Continuing their training at last weekend’s Rallye de France Alsace, the FIA WRC Academy crews were given a lesson in obtaining, maintaining and optimising sponsorship from the Director of Think!Sponsorship, Catherine Hawkins.
Delivering know-how to the UK market place, Think!Sponsorship is an industry leader – offering services used by sponsors, sponsor agencies and sponsorship seekers from across the sports, arts, charity, broadcasting, local council, music, entertainment and media sectors.
In her informative lecture to the WRC Academy crews, Hawkins confirmed the fundamentals of sponsorship in addition to explaining how to identify potential backers and determine the most efficient support model for each individual crew.
Focussing on each crew in turn, Hawkins encouraged the competitors to analyse their current sponsorship models before making her own recommendations for improvement and explaining how to best optimise the use of social media as one of the biggest platforms for recognition and notoriety in the modern world.
Supported by Ford Racing in Europe and with control tyres from Pirelli, the WRC Academy crews will next tackle the season finale in Spain where they will be looking to put all that they have learnt into practice for the 2013 season and beyond.
John MacCrone said:
“The Think!Sponsorship seminar was really good and really useful for next year – Catherine [Hawkins] clearly knows her stuff and it was great to have the opportunity to learn from someone at the top of their field once again. She basically told us what sponsorship is – it sounds obvious but there is so much more to it than people think.
“I think the most useful piece of information was about the role of social media. Catherine told us that, contrary to what most people think, social media is not as important as it used to be and that ‘likes’ on Facebook, for example, don’t carry the same gravitas as they once did.
“She told us that we should look to put more work into our own websites and use social media as an added extra, as opposed to the other way around. This is definitely something that I will take on board and I’ll look to develop my website further for next season.”
Catherine Hawkins said:
”It was great to meet the next generation of World Rally drivers and I was impressed with their pragmatic approach to securing sponsorship. In a tough economic period they are managing to maximise their sponsorship assets to find and deliver value to businesses which is extremely impressive to see.
“Throughout our session I was conscious of the challenge the [WRC] Academy drivers face in balancing excellence in the competitive environment whilst also developing their commercial acumen. I wish all the teams every success with their continued development, both on and off the rally circuit!”
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