Reposition and reenergize The Hartford’s profile and brand image among wholesalers, brokers/agents, and consumers by aligning with a premier sports property. Design a B2B marketing program that works to improve perceptions of The Hartford, as well as drive face-to-face relationship management with key brokers/agents.
Sponsorship Consulting & Negotiations
SportsMark began by developing a corporate sports marketing and media strategy that provided utility to all business units within The Hartford. We determined jointly with The Hartford that the NCAA was the ideal fit to meet the client’s objectives, based on a strategic evaluation of multi-tiered objectives and target fit analytics. SportsMark developed a negotiation strategy and terms, before leading the sponsorship negotiations process for The Hartford.
Sponsorship Activation & Management
SportsMark developed a multi-tiered activation platform around the NCAA partnership, leveraging both local and national assets to deliver a comprehensive program for customers and consumers.
- NCAA Championships
SportsMark designed a high profile customer development program around the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and seven other NCAA Championship events. Over the duration of the Men’s Tournament, SportsMark produces and manages 47 hospitality events in all 12 tournament markets, allowing targeted participation by various levels of wholesalers and brokers/agents. In addition, SportsMark manages full-service hospitality programs in the Final Four host cities for multiple business units.
- National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC)
SportsMark developed a relationship with the NABC, resulting in high profile NCAA coaches and personality appearances in all four regional markets and at the Final Four. Coaches’ appearances include a chalk talk, game day analysis, and autograph session.
- Playbook for Life
In conjunction with The Hartford’s PR group, SportsMark assisted in the development and currently helps activate the “Playbook for Life” program, a new educational campaign and tour to help NCAA student-athletes better plan for their financial future after college.
- NCAA Kids Clinics
SportsMark produces basketball clinics for The Hartford broker clients and their children, while focusing on the importance of education and understanding coaching and playing fundamentals. SportsMark handles school selection and negotiations with approximately six clinics per year, which are conducted at elite NCAA Division I college arenas with head and assistant coaches and player instructors.
- NCAA Championship Events
In conjunction with the NCAA, SportsMark has developed unique access opportunities for The Hartford’s brokers, agents, and employees at select NCAA Championships throughout the year. Unique access opportunities include behind the scenes tours, entry to team press conferences, and other exclusive access events, depending on the championship.
These events annually impact over 10,000 customers in 25+ markets, with NCAA Tournament advertising and branding reaching 100+ million impressions.
SportsMark worked with The Hartford on post-program measurement tools, which revealed the following:
- The sponsorship is well chosen. The NCAA’s March Madness is a unique sponsorship opportunity. Brokers follow NCAA men’s basketball at nearly double the rate of the population as a whole.
- The sponsorship supports the brand. Overall, the sponsorship continues to support improved favorability, awareness and intent to recommend The Hartford’s products among our key broker constituency.
- The sponsorship helps support sales success. More than a quarter (26%) of brokers aware of the sponsorship tell us that it makes them more likely to recommend The Hartford’s products.
- The sponsorship supports favorable views of the brand. NCAA sponsorship drives increased favorability of The Hartford at a rate nearly 65% greater than industry norms (+33% lift in favorability for The Hartford, compared to a +20% increase for the industry at large).
- The sponsorship improves brand relationships with key brokers. Over 90% of brokers who attend The Hartford NCAA tournament events state that their attitudes toward the brand are more positive.