I’ve been working with the talented team of 360Fashion to prepare an upcoming fashion & technology runway show, highlighting global innovation in these fields. We’ve spent months preparing and nurturing mutually beneficial “in-kind” sponsorship relationships providing 360Fashion collaboration opportunities with a variety of industry experts and organizations. 360Fashion is allowing me share some of our takeaways from this experience with you. Below are areas of focus we used when negotiating these agreements. This information is not intended to be used a legal advice, but can be starting point for additional research. Please contact an attorney before drafting or signing sponsorship agreements.
Duties of Sponsor
“In-kind” sponsors offer tangible goods or services to the support the event, instead of the traditional payment for sponsorship recognition. For products, you may be asking for items such as mannequins, artistic works, flowers, snacks and drinks. Duties to discuss for tangible product in-kind sponsors include quantity of products to be provided, approval over the type of look of of products, delivery for products, and serving or display of products at the event.
For service provider in-kind sponsors, you may want to negotiate this contract like a typical independent contractor relationship, with the exception that the in-kind sponsor will be receiving promotional and publicity benefits in lieu of payment. Be clear about the tasks the sponsor will be responsible for completing and a timeline for completion. Even more than with products, as the fashion event producer, you likely may want to build in approval points within the timeline to ensure that the intended vision is being carried out.
Ownership & Use of Collaboration Projects
Some in-kind sponsors may be creating portions of the exhibits, garments for the runway, photography, or completing other creative projects for the purpose of making the event a success. After the show is over, the producer and the In-kind sponsor may each have separate desires for how the finished projects can be used in the future and which party will own the finished project.
Presentation & Exhibition Roles
For our upcoming event, we have both exhibition booths and live on-runway presentations. For some sponsors, offering or requesting a live performance or demonstration is an essential piece of the agreement. In certain cases, you may wish to have sponsors work together in developing the content for the event. Make sure the agreement includes the type of presentation offered, the time given for the presentation, content required, visual aids and corresponding equipment if necessary, and any encouraged or required collaborations with other sponsors or participants.
VIP Lists / Guests
When in-kind sponsors are not being compensated for their work beyond marketing and publicity opportunities, the guest list can be a crucial valuation point. In-kind sponsors may request that certain people or demographics are invited to the event. Additionally they may request reserved tickets or seats to strategically give away to their contacts. Taking into consideration space restrictions, think holistically about what your planned sponsors will want or need within the attendee pool before guaranteeing an individual sponsor a number of tickets, seats, or guestlist inclusion.
Alternatively, you may be requesting that an in-kind sponsor to invite certain people or the general public to your event, particularly if one of your in-kind sponsors is a PR company or media source. If this is the case, the producer of the event may wish to establish an approval process for curating the invite or RSVP list. Discuss and implement a system that will allow a smooth acceptance process.
Promotional Placement & Recognition
Highlighting the involvement of in-kind sponsors will likely be a huge talking-point for your agreement. Each side needs to clearly identify how the in-kind sponsor will receive promotional benefits. The sponsor may request its logo or brand name on marketing materials, invitations, events webpages, signs, banners, and programs. Be very clear about sizing and location, as prominence is often a sticking point for negotiations.
Additionally, sponsor may ask for more creative promotion, such as interviews on media sites or business or discount cards to be placed in gift bags. Clarify in the agreement what the producer will need in order to achieve these goals, such as logo files, media or text content for the promotions.
Social Media Interaction
Because social media is often an essential part of communicating with potential customers or clients, In-Kind sponsors may ask for opportunities to have social media interaction as part of the event. This may include developing a hashtag for the event that includes the sponsor’s name or creating chat event with sponsor on a social media platform. Producers and potential In-Kind sponsors can social media as an opportunity to develop creative marketing strategies and should include these plans in the sponsorship agreement.
Restrictions on Sponsor Recruitment
Sponsors (in-kind and paid) may be protective over the opportunity to reach the audience attending the event and those who the event are promoted to. However, the producer may need several similar companies participating in the event, to make the event a success. Producers should discuss with the sponsors the potential for competitions to be involved and limitations on sponsorship recruitment that are comfortable for both parties, creating a meaningful opportunity for all involved.
One last fine piece of discussion should be confidentiality expectations on both sides. The producer of the event may wish to keep portions of the event planning private from the public or particular third-parties. Additionally In-Kind sponsors may be working on projects with the goal for releasing the projects for public view at the event. As the parties work together, make sure everyone is clear as to what information may be released, when that information can be released, and to who that information may be released to.
Events like the upcoming 360Fashion Fashion & Tech Innovations Awards are moments of impressive collaboration by a large group of diverse organizations. To make the event a success for everyone giving time and resources, the producer must be careful in setting up relationships, and in promising promotional exposure to In-Kind sponsors. With formalized sponsorship agreements in place, each party can ideally understand they benefits they will be receiving and how the in-kind sponsors will contribute to the goals of the producer.
For answers to questions on this post topic, or for more information on developing sponsorship agreements from Law On The Runway, please email Rachel@lawontherunway.