It can be done without the sweetheart: International attention drawn to Bavarian sponsor
For years medium-sized company BFFT from Ingolstadt has been successfully using sponsorship for corporate communication. The innovative sponsorship concept recently gained international attention on several expert platforms.
Sponsorship is a matter of the heart for the medium-sized automotive engineering developer BFFT from Ingolstadt. However, it is not a “sweetheart deal”. This term is used for sponsorship commitments entered for “love“ of the sponsored and not due to strategic considerations. Among medium-sized companies in particular, this form of support of e.g. a sports club is quite common. In contrast, BFFT has taken on a pioneering role. The BFFT sponsorship concept, divided into “active“ and “passive“ sponsorships, has been systematically growing since 2011. Success factors are the creative activation and focus on emotionalizing with, among other things, the already nationwide popular BFFT Fansofas.
BFFT has been supporting the most internationally successful clubs of the city, FC (1. Bundesliga – 1st national soccer league) and ERC Ingolstadt (German ice hockey league). It is all about “passive“ sports consumption – watch, cheer and thrill – from very special seats: in the Audi Sportpark employees may sit down right by the sidelines and enjoy the Bundesliga “up close“. In the Saturn Arena the BFFT Fansofa is located on a gallery with the best view of the ice rink. Even the local CineStar has been housing a BFFT Fansofa since 2015 that regularly offers employees an exclusive movie experience. The Fansofa-concept strengthens the company identity and employee loyalty as well as the brand recognition and image. Furthermore, BFFT is partner with the greatest popular sports events in the region, Triathlon and Half Marathon Ingolstadt. These “active“ sponsorships give employees the opportunity to actively participate. In addition, they promote identification, engagement, health and internal networking.
The innovative sponsorship concept of the Bavarian company has also drawn international attention: In mid-January 2016, a case study about BFFT as sponsor was published as Best Practice in the trade journal “Sciamus – Sport und Management“. At the beginning of February, BFFT gave a lecture during the SpoBis, Europe‘s biggest sports-business congress in Cologne, i.e. with FC Bayern, Allianz and Adidas. Two weeks later, BFFT took part at a forum at the ERC Partner-Workshop with sponsorship experts such as Audi and Jochen Schweizer on “priceless moments“ in corporate communication.
The “inventor“ of the BFFT Fansofa is Dr. Michael Schilhaneck, Director of Brand Management & Strategic Management: “I am delighted to see that sponsorship among medium-sized companies has become a subject that draws the attention of academics and experts in the industry. It is a great reassurance to us to be recognized as ’hidden champion‘ in those circles.“ And it shows that it can be a profitable deal for medium-sized companies – even without a sweetheart.