Change ONE word and you will attract more sponsors & partners

- April 23, 2019 3 MIN READ

Richard Woodward shows you a simple but effective way to get more corporate sponsors and partners, and it won’t cost you a cent.

What I am about to share with you has to be the easiest way to boost performance in a corporate partnership or sponsorship manager role. It doesn’t cost anything, requires little effort and has a dramatic effect. It makes attracting sponsors and partners easier and creates more value for sponsors and partners.

Here are two scenarios to illustrate the opportunity.

Scenario 1. A company signs up as a Bronze Partner of an event. They go back to their office, gather all their employees together and say:

“We have great news. We have just signed up as a Bronze Partner of our industry event”

The question is, what can the employees usefully do with that information?

Saying to the employees “I want you to tell all our clients and prospects that we have proudly signed up as a bronze (or silver or gold) partner and we look forward to seeing them at the event” is of limited value as it’s a limited story.

Scenario 2. A company signs up as the Innovation Partner of the same event – exactly the same features and benefits – the only change is that they are designated as Innovation Partner rather than Bronze Partner.

Note that instead of innovation I could have said sustainability, diversity, community, wellbeing, family, safety or any other story that companies actually want to tell.

They go back to the office, gather all their employees together and say:

“We have great news. We have just signed up as the Innovation Partner of our industry event. The reason we signed up as Innovation Partner (the why) is that from the day you joined us we have discussed the importance of innovation as a key driver and core value within our organisation.

What I would like you all to do now is to advise our clients and prospects that we have just signed up to be the Innovation Partner of the event, and we have done so as a further demonstration of innovation being a key value and driver within our organisation.

Tell them that we look forward to seeing them at the event where we will showcase our latest innovative products x and y which will further enhance their performance and we will provide them with a copy of our latest paper on ‘Innovation Learnings’ when they visit our stand”

Now there is a story to work with – something worth picking up the phone to discuss, something worth flowing through social media.


Gold, silver or bronze provides no story because it does not address a need and if you don’t address a need there is no value. No one turns up at work in a company and says that they have a business need to be a bronze or silver or gold partner. Gold, silver and bronze is just lazy terminology left over from the Olympics.


Organisations do have a need to be seen as innovative, sustainable, inclusive, community focused, safe. By changing one word you give partners and sponsors the chance to address a need which is valuable to them.


You can still provide tiers by offering Principal or Lead Innovation Partner, NSW or Regional NSW Innovation Partner or simply Innovation Partner.

Recommended action

If you are engaging corporates I highly recommend that you revisit the terminology you are currently using.

If you are a corporate and are approached by someone selling you a gold, silver or bronze package tell them that you want to change the designated title to something useful.

This article was first published at