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How to make your virtual sponsorships NOT SUCK


At Haute Dokimazo, we spend a lot of time keeping it real. In fact, that’s a huge part of the value we build—for ourselves as a business, and also for clients. So many people have asked us: how do sponsorships even work in a 2D world? That is, when the screen is everything and banners, signs, booths and teams in branded outfits exist only in our imagination? We corralled the team at HD to think-tank the topic—and offer up some of the best from our brightest.


Secret 1: A Virtual World Is Not the End of the World

The current virtual world, and virtual events, do have a lot of upsides. The convenience and comfort of attending from home can put people at ease. A virtual attendee pool democratizes the titles, too. Another key plus? Their focus is primarily on one screen—versus the normal competition for attention that sponsors face from, well, everything in the real world (many screens, people, noise, weather, crowds, etc). So this tip is about MINDSET. We need to change it, think positive, and realize that awareness STILL HAS HUGE VALUE in a virtual world. That value has just shifted to a different place. The secrets that follow all revolve around that core insight.   


Secret 2: Set the Mood

Mood matters more than ever in a virtual world. You are creating a complete environment, from scratch, through a screen. When participants log in to your event, what do they see and hear? Sponsors should have a chance to make it something special, and set a tone that energizes participants, not exhausts them. How do you help sponsors do that? Have them provide a branded playlist to get participants’ blood pumping when they join. If music is not their thing, kick-off your event with a funny sponsored video—perhaps some stand-up comedy or a cute cat video (we know you love ‘em!) to lighten the mood? Or, get your participants out of their chairs, and into the pilot’s seat, or beach chair, or ski lodge via fun backgrounds. Branded virtual backgrounds might just be the new lanyard!


Secret 3: Tools, Not Signs

Signage, banners and logos are key ways for sponsors to create awareness in the real world at live events. And of course, there are virtual equivalents that are important too. But the big leap here is that, in a virtual world, the value of awareness, for sponsors, shifts away from signs and towards tools that make people’s virtual experiences better. It’s about being USEFUL—so sponsors, for example, could offer participants fun, creative backgrounds for their video screens. Patterned wallpaper? Got it. A custom hold or transition screen when people pause or move from session-to-session? You bet! Find the gaps in your design or event structure for opportunities to place sponsors at center stage. And it doesn’t have to be static either—animation, demos—you can punctuate your experience like TV itself with short “commercial” breaks. Video filters are a great way to get out-of-the-box too, and they allow participants to customize their experience, such as setting the screen to a black-and-white filter for a film noir look, or adding funny virtual hats to whoever is speaking—it can take what feels like bland and impersonal, to unique and fun. Whatever you do, think beyond the pop-up banner.


Secret #4: Go Meta and Offer an Experience Within the Experience 

There’s what folks say on a video conference, and then what they do the rest of the time. Sponsors can help participants stay engaged with topics—e.g. with fun polls and chat forums, or playful stickers that people can use to interact with each other. If a participant likes what someone said, let sponsors underwrite an award or review function so you can send someone a gold star or a virtual high-five.  


Secret #5: Sponsor Negative Space, Too, Because Break Time is Prime Time

At the end of the day, we’re all human, and can only concentrate for so long. Sponsors can benefit from that by using that negative virtual space, too. Post a 5-minute yoga stretching tutorial after every speech or working session to get people up and moving, or host a wrap party at the end of your event with a local band streaming live music. By building entertainment into the work experience, sponsors can improve it. 


Secret #6: Deliveries Still Happen, so Swag Still Works

Just because we can’t be in-person together, doesn’t mean we can’t amp up the experience in-person for each participant. Send sponsored swag ahead of the time, like a color-coded shirt they’ll need for an in-event ice breaker (all red shirts, show us your dance moves after session 1!), or something useful, like blue-light filtering glasses so they can enjoy the event headache-free. These gifts can increase engagement, and are nice, thoughtful surprises that say “we value you and your business.”  


Secret #7: Sponsor Ideas, Not Events 

What do your customers want? Ask them! Put your dollars into a collaborative working session to uncover insights that will help drive sales. Working with a spontaneous think tank like Haute Dokimazo gives you the benefit of tailoring events exactly to your desired outcomes, so you can have ongoing, fruitful conversations with the decision-makers that drive real business value. 


Need help or advice? Email [Nicole@HauteDokimazo.com] and explore how Haute Dokimazo can help your team create more meaningful connections while remote.

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