KELOWNA - The City of Kelowna has about $1 million worth of untapped sponsorship and advertising opportunities in and around its various buildings and facilities.
Getting at that revenue will require Kelowna to make some decisions about who they want to sell them to and how they’re going to do it.
And concerns remain amongst the city’s non-profit sector, heavily reliant on event sponsorship as a fundraising tool, about how a more formal sponsorship program could affect their own revenues.
Sponshorship consultant Brent Barootes told councillors Monday morning, June 13, the city already has its toe in the advertising market through Kelowna International Airport.
However Barootes told councillors airport advertising for real estate developments and restaurants is much different than branding an aquatic centre or a park and that any policy would have to consider the differences between intrusive advertising and corporate sponsorship.
To define the difference, Barootes quoted one of his competitors.
“Sponsorhip reaches people in an environment that matches their lifestyle rather than intrudes upon it. Sponsorship speaks to the public, not at them,” he said.
Barootes said the city will be in good company should it proceed more agressively to raise money through sponsorship, a move he says most Canadians favour.
Some 85 per cent of Canadians in a 2015 poll believe companies should be able to sponsor public spaces, Barootes said, although just 49 per cent believe companies should be allowed to retitle existing buildings named after prominent citizens or community benefactors.
Should a company enter into a sponsorship or advertising contract with a city, 75 per cent say it should not receive preferential treatment for other contracts or services it could potentially provide the city.
A survey on sponsorship and naming rights by the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing shows two-thirds are already involved in some form of corporate engagement.
The most common asset Canadian municipalities have are naming rights, followed by events and programs, although Barootes urged councillors to think beyond traditional forms of advertising.
Barootes said developing an effective sponsorship and advertising policy is a six-step process and the city has already completed the first step putting a value on its advertising assets.
And depending on how the city administers the program, either through a private company or in-house or somewhere in between, the time it will take to see revenue will be affected.
Communications supervisor Jodie Foster told councillors staff currently favour a hybrid model, with some functions kept in-house and others farmed out, although council will ultimately get to decide when the fully formed sponsorship and advertising policy returns to council for formal adoption this fall.
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