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Corporate Sponsorship Activation Ideas to Elevate Your Partnership 

by | September 13, 2022

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Corporate sponsorship deals are alluring to sponsorship seekers because they usually mean reeling in the big bucks compared to working with smaller sponsors. You don’t get something for nothing in this life, and so you need to offer your corporate prospects excellent activations. What are some good examples?

Here are my favorite corporate sponsorship activation ideas:

  • Larger-than-life art installations
  • Pop-ups
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality 
  • Advocacy

These corporate sponsorship activations utilize some of the biggest experiential marketing trends coming down the pipeline and thus should have an impact on your corporate prospects. Ahead, I’ll explain what works about each one, how to do it, and what kinds of problems these activations can solve.

Larger-Than-Life Art Installations

If you’re working with what you perceive to be a larger-than-life company such as a corporation, then you need a larger-than-life activation idea.

In this case, I’m talking quite literally, such as with an oversized art installation, as seen here.

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Why It Works

Activations are about stopping people from their predetermined paths at an event or even on the street and getting them to engage with your sponsor. 

While you could always rely on a photo wall to do that, that idea is a little run-of-the-mill, especially to a corporate sponsor who’s probably have been pitched activation ideas like that hundreds of times by now.

A larger-than-life art installation is a similar method for grabbing someone’s attention and having them pull out their smartphones to snap photos (and maybe videos) for their social media feeds.

The sheer size of the art installation means that even those who might not normally see your sponsor’s activation might feel inclined to check it out. 

Now, admittedly, you will need a sizable budget for a sizable art piece.

If you’re a small business or a nonprofit who’s hoping to snag a corporate sponsor on a tiny budget, then think of how you can still make a downsized art installation attention-grabbing. 

Perhaps LEDs or sounds? You’ll have to get creative.

Which Corporate Sponsors Benefit Most?

It’s a common misconception that corporate sponsors aren’t looking for brand recognition. Some are!

After all, until everyone on the planet knows the company’s name–even if they’re already a household name–then the company’s work isn’t done.

For companies seeking brand awareness, a larger-than-life art installation certainly kicks that goal up a notch or several, wouldn’t you say?


Those two words–pop-up–have great connotations.

When someone hears about a pop-up shop, that means a spot that’s being erected (or converted from something else) for only a limited time. 

The shop might last a week or merely a weekend, or–in the case of a corporate sponsorship activation–for the duration of your event. 

Why It Works

Pop-ups = FOMO, and that’s what it boils down to.

In case you don’t know, FOMO is short for fear of missing out, a very real psychological phenomenon that motivates a lot of our decision-making in this day and age. 

A pop-up is in an exclusive location for a very limited time only. If it has exclusive wares on top of it, then you can get people lining up in droves to check out the pop-up shop. 

Your corporate sponsor already has the benefit of being a huge name. As soon as people hear that your event will feature a limited-time pop-up from that much-loved big brand, I can guarantee you that it will be one of the most well-attracted parts of your event. 

People will want to check out the pop-up shop to take pictures, to get some clout on social media, and buy whatever your sponsor is selling, of course. 

Which Corporate Sponsors Benefit Most?

Just as corporate sponsors are always hungry for more name recognition, even if they have sales into the millions or billions, they could always use more.

A pop-up shop activation will surely succeed to that end!

The free promotion that your corporate sponsor will receive as they get lots of media coverage for the pop-up, not to mention the free press from users on social media, is helpful. 

If you make pop-up shop access even more exclusive by requiring an RFID scan or email signup to enter, then your sponsor can build their email list and leads while almost guaranteeing sales.

That checks a lot of boxes for a corporate sponsor.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality 

Two of the biggest tech trends coming down the pike in the early 2020s are undoubtedly virtual reality and augmented reality or VR and AR for short.

Allow me to explain them both so you can understand how to utilize the power of VR and AR for your activation ideas.

Virtual reality is a simulation that can closely mimic the real world or look as far removed from our world as possible. For example, dark rides use VR, as does 3D cinema and even some video games.

Augmented reality does take place in our world, but with features, characters, and more that are outside of the scope of our reality. If you remember the once ultra-popular game Pokémon Go, that’s VR in a nutshell.

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Why It Works

By creating an activation dependent on VR and AR, you can present your corporate sponsor’s brand and even products and services in new and engaging ways.

For example, a VR activation could allow customers to shop from the comfort of their homes or offices. 

If yours is a virtual event, then this VR shop is a great way to let people feel like they’re out and about without truly being out and about. 

This is also a good idea if your event turns out to be so popular this year with the backing of a corporate sponsor that you sell out tickets but still have a demand. Those who can’t attend in person can enjoy virtual components.

That’s far from all. Virtual try-ons and virtual showrooms are also popular ways to drive a lead or customer towards your corporate sponsor’s products or services and inspire a sale. 

Your attendees can close out transactions, as what they’re buying would be real even if nothing else about the experience was real in the way we define it.  

Which Corporate Sponsors Benefit Most?

A corporate sponsor that’s so well-known by now that most customers know what to expect from them could truly benefit from a VR or AR-driven activation.

An activation like this proves to the corporate sponsor’s existing audience as well as their target audience that the company can go outside of the box and still find inventive ways to draw in new customers and boost customer retention.


Corporate sponsors often work with nonprofits, which are a lot more cause-based than small, medium, or large companies. 

If you’re a nonprofit looking to partner with a corporate sponsor, then an activation idea that focuses on advocacy could help you do it. 

You can promote a cause that’s important to your nonprofit with the amplified backing of a big-name sponsor.

MISEREOR had quite an interesting activation called the Social Swipe that was in this vein. 

Social Swipe was an interactive billboard that displayed various issues so people could select a cause they liked. The billboard, which was placed in a popular spot such as an airport, accepted donations on the go.

Why It Works

People are more sensitive to the issues plaguing our planet now than perhaps ever before. If you can present those issues in an affirming manner to drive change, it’s going to be beneficial for both parties.

This kind of advocacy is expected out of you as a nonprofit, but perhaps not so much expected out of your corporate sponsor.

One of the reasons that some companies choose to offer sponsorship is to shift into a different role. 

If it’s been a while since your corporate sponsor supported a big cause, your event activation could be just the one for them to embrace. 

As I said before, their backing will ensure that this cause gets a lot more attention than your nonprofit would have been able to generate on its own. 

To showcase the full extent of the corporate sponsor’s advocacy, be sure to use AR or VR, video, or pop-up shops to attract attention. 

You can raise donations or at least awareness while your corporate sponsor gets to look like a million bucks. It’s a win-win! 

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Which Corporate Sponsors Benefit Most?

Any sponsor can benefit from being a vocal advocate for a cause.

However, this is where you need to choose your corporate sponsors carefully. You don’t want to find out after the fact that some of their values or past activities of a sponsor don’t mesh with the cause that they’re supporting now. 


Due to the scope of your deal with a corporate sponsor, you can agonize for days or even weeks over the perfect activation idea. I think as sponsorship seekers, we’ve all been there and done that before.

The activations we explored today are applicable for a wide range of sponsor needs, whether your corporate sponsor wants to try a new role, boost its lead gen, attract more positive press, or increase its sales.

As I always say when sharing these activation example articles, these ideas are merely that, ideas. They’re not set in stone by any means. 

You’re free to tweak, spin-off, or even change parts or the entirety of these ideas to suit your company and your unique sponsor.

In fact, I encourage it! You know your sponsor best, so only you can decide which activations will suit them. Good luck!