of being Presidential (formulating strategy, strengthening your top team, negotiating strategic alliances, and surfacing best practices), your time seems filled with sales appointments and operational issues. How inspiring!
Or imagine that your engineering firm had been included on the last 4 annual lists of the fastest growing companies. Your growth was fueled in large part by huge government contracts, which have dried up. Plus, if you are honest with yourself, you realize that your firm has become top heavy with expensive executive salaries. Your exit strategy wasn’t supposed to kick in for several years, but now you have to scramble to find a company that is in a position to buy your firm. You know you’re not going to get the price you would really want. Are you kidding? You’ll be lucky not to lose money, people, clients, and legal battles!
Or imagine that your publishing company has enjoyed a 70% market share providing textbooks for educators in synagogues and Jewish schools. But, sales volume has been slipping. Your team knows how to produce textbooks. Where should you even start!? How do you identify target markets? How can you find out what people will want and what they will actually pay? What would it take to get into new technologies? How difficult is the change from institutional sales to consumer sales? How expensive would the e commerce solution be?
Remember the basics. Exercise. Eat right. Get enough sleep. Take care of your top customers. Know who your real friends are. Accept “one step back/two steps forward” as a growth strategy. AND, despite how busy you are coping with survival, allocate a block of time each week to create the future. No kidding. Some companies are requiring that every employee (no matter what their jobs involve) spend 5 hours each week on “create the future” initiatives.
While many will remember Bob Franks, the “politician”, we at AMBLER Growth Strategy Consultants, Inc. will always think of Bob as the “consummate advocate.” We worked with Bob in his role as the President of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) which is an association of research-based pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. Bob was the spokesperson for the organization whose mission is to raise awareness and public support for the industry in New Jersey, home to more pharmaceutical companies than any other state in the country.
“Bob Franks’ work to keep pharma companies in and also bring new companies to New Jersey would have been enough to constitute a successful career of service. His roles as a US Congressman, NJ Senator and Assemblyman and the policies that he supported always were in favor of the public first and party second. Bob just passed away after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and worked with him, and the State of New Jersey has lost a great advocate,” said Aldonna R. Ambler, President of AMBLER Growth Strategy Consultants.
“And I will always remember seeing the joy on Bob’s face as his young children came in the room to be with their father after a long day of public and private sector strategic planning at the “Vision 2020” retreat for the Governor.”
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Many Americans resent the shift of so many manufacturing and light industry jobs from the USA to China (and India). However until one travels to China and speaks with people, citizens of the USA don’t seem to know that a large contingent of Chinese people also feel some resentment about those same jobs. After all, the primary reason that jobs are shifting around the globe is that corporations can pay much lower wages for the same work. Is there an insult or disrespect conveyed when a corporation will only pay a few dollars per hour for a Chinese worker to perform the same tasks that the corporation would pay USA based employees 8-10 times as much? Any lack of training or career advancement opportunities extends the message of American disrespect for Chinese employees, and Chinese employees are further frustrated by the way export/import practices and tariffs work. Most products made in China are immediately exported. By the time the products make their way back to China, workers can’t afford to buy the very products they produced.
Most people know that China’s population is measured in billions rather than millions. Most people seem to be aware that China holds much of the US debt. And most people have read or heard that China is experiencing dramatic growth. The scope and significance of those facts doesn’t seem to sink in until a citizen of the USA travels to China. The image of thousands of construction cranes is a dramatic contrast to the foreclosure signs across the USA. When you travel from Beijing to Suzhou to Hangzhou to Shanghai, you see the dramatic images of the very old (2000 years old) and the very new (1-15 years old)…and little in between. A visitor can almost feel the world tipping… or at least the movement of money.
The Chinese government can utilize communism when it serves them and capitalism when that is more convenient. They clearly benefit from both systems.
I am an avid reader. I listen to credible news commentary. As a growth strategist, I study trends. I’ve participated in complex research projects with/for hundreds of clients. AND I am very glad that I recently spent some time in China. What about you? Is it time for deepened perspective? To what destination will you travel next? Perhaps Dubai?