Whether you are going into your fashion week activation with a healthy budget or not, there is a market for brands that want to be associated with these events and engage the same audience you do. Acquiring great fitting partners, or sponsors, is an age-old practice that will enhance your show and can help finance some or all if it. I’m going to share a few pointers to help you understand how this crucial part of the events industry works.
Time is not on your side – If you’re not organized and ready to plan a campaign to solicit partnerships 6 -8 months prior to your activation, you’re up against a number of challenges.
First, companies need ample time to vet your proposal and prepare their activations should they decide to work with you. You may have a clearly perfect fitting brand in your eyes, but if they are not given the time they need to gauge the potential and strategize their campaign, they are going to be wasting time and money. You don’t want them doing that. You want them to realize your value, courtesy and organization so they are not only being provided a powerful branding and industry engagement platform, but they will be ensured that they are working with a partner who is on top of their game and will yield them ROI.
Depending on the size of your proposal, you have to take into consideration that with most brands there is budget-planning season from the beginning of October through mid December, where a good portion of marketing and sponsorship budgets are planned. This means a lot of their dollars are assigned to or earmarked for specific events and initiatives during this time, for the upcoming year.
In a nutshell… be proactive and plan way ahead! There are agencies out there that can be retained for assisting with sponsorships, even at this smaller activation level. Ask around!
Valuation of Your Assets – Consult with your PR agency, other seasoned designers and the Fashion Week producers if you need help gauging the value of and illustrating sponsorship levels you’ll make available to potential partners. Your assets are not only your new line and the PR you bring to the table, but you also want to capitalize on all the other value associated with the Fashion Week. Leave no stone unturned and you’ll have a better chance at getting the contributions you seek.
Have a skilled designer build your sponsor deck and/or proposal and include as many attractive deliverables or benefits as possible for each level of sponsorship you propose. And don’t ever fall short of seeing each of them through!
The Roadshow – Once you are 100% on what your show activation will entail and you have this crucial tool (your deck/proposal) polished up and ready to share, you and/or your retained sponsorship agency can hit the ground running. You should first figure out which categories you want to bring on to partner that will best compliment your show, making sure you are within guidelines and your categories and specific brands aren’t a conflict with any other existing sponsors.
You want to find the right person at each company to get your opportunity in front of, and many times that person is at the local level, sometimes it is best to communicate to the brands’ PR team, others it’s a brand manager or someone who holds a specific event sponsorship director, or VP of Marketing. Unfortunately it is seldom the same position from company to company and you have to do leg work to get it to the right person or team.
A short and sweet pristine presentation with pertinent information is key, including testimonials, past press successes, distribution locations and that juicy list of deliverables and benefits to the brand are all going to get you pushed up toward the top of the list. And believe me… there is a looooong list.
Brands are hit up multiple times daily and it is difficult for them to even see all of the opportunities that get sent their way, so don’t be discouraged, follow up, and pitch as many good fitting brands as you can.
Good luck and we hope to see you out there soon!!
About Greg Bloom
Greg Bloom is the founder of Sponsorship and Event Solutions Agency LA-Bloom based in Santa Monica. LA-Bloom identify and secure brand partners/sponsors to activate with events, venues and humanitarian initiatives they are partnered with around the country and other parts of the world. These include sporting events, concerts and festivals, fashion weeks, album release performances, humanitarian initiatives, awards weekend events, and more.
La-Blooms 25+ partnerships throughout the year offer brands consumer engagement opportunities on all verticals… experientially on site with celebrities and influencers, and to millions through press coverage, branded digital content and numerous social media channels.
Notes for New York Fashion Week:
Notes for New York Fashion Week is a series of top tips from fashion industry professionals to prepare independent fashion designers for their fashion week runway show. From public relations to creative planning, from guest lists to collection preparation and more it covers the key components to create a successful runway show during New York Fashion Week.
If you are a fashion industry professional interested to share your expertise with independent fashion designers please email firstname.lastname@example.org with more information about your company.
Nolcha Fashion Week: New York, founded by Kerry Bannigan and Arthur Mandel, is a leading award winning event held during New York Fashion Week hosting independent fashion designer runway shows.