United Entertainment Group, part of the global Edelman network, has been at the heart of powerful partnerships for the last ten years. This week UEG’s UK MD Tim Collins spoke at the DMX Marketing Institution Conference in Dublin, on what makes a powerful partnership and why sponsorship revenue increases globally year on year while advertising revenue declines.

Great partnerships continue to deliver all the things that they’ve always delivered. Brand awareness, opportunities to target specific consumer audiences and engagement with customers and employees. Nothing’s changed there but research continues to show how communicating to consumers around the things that they’re passionate about continues to build affinity and advocacy around the sponsoring brand. AEG recently released some data around fans attending live music experiences. 83% of those attending had more trust for brands that sponsored the live events that they were attending. Obviously we have to be a little sceptical around data that is collected by a company that organises live events, but the data we’ve seen from other independent sources seems to back that up. Brands that sponsor the things we love and communicate in an authentic language around our passions have a much better chance of building trust.

Each year at Edelman, we compile a data rich annual report around trust and how trusting we are of businesses, the media, NGOs and governments. Trust, although vitally important to brands persuading us to part with cash, is the one thing that in today’s market place is declining. We are more sceptical about the things we read and the advertising messages we receive on a daily basis. The introduction of fake news means we question the information we’re given from the media. Trust is more important in the way we communicate than ever before.

However, trust is not dead. 72.4% of 16-24 year olds said they were more likely to trust a product or brand that was recommended to them by someone they liked or followed on social media. It’s why influencers are so rich! When international insurance company AIG sponsored the All Blacks in 2012, trust was at an all time low. The financial meltdown of 2008 had left the company needing significant government input just to stay afloat. Putting one of the most successful and professional international rugby teams at the heart of your rebrand and communications was a move that helped them demonstrate to the world that they were back in business. It enabled them to build trust with a programme of employee motivation and broker engagement activated wherever the All Blacks played.

While partnerships continue to provide the chairman with a nice round of golf or tickets to the FA Cup Final or media value and ROI, the real power of a partnership comes from being associated with the things our consumers love and trust and we as marketeers must continue to be creative in finding ways to make those two things rub off on our brands.