Nice surprise to find myself on the back cover of this months Classic & Sportcar magazine, in a full page advert for EFG Private Bank which features me driving Stefan Ziegler's glorious D-Type Jaguar at last year's Le Mans Classic. It occurred to me that this is yet another good example of EFG's impressive approach to sponsorship activation.
EFG have long been a supporter of historic motorsport and in my opinion have the right approach for two key reasons:
- They take a long term view: despite their main goal being to network and secure new customers from the lucrative historic racing paddocks, they don't 'ram' their sales message down participants' throats. Instead prefer to quietly nurture personal relationships, over multiple years if necessary, by supporting the hobby that their target clients are so passionate about. They do this by sponsoring the series to pay for tangible, 'feel-good', items such as trophies, nice hospitality and catering, welcome events and parties. Eventually, these social functions fuel a trusting relationship between EFG's representatives and their target customers - the participants and car owners, who soon welcome a 'business chat' in the informal surroundings of the race paddock.
- EFG's activation of the sponsorship is also bang on. Private banks vary in their levels of brand recognition and EFG recognise that what matters is to become known only by their target market. Therefore focused advertising in classic car publications - be that established national magazines such as Classic & Sportscar, or the informal race series newsletters - is an efficient way of building the brand to the people that count.
If more companies followed EFG's example of playing the 'long game', and apportioned sufficient additional budgets for real activation of their sponsorships, they'd realise that motorsport sponsorship can - and should in fact - be a profitable activity.