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Health and Wellness Sponsorships: The Intersection of Brands and Wellbeing

by | February 28, 2024

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What’s going on in the world of wellness? Well, sponsorships, for one. Health and wellness sponsorships have always existed, but they’re coming onto the mainstream scene, opening yet more doors for sponsorship seekers. 

If your company or organization specializes in healthy foods, products, or wellness services, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to broaden your audience by partnering with a sponsor. 

Navigating a new area of sponsorship for the first time is always difficult. Join me as I explain how health and wellness sponsorships work, why they’re advantageous, and how to get one. 

What Are Health and Wellness Sponsorships?

Health and wellness sponsorship is the antithesis of most sponsorships on the market today.

If you read this blog, you know that sports sponsorship is the largest, most popular type of sponsorship. Every industry wants to get in on sports partnerships, from insurance companies to beer brands, cigarette companies, and food and beverages, lots of food and beverages. 

In fact, according to a CNN Health article, more than 75 percent of sports sponsorships promote junk food. Yes, it’s a whopping number! 

This prevalence of junk influences our health. A 2018 report in BMC Public Health reviewed the advertising impact that healthy and unhealthy food brands had on select participants. Non-food brands were used as the control. 

According to the findings, “Compared to the control condition, unhealthy food sponsorship promoted higher awareness of, and more favorable attitudes towards, unhealthy food sponsors. Unhealthy food sponsorship also led to greater perceived event-sponsor fit and transfer of perceptions of the sporting event to the unhealthy food sponsor brands, relative to the control group.”

Further, “Exposure to sponsorship for healthier foods produced similar sponsorship effects for healthier food sponsor brands, as well as prompting a significant increase in the proportion of young adults showing a preference for these products.”

This goes to show what kinds of impacts healthier food sponsors can have on the populace.

Of course, food and beverage is one area of health and wellness sponsors. Others can include:

  • Personal training 
  • Wellness coaching
  • Health coaching
  • Health and wellness apps
  • Supplements
  • Health and wellness podcasts
  • Glucose monitors
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Health and wellness content creators
  • Personal saunas
  • Sleep-tracking mats 
  • Weighted blankets
  • Recovery and relaxation aids
  • Filtered shower heads
  • Red light therapy devices
  • Wearables 
  • Exercise machines 

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What Types of Brands Are Involved in Health and Wellness Sponsorships?

The number of brands embracing health and wellness sponsorships is staggering. Here is a list to show you what I mean:

  • Nurx
  • Fit Life Creation
  • Hum Nutrition 
  • Lifebio
  • Roman
  • Abilife
  • Truvani
  • Keeps
  • Hims 
  • Axis Labs
  • Adoratherapy
  • Nature Loves You Skincare
  • Light Garden Wellness
  • Joy Organics
  • Splendid Spoon
  • Happy Delta
  • Total Life Changes

I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. Many health and wellness brands that seek sponsorship and partnership opportunities are on the smaller side and hoping to increase their popularity, brand retention, and social/website traffic.

However, you must always speak to a prospect to determine their specific needs, as they vary. 

Larger brands are also in on sponsorship, unlocking higher-ticket opportunities. 

Benefits of a Health and Wellness Sponsorship

Health and wellness sponsorships create many advantages for consumers and businesses alike. Let’s take a closer look. 

Turns on Consumers to a Healthier Lifestyle

The data above already proves that consumers who attend an event and are exposed to healthier brands will give those brands the same level of consideration they would unhealthy brands like soda and junk food. 

That applies even if it’s not a health and wellness event. Having a presence at other types of festivals, games, and shows can introduce people to the value of good nutrition and taking care of themselves. 

That’s always a good thing, especially with obesity rates increasing in places like the United States and United Kingdom. 

Offsets the Excesses of Sports Sponsorship Brands 

Although it’s a harder sell, one of the more interesting health and wellness sponsorship trends I’ve seen are these brands encroaching on the sports sponsorship market. And why not? 

As established, sports sponsorship glorifies overindulging, but it’s not the fault of the sponsorship market. Turn on any sports game, and how many ads will you see for beer, pizza, and soft drinks? They’re associated with the spectatorship of sports.

Health sponsorship gives more consumers an alternative. Sure, it will be hard to choose a healthy option over the fattening burgers and hot dogs synonymous with sports, but remember, health and wellness are about more than nutrition. 

If consumers learn other ways to be healthy, indulging from time to time won’t be the end of the world. 

Generates Fundraising Dollars 

Another great reason to seek health and wellness sponsorship is for its fundraising potential. 

If you’re involved in wellness initiatives and programs that need more awareness, sponsorship can certainly help. The funds you get from the sponsorship can allow your business or organization to afford more community benefits, activities, healthcare services, and/or medical research. 

Improved Perception 

This benefit is applied more toward your partner than your business or organization, but the point still stands. As a health and wellness brand, you have a better public perception than, say, an alcohol or junk food brand. 

That’s not an instant gateway to sponsorship, mind you, but it does give you a unique advantage. More sponsors may want to work with you because of your intrinsic positive benefits. 

How to Get a Health and Wellness Sponsorship

If you’re interested in moving into the health and wellness sponsorship sphere, whether as a business/organization or an individual such as an influencer, this roadmap to success will get you there. 

Know Your Audience

Sponsors across all industries appreciate niched audience data, a position I’m sure you can understand if you’re in any kind of sales or marketing position (or have ever worked in these positions).

You can’t successfully promote your products and services toward everybody. Even products that seemingly appeal to the mass market have those who are not interested. 

You won’t impress a sponsor by telling them your health and wellness products or services are for everyone just because well, who wouldn’t want to be healthy?

Sure, everyone should want to be healthy, but that doesn’t mean they are. Besides, surely you created your products and services with someone in mind. 

For example, if you produce supplements, those are only useful for those who have deficiencies or need more nutrients and minerals in their diet. The same goes for at-home saunas, personal training, etc.  

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Find your people. Survey them if you have to; you probably will, and that’s fine. Ask them questions that go deeper than mere geographics and demographics. Discover the types of brands they like, listen to, eat, attend, wear, and use. 

This is the beginning of your prospects list. 

Go Prospecting 

A prospect list includes your viable sponsorship partners. Assessing the right partner for you requires considering a.) how interested your audience is in the brand, b.) what the brand’s values are and if they align with yours, and c.) if they’re accepting sponsorships.

Many sponsorship seekers complain to me that it’s hard to find sponsors who check all three boxes. I usually tell them they’re not looking in the right places. 

When you use your audience data to start your prospects list, you ensure you have the hottest prospects at the top of the list. There’s a connection between the sponsor and your audience already, and that’s what you want. 

If you can find a way to get in on that, watch how much good will happen. Your audience will gravitate toward the sponsor because they already like them, and all the interest the sponsor gets will cause new people to discover them.

You can achieve your objectives for the sponsor, increasing the chances of them wishing to extend a working relationship longer. Your sponsor will also be satisfied, so really, everyone wins! 

Schedule a Discovery Session

However, the reason it’s called a prospecting list is because you should have more than one potential partner on there. Even if a sponsor seems like a perfect fit, they might not respond to you for any number of reasons. 

Sometimes, it simply isn’t the right time. You probably don’t have forever to wait around, so you have to move on to the next prospect and contact them. 

Whether you hear from the first prospect or the 10th, you shouldn’t contact them to ask for money or promotions outright. Instead, you have to earn it, recommending services that will solve a sponsor’s problems.

The only way to do that is by scheduling a discovery session. This open interview is an informal conversation between you and the sponsor. Ask them the kinds of questions that provoke informative responses. 

For example, if you want to learn more about their marketing techniques, or their email engagement over the last quarter, this is the time to do it. You can’t find this kind of information through a Google search, after all. 

When the meeting ends, make sure you book a follow-up while still face to face. This is BAMFAM, an acronym I always tell my students in the Sponsorship Accelerator to remember. It means to book a meeting from a meeting

Customize Activations and Assets 

Assets refer to services (intangible and tangible alike) and activations to experiential marketing opportunities. Both combine to help your sponsor achieve their goals, such as more website traffic, a greater rate of signups, or whatever else they’re gunning for.

You can have a lot of fun crafting activations in the health and wellness sphere, as there are so many ways to bring your sponsor’s goals to life at your next event or appearance. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Retail demos where you showcase how the sponsor’s latest product or service works.
  • Walk-through pop-up displays that preview life at a wellness retreat.
  • Giveaways and doorbusters featuring the sponsor’s products and services. 
  • Pop-up shops selling wellness and health products.
  • Contests where the winner receive premier health and wellness products or services.
  • Personalized astrology readings. 
  • Health screenings led by a certified doctor or nurse at an event.
  • Live yoga classes or meditation practices. 

Value Your Sponsorship Opportunity 

Your health and wellness sponsorship opportunity is beginning to take shape, but what is it worth? You must know that before you can proceed with pitching your offer to a sponsor. 

That means it’s valuation time. A sponsorship valuation is how you determine the dollar value of your opportunity. 

Here’s how it’s done. Let’s say you decide to offer your prospective sponsor a doorbuster or live yoga class during your next event as an activation. How much do these services fetch on the market in a similar vertical?

That number is your gauge but not necessarily the number you’ll use in your valuation. You have to determine if your services are worth the same as the market value, over, or under. 

Naturally, you will find a handful of low-value assets. If their inclusion doesn’t add much to your sponsorship opportunity, freely discard them. 

It’s fine to have a mix of high-, medium-, and low-value assets, with only a few of the latter sprinkled in. 

Propose a Sponsorship Deal

By this point, you’ve had several meetings with the sponsor. You’ve talked about assets and activations; perhaps they’ve even asked to see some of this data in writing. 

You’re in a good position to discuss working together in a formal capacity. While the sponsor is likely to say yes at this stage, they could always surprise you, so don’t put all your eggs in this basket even now. 

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Finalize Terms

Once you two have a handshake agreement in place, you’ll firm up the terms by drawing up a contract. I’m no lawyer myself, so please hire one to go over the contract and ensure it’s fair to both parties.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew when you promise deliverables to the sponsor. There are clauses excusing some deliverables if you can’t achieve them, but if half your deliverables are duds, you could be in breach of contract. You will also lose the sponsor. 

Deliver at the Event

Now, you’re ready to stand and deliver. Produce the assets and activations mentioned in the contract to the best of your ability and have a phenomenal show. 

Discuss Extending Your Deal 

Show day is over, but your work isn’t done yet. You should produce an after-event report for the sponsor, even if you’re unsure about working together again. It’s the professional thing to do, and you’ll want the data from the event for future case studies. 

The after-event report should consist of your audience data, assets and activations, attendance numbers, and sponsors attended. Include many photos of the event, and then pepper the rest of the pages with raw numbers. 

I’m talking about ticket sales versus attendance, email open rates and click-through rates, website traffic, social media followers, brand engagement and mentions, sales, conversions, the works! 

Put the paperwork in front of your sponsor’s desk, let them review at their leisure, then have a discussion about what’s inside. If both parties express interest in continuing the professional relationship, you’ll have to come up with a fresh batch of assets and activations and value again. 

Wrapping Up 

And that’s about how it’s done! Health and wellness sponsorships are a growing sector and one I think will have a bigger stake to claim as the 2020s continue. 

Whether you’re a small medical center seeking funding, a wellness brand looking a media partner, or a medical center in need of funding to expand your event, sponsorship can help you achieve your objectives. Just remember to help the sponsor achieve theirs!