What Are The New Influences and Drivers of Association Partnerships?

Oct 30, 2023

Associations and sponsorship go hand in hand. But developments in technology and changing brand requirements have seen these partnerships shift significantly in recent times.

Julian Moore from Strategic Management Solutions (SMS) explains these factors. The new sponsors Around 2014, a new trend in sponsorship began to emerge, underpinned by the development of application technology. Because the market for apps has grown exponentially, developers often find themselves spending the vast majority of their funding on promotion to differentiate themselves from the competition. To make an impact on the community or industry they are marketed to, they have become some  of the biggest sponsors in the non-profit sector.  

Simultaneously, exclusivity has become an overriding factor in sponsorship. Many companies are now happy to spend more money to ensure the presence of less partnerships, with a higher level of engagement. The average number of annual association partnerships has fallen to an average of 12, down from over 20 in the past. Co-branding is also becoming more common, where the sponsor’s logo may appear next to the association’s, on products and projects.

Growth and collaborations

Let’s now take a look at some of the association partnerships sought by various industries. In the IT sector, Google are actively targeting non-profits that can assist them with their Google X project – the research and development arm of the tech giant. If, for example, Google X is doing optical testing for diabetes, then they might look to get hold of people with Type 1 Diabetes through a diabetes related charity.

In the pharmaceutical industry, mental health is a big initiative. Mental health associations would be wise to collaborate with Servier, a French pharmaceutical company that is in the process of developing a non-SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant, where the aim is to provide a higher quality level of sleep to affected individuals. Also, in the pharmaceutical space, companies like Weiss and Novaris are attempting to penetrate the paediatric sphere, so they are actively seeking partnerships with new mum and playgroup associations.

The beverage industry is pushing water as a product and partnership. Companies like Coca Cola, who produce Mount Franklin, are therefore seeking collaborations  with conservation-based associations.

In terms of events, producers of champagne are on the lookout to sponsor large-scale soirees. Moving onto high-end goods, suppliers like Moet Hennessy, Mont Blanc and Louis Vuitton are looking to target association board members. Purveyors of luxury cars such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus are similarly looking to generate partnerships where they will gain access to high earners.

Defence-force suppliers like VAE Systems, Raytheon and Boeing – makers of missiles, drones and tanks – are trying to diversify their range by transferring their capabilities into other areas such as aeronautics, mining, power generation and infrastructure. To promote these developments, they are seeking collaborations with defence associations or unions that supply employees to these industries.