How To Get Outdoor Sponsorship: It’s a familiar scenario – you drive the same roads daily to and from work, passing a sign that mentions a company that has “adopted a highway.” You may give little thought to it the first time you cruise by, yet over and over again, their name and logo catch your eye. Before long, that brand has established top-of-mind solid awareness simply through the repetition and visibility of roadside signage.
Outdoor sponsorship, like highway adoption or signage, provides unmatched exposure for brands looking to drive awareness. Yet many businesses don’t realize how attainable and affordable this effective advertising channel can be.
In a world that puts a far greater emphasis on digital paid advertising, the tried-and-true outdoor sponsorship has been left (literally) on the side of the road. Yet the number of drivers continues to increase, and the amount of time they spend on the road is only going up. Outdoor sponsorship provides an invaluable chance for brands to make their mark – literally and figuratively.
Is your Texas business looking for an effective way to maximize its reach? At Texas Sponsor A Highway®, we make connecting your brand with drivers in your area easy. Let’s look at how easy it is to get started – and the benefits of gaining a foothold in a 24/7 roadside ad space.
What is Outdoor Sponsorship?
There’s more to outdoor sponsorship than you may expect. In most cases, outdoor sponsorship involves the placement of an advertisement on a billboard or other physical structure. This form of advertising has existed since the 1950s, though it continues to be just as effective – if not more so – than ever before.
Some of the most common types of outdoor sponsorship opportunities include:
- Highway Sponsorship Programs: State departments of transportation offer paid sponsorship of highway signs and adopt-a-highway programs. Sponsors get their name/logo on signs along the highway and recognition for helping keep the roads clean and maintained.
- Street Furniture Sponsorship: Bus stops, park benches, trash bins, and other street furniture can be sponsored, giving brands advertising space in exchange for providing amenities.
- Traffic Median Sponsorship: Medians and islands in high-traffic areas can be sponsored to display advertisements aimed at passing cars.
- Mural Sponsorships: Sponsors pay for large murals and get branding incorporated into the artwork.
- Adopt-A-Street Programs: Local governments allow businesses to adopt streets in exchange for cleaning and maintenance. The sponsor’s name is displayed on signs.
Reaching The Socially Aware Consumer
It’s not just sponsoring a road or traffic median that can help your brand. Going beyond traditional sponsorships and taking an active role in the community will get you noticed by the socially-aware consumers of today.
Social Responsibility Initiatives: Partnering with local organizations on initiatives related to sustainability or environmentalism is a great way to ensure people know that your business cares about the world around it.
Educational Programs: Businesses can collaborate with schools and universities to provide students with educational opportunities that could lead to future careers. This type of partnership can also help spread the word about your brand.
Local Events: Partnering with local events and festivals is a great way to get your brand out there in an organic way. People will be more likely to engage and interact with your business if they know that you are part of their community.
When the community sees your brand actively supporting the local area, they will be likelier to look you up and know who you are and why you’ve been interested. That socially-driven attitude is key to reaching an ever-growing audience of consumers who want their favorite business to stand for something beyond money.
How to Get Outdoor Sponsorship
If you’re ready to see the ROI of an outdoor sponsorship, you can get started faster than you think! But like any marketing and engagement technique, a proper strategy is key.
1. Determine If Your Brand is a Good Fit
Not all brands may be suited for outdoor sponsorship opportunities. After all, you’ll want your brand to be represented in the best possible light. You might be ready to move forward if you have a professional company logo, tagline, and mission statement representative of your values. Think about your:
- Target Demographic: Do people in your target audience frequently commute by car or travel on highways? Outdoor ads along roads will have the most impact on automotive-based target markets.
- Branding: Make sure your brand identity aligns with the context of roadside advertising. Consider how your logo and colors will translate to highway signage.
- Budget: Highway and street sponsorships vary in cost but require ongoing spend. Most operate on an Average Daily Traffic scale – with higher-traffic roads requiring higher costs.
- Regulations: Ensure you know any specific regulations that may apply to your market(s). Some governments and cities have restrictions on roadside advertising placements or placement locations.
Once you’ve determined that an outdoor sponsorship suits your brand, it’s time to find the best options.
Research Relevant Programs
Once you’ve determined outdoor sponsorship could be beneficial, the next step is finding specific opportunities.
Depending on the type of sponsorship you’re looking for, research programs that have a proven track record and longevity. Look at ones with high visibility and those that offer unique experiences or value-add to your target audience.
- Search “[your state] Department of Transportation highway sponsorship” for state-level programs. For example, the Texas Sponsor a Highway program is an excellent way to find the best outdoor sponsorships in that state.
- Look into “adopt a highway” or “adopt a street” programs run by your state or local city/county.
- Search for terms like “road sponsorship [your city]” or “traffic median sponsorship [your region]”
- Check municipal sites for sponsorships like bus stops, park benches, murals, etc.
- Contact local businesses with outdoor sponsorships and ask how they secured it.
Regardless of your search for opportunities, don’t forget to vet any potential partner for safety and legal considerations. The key is ensuring the partnership benefits your business and its intended audience.
Create a Sponsorship Proposal
Create a sponsorship proposal to pitch your brand when you’ve identified a promising opportunity. Include key details like:
- An overview of your company, brand values, target audience, and how they align with the program.
- The benefits of partnering with your brand and expected outcomes (awareness, community support, etc).
- Specific ideas you have to leverage the sponsorship, like social media promotions, press releases, events, etc., that will provide value to the program.
The program may sometimes require an application or other forms to complete. Make sure you read and understand all the details so that you can successfully submit your proposal.
Don’t forget to include a budget outline in your proposal, too. This will help ensure both parties are on the same page about what is expected from the sponsorship and how much money is being invested.
Contact Program Managers
With your proposal ready, contact the department or organization running the program. Explain why your company and the program are a great fit, and provide examples of how you plan to promote the partnership.
Be flexible and willing to work with any restrictions or guidelines they may have for sponsorships. After all, you’ll want to ensure that your placement is as successful for them as it is for you!
Negotiate an Agreement
Once the program manager expresses interest, work to negotiate a sponsorship agreement. You’ll want to get every detail in writing, including the amount of money or services being exchanged, what will be included in the sponsorship (such as advertising or event presence), and any other relevant information.
Be sure to review the agreement with a fine-toothed comb to ensure it is satisfactory for your business and that you are getting the most out of the partnership.
- Exact sign locations, size, brand name/logo placement, etc., to maximize visibility.
- Usage rights for your brand identity on signs, websites, and related materials.
- The duration of the sponsorship, renewal options, and termination policies.
- All costs involved – sponsorship fees, production of signs/materials, maintenance, etc.
Enjoy Your Outdoor Sponsorship
Once approved, it’s time to start enjoying the benefits of your outdoor sponsorship! As drivers or passersby take in your message, be sure to track the success of the outdoor sponsorship.
Track any impact on sales, website visits, or other relevant metrics. Also, consider how well you are engaging with the community and whether there are additional steps you can take to increase that engagement.
Looking For An Effective Outdoor Sponsorship in Texas? Start with Texas Sponsor A Highway®
Are you looking to enhance your brand’s visibility in Texas? Consider the Texas Sponsor A Highway® program, a unique opportunity for businesses to connect with their audience and contribute to the community.
A collaboration between the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Sponsor A Highway®, offering businesses a distinctive way to increase their brand visibility while helping to maintain a clean and safe environment. Through this program, companies can contribute towards the upkeep of highway stretches while having their message placed on specially designed roadside signs.
Texas Sponsor A Highway® operates in various Texas markets, including Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Midland Odessa, and Lubbock – giving you access to the most valuable drivers in the state.
Join us as we continue to make a difference on Texas’ roads. Your sponsorship helps us to keep our roads safe and beautiful while also giving you the chance to get your message in front of our great state!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the Texas Sponsor A Highway Program?
Texas Sponsor A Highway is a partnership between TxDOT and TSAH, allowing businesses to sponsor roadside maintenance and beautification efforts. Sponsors receive a recognition panel with their name and logo for each mile sponsored.
- How much does it cost to sponsor a highway?
The cost varies based on the Average Daily Traffic (ADT) of the roadway. High-traffic areas have a higher monthly fee, with discounts for non-profits and multiple area sponsorships. Contact the Texas Sponsor A Highway program for more specific cost information.
- What are the benefits of sponsoring a highway?
Sponsors gain statewide recognition as their name and logo are displayed prominently on roadside signs. In addition, sponsors benefit from being associated with environmental stewardship initiatives and community development efforts.
- What does the recognition panel look like?
Each sponsored segment has a 56”x20” recognition panel on the freeway shoulder. TSAH’s art department assists in designing this for the best visibility and helping you get the most for your sponsorship.
- How long does a sponsorship agreement last?
Each agreement lasts two years, with the option to renew every two years.
- What is the process duration from agreement to sign installation?
It takes an average of 70 days from signing the agreement to installing the sign, ensuring the process is as efficient and straightforward as possible.