How To Do Sponsorship Right: Chick-Fil-A Bowl

If you turn on the television tonight, before you go out for your New Year's bash, you'll likely see the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

I'm sure it will be a good one between Georgia Tech and the LSU Tigers.

But the reason I'm writing about this is because, in a world where so many sponsorships don't make sense, this one is probably among the best I've ever seen. Why? Because the people at the privately-run chicken chain really understand how to stand out.

Here are five things the sports marketing world can learn from Chick-Fil-A's sponsorship of this bowl game.

5.Make sure you are relevant and stand out.

The folks at Chick-Fil-A made sure that they weren't competing against any other bowl game with their time slot. They also renegotiated their contract with ESPN and awarded a bigger payout to climb up to a more relevant bowl game with better teams.

4.Your sponsorship should make sense.

Don't buy a property because your CEO is a fan and wants a couple handshakes. Make sure it makes sense. Chick-Fil-A rationalizes this spend because it sees itself as more of an upscale quick service restaurant that is more likely to have college educated consumers.

3. Be geographically smart.

Chick-Fil-A is in Atlanta. They bought the former Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The teams that play in their bowl games are in the ACC and SEC, which constitutes more than 60 percent of their footprint. The event itself is pretty well located so that they usually can have at least one team within a short driving distance, one of the reasons why this game has sold out for 12 straight years.

2. Spend more money with fewer partnerships.

Chick-Fil-A makes this bowl game one of three national events, chosing to spend more on fewer properties. "Coca-Cola has been a great big brother to us," Chick-Fil-A's president and COO Dan Cathy told me. "They told us for every $1 you spend, you have to spend $4 to activate it. We've followed that model."

1. Know what's good and stick with it.

Companies are constantly shifting around their commitment to properties, which in the end only hurts the brand. Because Chick-Fil-A is private, they don't have to listen to shareholders or any outside forces who might want one thing the one day and something else the next.

"There's really only five of us in the room," Cathy said. "That's it. We sit around a table and stick to what we believe in thanks to stable a stable ownership, management philosophy and business strategy. We're not going to hold our finger in the air and decide what to do based on which way the wind is going."

Questions? Comments?