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Stellar Partnerships

Stellar Partnerships: Corporate & Community Partnership

How much is your brand worth?

How much is your brand worth? It’s always been a curly question for nonprofits trying to figure out how to price a corporate partnership. In light of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, we’ve been asked if a brand is worth more if the team wins or loses.*  The prizemoney is smaller but Australia’s new favourite team the Matildas are playing a bigger and longer game than just the next fixture. They’ve raised the profile of women’s sport exponentially, showed there is enormous untapped commercial value for corporates and inspired the next generation of women and girls. Yes, it would have been great to be in the final, but the penalty shoot-out was so thrilling it made defibrillators redundant across the nation. Heart rates are still recovering.

Corporate brands have missed the opportunity already by underestimating the intangible value of the Matildas. They made assumptions about game attendance, audiences and online traffic and didn’t put any effort into the pre-World cup build-up. They were scrambling to respond when people clamoured for merchandise, content and tickets. Contrast this with the Barbie movie when every brand had their take on pink. And this was for a film based on a plastic doll.

Myths around brand valuation and pricing can hold you back from realising the full potential of a partnership and failing to set the best price.

Myth #1 –there is an objective ‘true’ value

Truth: there is no single price. All valuations are biased in some way.

It’s tempting to want a definitive answer to the question of how much your brand is worth. It might make you feel more confident in making the ask to a corporate partner, but you could be leaving significant value on the table. People working in sports sponsorships like to put a media value on TV rights, eyes on billboards at the ground and advertising slots. But in reality, that’s only a narrow, marketing focused view of a brand. A partnership with you as a nonprofit will offer so many more dimensions of value, not just your marketing assets.  You need to think like an airline. The price of a flight in mid-February is not the same as one that gets you to the same place on Christmas Eve. Airlines adjust their price based on their knowledge of you as a consumer and a bunch of supply and demand factors. Getting to know the priorities and pain points of your partner will give you a much better guide to what they value, rather than some marketing consultant who tells you your brand is worth $100k. Like selling snow boots in Hawaii, It could be worth nothing to a partner who’s looking for something different.

Myth #2 – thinking that valuation is a science

Truth- valuations combine numbers with stories and emotions

If anyone tried to value the Matildas’ brand before the FIFA World Cup, they might have looked at attendance and tickets. But 11 million Australians tuned in to be part of the inspiration, excitement and generation changing moments. The team didn’t finish as world champions, but the value of their brand has soared beyond expectations. The emotions and stories are creating their own value.  The 9 year old girl to whom Sam Kerr gifted her shirt was bombarded with media appearances and interviews from 6am the following morning. Partnerships are an equal measure of heart and head, so don’t restrict yourself by viewing your own value as a purely scientific exercise.

Myth#3 – quantitative and complex makes it more credible

Truth- simplicity is better. The more elements, the more likely they can be challenged.

If you approach a partner with an ask that prices every single element separately, you’ll get a response that challenges your assumptions and cherry-picks the best bits. Your partnership pricing needs to encompass the tangible and intangible parts of your offering and give them a wrapped-up price. Keep it as simple as possible (note- this doesn’t mean packaging or tiers!) and make it easy for them to say yes. You’ll also be able to include a decent amount of overhead costs.

Partnership pricing needs to consider the head and the heart, demand and supply, mood and momentum. It’s not scientific, it’s about what people are willing to pay at that given time. Don’t forget that pricing can be detached from underlying value. The toilet roll wars of 2020 are a prime example. You make assumptions and estimates based on what you’ve gleaned from discovery meetings with corporate prospects and then come up with a price that provides value to you both.

Don’t fall into the trap of valuation myths and let them hold you back from a bold and big ask. Holding fast to a random number may give you short-term confidence but won’t allow you any room to manoeuvre.

As for the beloved Matildas, the last word goes to the awesome Alicia McKay. “Maybe we should be talking about how sorry we are for being ignorant, rather than patting ourselves on the back for noticing how good they are”.

What’s certain is that corporates will no longer underestimate the value of the Matildas’ brand. What will you do differently to unleash the full power of your NFP brand?

*thanks to the lovely Bambi at Neighbourhood Watch for posing the question this week!