Vijay Renganathan (Head of Solutions at Synthesio) joined Jimmy Goodrich (VP of EMEA Marketing at Monster Energy),  Mo Fadl (Head of UK Esports at Riot Games) and moderator Niall Coen (CEO, Snack Media) at SportsPro’s The Brand Conference in London to discuss how social intelligence tools are evolving sports sponsorship. Here are some of the highlights…

“Using social intelligence tools, brands are tracking not only how they perform globally, but how they perform across different segments and platforms.”

The panel kicked off by agreeing that they are seeing brands shift toward data-driven micro-targeting. The great sports sponsorship opportunities are tracking overall performance globally, and also tracking performance at an audience-segment and platform-level. Vijay spoke about how brands are leveraging social intelligence tools to drive more strategic sponsorship decisions: “It’s no longer about ‘Did the billboard get seen by a million people?’ It’s about which people, and are these the people who are likely to buy. With social media we have the data, and can measure it.”




“It’s about the personalities and the people who are talking.”

Mo Fadl spoke about the challenges of building relevancy to engage with fans. “How can we be authentic, create a movement and build brand awareness? You need to create a meaningful connection.” Brands need to assess how fans are responding to their content. Building stories, engagement, and authenticity with sports fans is critical.

In terms of how to achieve this, Vijay touched on the importance of the personalities associated with a brand — in other words, who’s doing the talking — and how social intelligence tools can help brands choose the right celebrity influencers for their campaign. Synthesio recently did a study on The Masters, evaluating the sponsors and the players. The players landed about 70% of the engagement for brands. The value of this engagement impacts the success of the sports sponsorship. “With social media intelligence, we have the data to peel back the layers and help brands understand who and what people are really latching onto.”

“Engagements aren’t inherently positive, just as followers aren’t inherently positive.”

So what are the next steps for successful sponsorships? Regarding measurement, the panel agreed that we’re seeing more understanding from brands on the value of audience types, beyond the numbers.

Vijay: “Engagements aren’t inherently positive, just as followers aren’t inherently positive. We’re helping brands assess the value of the engagement, taking into account the sentiment, and the emotion — measuring those different slices of the audience, those different personas, and how they’re engaging.” Brands can use social intelligence tools to segment and assess why, for example, their target audience isn’t engaging as positively as they’d expect, but an unexpected audience is engaging.




Jimmy Goodrich agreed that they put themselves in the position of the fans with their sponsorships and treat segments differently: “We look at who the consumer is, what they want, and tailor our sponsorship activity based on that.”

By placing a greater emphasis on audience personas in targeting, we’ve seen a move toward more A/B testing in sports sponsorships. Vijay: “Instead of going big, brands are going small and letting their personality speak. Brands are becoming part of the conversation, and we’re seeing a lot more experimentation.”

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