Sponsorship is romantic! – Or not?
In many companies sponsorship is treated that way, it is romanticised. But for Q-Park, sponsorship is an investment. An investment in a commercial partnership through which we wish to achieve quantifiable corporate marketing and/or country marketing returns. Sponsorship must be a strategic fit, it must meet multiple strategic objectives.
With sponsoring, Q-Park intends to engender loyalty and/or find new customers, because sponsorship uses an event or activity that interests our target market. We identify and acknowledge the specific emotional and functional reasons that interest our target market and ways to improve and enhance their experience. With sponsorship we want to add value to our customers' experience and create a real impact.
Sponsorship is a means for Q-Park to enhance the relevance of our parking facilities to our target market and our customers’ lives. We use sponsorship as a vehicle to strengthen relationships, enhance our reputation, educate the marketplace or to underpin our positioning. We accomplish this by aligning one or more of our key attributes with attributes of the event that are important to our target market.
This code sets out the general framework of our commitment to sponsorship, internal responsibilities and reporting. It also details how sponsorships are to be conducted. This sponsorship code will be reviewed, evaluated and updated regularly.
Sponsoring is an investment in sport, the arts, a charitable cause, an educational organisation, a community or municipal event or programme, an individual or a broadcast. Sponsorship investments have a reasonable expectation of achieving at least three marketing and/or communication objectives and are generally funded from a marketing budget.
Philanthropy is a donation made with no expectation of commercial return and is generally not funded from marketing budgets.
Q-Park sponsoring & philanthropy objectives
- Add value to current and potential customers, commercial partners and/or other stakeholders.
- Create a focal point for promotions.
- Create a quality parking experience.
- Foster an endorsement by an individual or organisation.
- Increase employee morale and/or knowledge level and/or retention.
- Create opportunities for networking, creating, building and/or retaining business relationships.
- Q-Park will focus on the strongest part of sponsorship – its ability to build and enhance relationships. Raising awareness or creating exposure is of lesser importance.
- Q-Park will focus on enhancing trust, on a market’s tendency to use our parking services, on underpinning the localness of Q-Park and/or on solidifying the positioning of Q-Park.
- Q-Park will sponsor an event if it fits strategically and delivers on multiple objectives including product and/or service exclusivity. And only after a stringent, objective assessment based on corporate strategy as we are answerable to shareholders, boards, employees, customers and society.
- Q-Park, as we all, feels for worthy causes but will only engage in sponsorship if the cause is extremely powerful and the investment is justified. If the investment is not a good fit but we still want to contribute – we will do so with a philanthropic perspective.
- Q-Park will not sponsor an event to appease critics, but if we can use the expertise or resources of the sponsored event to make some meaningful changes or if a sponsorship can be very helpful in influencing a more informed and responsible public opinion, we will do so.
- QBC is responsible for the health of the Q-Park brand, corporate reputation, sponsorship portfolio and maximising the effectiveness of sponsorships. QBC is also responsible for the strategic focus regarding overall marketing and/or brand plans, approving and negotiating strategic sponsorships, and linking opportunities to optimise sponsorships.
- The country marketing & sales teams are directly responsible for their ‘national, regional, and local’ results, implementation and integration of sponsorship across marketing activities, selecting and recommending opportunities, maximising effectiveness and involving stakeholders.
Accountability for sponsorship
- The country marketing & sales teams are responsible for selecting sponsorship targets; local, regional or national.
- Sponsorship (local, regional or national) can only be approved by the country directors team (MD & FD). Basic information regarding approved sponsorships must be send to QBC within a week after approval.
- If the sponsorship is intended to attract broad national or international media exposure, QBC must co-sign.
- If a sponsorship crosses national borders, the sponsorship request must be forwarded to QBC who will then take responsibility for selection and final approval/rejection.
- Responsibility for managing the sponsorship process, managing the relationship with the sponsored event, quantifying sponsorship objectives and stakeholder education lies with the country marketing department.
- Responsibility for representing sponsorship issues to the board lies with QBC.
Q-Park will consider sponsorships in all categories, but as a company with a focus on quality, we will not sponsor any event or programme where safety or cleanliness might be an issue. A sponsorship may in no way be controversial or divisive, nor may it violate any law. Q-Park will not sponsor nor make donations to any event or organisation with a religious or political goal, student travel and/or festivities or private initiatives.
We require sponsorship exclusivity in the parking category and generally need a minimum of six months lead time. We consider logo exposure a bonus, not an objective. We expect relevant sponsorship partners to invest a minimum of 10% of the total value of the sponsorship, and to contribute to pro-actively maximising the sponsorship.
In the market, Q-Park provides quality parking solutions at strategic locations. We therefore prefer sponsorships that directly or indirectly help support the occupancy of our parking facilities. In order to enhance the relevance of our parking facilities to people in our target market and their lives, a crucial element of sponsorship selection is based on the alignment of key attributes of the event to be sponsored with some or all of our key attributes: clean, safe, convenient, reliable and hospitable.
As Q-Park seeks to develop strong long term partnerships, we embrace sponsorships that focus on business synergies and include associated companies or organisations that target a similar marketplace with a complementary product, service or cause. We particularly embrace the sponsorship participation of other quality brands and seek opportunities for cross promotion, loyalty programmes and in-kind leverage.
As Q-Park operates quality parking facilities, markets a range of customised products and services and employs hospitable people, we favour sponsorships that value and appreciate our in-kind resources, knowledge and expertise. This non-cash contribution minimises cash expenditure while maximising mutual benefits. In our negotiations with events to be sponsored we tend to look for benefits in the form of access to markets, use of marketing vehicles, third party synergies, ancillary events, hospitality opportunities, database and/or relationship marketing, cause tie-in and the like.
- Whether or not all benefits were delivered as promised.
- The timeliness and relevance of reports concerning:
- The degree to which the event added value;
- Whether or not we were kept in the loop;
- The overall ease of the working relationship.
Q-Park will spend no more than 20% of its marketing budget on sponsorships; this includes maximisation that does not exceed ‘2-to-1’. Q-Park will not engage in sponsorship contracts exceeding three years. Our investment is commonly based upon an upfront fee paid in installments plus a performance-based incentive. Q-Park has set aside opportunistic funds of no more than 5% of the total sponsorship budget for interesting yet unplanned opportunities.
To be eligible for consideration, sponsorship proposals must include key details of the opportunity, an overview of the confirmed marketing plan, list of sponsors who have committed to date, and a comprehensive list of benefits. A timeline of important deadlines and credentials of the organisation and key subcontractors must be included in the proposal. Q-Parkwill review all proposals to assess suitability, feasibility and resources required (human and monetary). Q-Park will notify the event to be sponsored of its disposition regarding the proposal within four weeks.
While every care was taken in establishing our sponsorship guidelines and establishing our sponsorship strategies accordingly, it is possible that issues might occur that when considered within the diversity of stakeholders a conflict of interests materialises. In that event, Q-Park will actively interact with all the parties concerned, seek cooperation with all the business departments involved and exert its influence to find an appropriate solution which is acceptable to all.