Acknowledging someone’s contribution to society is always important. It honours the achievements of passionate and hard working individuals and gives inspiration to those who would follow their example. It is even more important to celebrate the achievements of visible minorities and immigrants, whose victories are not so easily won. But, it can also be a perfect opportunity for businesses to put their brand ‘on the map’ by either sponsoring, hosting, or attending an event.
The benefits of involving yourself in these events cannot be taken for granted. Cultural events are a great way to familiarise yourself and your business with a certain cultural community. “It’s so important for any community,” explains Honore Gbedze, editor at Afro News, whose publication just finished hosting the 5th year of the Sage Foundation Awards, which recognises excellence in our multicultural society. “It reminds us all how important it is to invest in our cultural communities,” says Gbedze. “And [awards like these] not only inspire people, but they elevate the profile of the entire country. After all, we’re all Canadians.”
A savvy businessperson can also learn a great deal by just observing a few events. Attend these functions, and when you are there, mingle, talk to the hosts and guests, and learn what things they value. Build new and deeper community networks. These kinds of ceremonies provide you with free demographic research, but better yet, it’s a time to make you, and eventually your business, a familiar name within that cultural community. It’s branding, but in a real, visceral way.
We are not saying go to every multicultural awards gala and start furiously handing out business cards or pamphlets. That would be tacky and not to mention disrespectful. Nor should you organise an event to disguise a hidden sales pitch. People can often sniff out when you are not being genuine and pandering to a community just to get a sale will not go over well. Instead, we suggest you attend a few of these events throughout the year. See what’s already out there and how things are done. You will have a better idea of how to proceed when it comes to organising or sponsoring your own event.
After all, sponsorship can do many wonderful things, such as:
- it can increase brand loyalty
- it can strengthen, or differentiate, an existing brand image.
- it can create company or product awareness, and maximize visibility
- it can be a way to celebrate your company’s successes and inspire your employees.
- it is also a subtle way to recruit, retain or motivate your employees and foster talent within your organisation.
- it can also have a very real effect on your bottom line. Sponsorship can even drive retail traffic and an increase in sales.
After all, who doesn’t love a company that gives back? Corporate social responsibility is sexy and consumers love to know that the brands they use also care about them and their communities. “At the end of the day, sponsorship will always make your company more successful,” explains Gbedze. ” There are so many businesses out there. People look and see what brands are giving back to local communities and that’s where they decide to spend their money.” That’s why sponsoring or hosting an event, especially an awards event, will naturally enhance your company’s credibility.
That is why, this year, Drishti Magazine will be hosting the first ever Drishti Awards, honouring members in the South Asian community who have contributed to society in various ways, with special acknowledgement for innovative and inspirational leaders in ten categories such as innovation in the arts, science and technology and their very special ‘Phoenix Award’, which celebrates the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. “These awards will also bring youth to the forefront,” explains Nawal Tandon from Drishti Magazine. “They’ll learn how wonderful it is to be an asset to the country. The [honorees] are role models. They have reached a certain level of success and can be an inspiration to young people.”
An awards event can also serve to educate the public about your business. Have the public sample a new product or educate them about how to use your new service. With your sponsored event, you now have the perfect opportunity to spread the word about your brand.
To have a successful event, though, you will also need a culturally-minded marketer. This should be someone who is familiar with the target community. They can act as a brand ambassador, translator, and also as a liaison who can broach the cultural demographic you want to reach. They can help you host the event, promote it through targeted advertising, and more importantly, they can help you craft an event that will really showcase and highlight your brand.
Want to learn more about cultural events throughout the year?
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Reference article: “Why Do Companies Sponsor Charitable Events?” By Joanne Fritz, Nonprofit Charitable Orgs expert; About.com
Images: Courtesy of Afro News, the Sage Foundation, Drishti Magazine and Flickr Creative commons (top image)