CHICAGO: Bank of America, the financial services provider, believes that sponsorship programmes can help meet both brand and business goals, as long as these initiatives are based on a "360-degree approach".

Chris Traeger, svp/partnership marketing at Bank of America, discussed this subject with reference to sport while speaking at IEG's 31st Annual Sponsorship Conference, an event held in Chicago.

"For us, it's not all about brand; it's not all about business. We want to accomplish as many things as we can with our partnerships," he said. (For more, including how Bank of America adapted its strategy before and after the recession, read Warc's exclusive report: How Bank of America developed its partnership with Major League Baseball.)

"It is a 360-degree approach, and it is about capturing the emotive power of these fans in the sports context, and also the passion that people have for their favourite hobbies – music, movies, those sorts of things – and using that to drive our brand and business goals."

One way that this philosophy actively informs the company's strategy is by encouraging a model of activation covering multiple media and touchpoints.

"We don't ever want to just hang a sign, or run an event, or just do a social-media activation, or just do content. We want to do all of that," said Traeger.

"What we feel is: fans aren't fans just when they're sitting in their seats, or just when they're sitting on their couch, or just when they're on their phone. They're fans all the time."

Such an understanding of consumers plays into another core objective for Bank of America – to become a truly customer-centric organisation.

"We're trying to be more customer-centric and really identify with those fans where they are and get them to understand what our company is about through these partnerships," said Traeger.

He was also careful to distinguish between sponsorship and partnership – two terms that are often, somewhat erroneously, used interchangeably by marketers.

Sponsorship might give a brand naming rights or other similar entitlements, but a partnership, according to Traeger, "is really how we manage the sponsorships, and how we interface with our key partners."

Data sourced from Warc