Anna Kozlovskaya: Sponsorship creates an emotional connection

30 July 2018
Anna Kozlovskaya: Sponsorship creates an emotional connection

On the final day of the RANEPA Summer Campus - 2018, Anna Kozlovskaya, Vice President for External Communications of MasterCard, disclosed MasterCard's approach to cooperation and shared the main principles of partner selection.

At the beginning of the speech Anna Kozlovskaya noted the work of the teams participating in the Summer Campus on the protection of projects and offered to answer the question about the role of sponsorship. In 1991, in the International Advertising Journal, Tony Minaghan defined sponsorship as "investing money or labor in exchange for access to commercial potential." According to Anna Kozlovskaya, sponsorship involves supporting ideas and organizations that share your own values and traditions. Companies often use this tool to create an association with an event or product, "sharing" their image.

Despite the fact that sponsorship in marketing came to the first position in the last few decades, this practice was born a long time ago. Originally it was a form of patronage or philanthropy, addressed by members of royal and wealthy families. This decision was dictated by the personal interests of the patron, and not clear goals. Besides, agreements were oral.

Currently, there are wide opportunities of using sponsorship. "Creating a successful image is a reasonable way to attract more customers," the expert said. "People are easier to contact companies they trust." Sponsors offer funding or products and services to support events, exhibitions, teams, and organizations. In return they get business contacts and access to new customers.

This marketing tool often brings more profit than traditional advertising. It directly affects the brand awareness: the larger the event, the more it is mentioned in the press and social networks. Whether it's a charity event or crafts fair, you can always choose the project with the right target audience. In a study conducted in 2016, the Event Marketing Institute found that 74% of consumers are more likely to buy products after contact with the brand.

The events also show the social side of the business. The formation of emotional connection is creating loyalty to the brand. Events allow you to increase the number of customers on the spot: many companies make profit at trade shows. "If sales is the main priority, companies choose the event with pedestrian traffic and several direct competitors. At large events it is possible to pay for exclusivity. Thus, you don't have to worry about selling the products of one niche," -  the speaker said.

Sponsorship helps the development of content strategy. According to ESP, 98% of sponsors use social media to support your events. And 98% of consumers create content during the event. When participants share photos and videos, the audience increases. User-generated content has a greater impact on customers.

Sponsorship the Mastercard approach includes three components: building the brand, managing business and portfolio. All of this provides a competitive advantage. Sponsorship is a way to give the user an experience that cannot be bought for money. Worldwide, cardholders benefit from exclusive deals and promotions. Margarita Kozlovskaya quoted the CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga: «Doing well as a company by doing good for society». Global efforts are associated with raising the level of social responsibility, transparency of business and responsible management of the environment. Territories of the company's sponsorship correspond to the basic corporate principles: sports, cinema, music, culture and social responsibility.

Mastercard sponsors many sports venues and events around the world: football (UEFA Champions League), hockey (KHL), golf, baseball, rugby and tennis (Roland Garros). The interest is linked directly with consumers who have a passion for the sport. For the company sport marketing is the car, which is easily accessible to fans as they see the game as a way of life. For example, together with the KHL they have developed and launched a unique project for hockey fans - Priceless League. The idea is this: hockey players and fans compete for the trophies of an invaluable player and an invaluable fan. To become a priceless player in a match, a hockey player needs to collect the maximum number of fans' votes during the game. Among the fans the winners are most active.

Mastercard offers a chance to "win a movie" and visit the world-famous film festivals in Berlin, Venice and Cannes. The company supports music events around the world. Cardholders can stroll along the red carpet or meet their idols. Tickets are sold primarily to holders of Mastercard. The partnership in entertainment and culture is associated with the brands Cirque du Soleil, Disneyland, London Fashion Week, and others.

Anna Kozlovskaya noted the importance of social projects: "Doing good for society is the way to do business with Mastercard." It includes support for R&D companies, charitable organizations and encouraging donations from clients. In Russia, there are two unique projects - a partnership with the Children of BELA Foundation and the ProCharity platform.

In summary, the speaker highlighted several important points in the sponsors' work and addressed the participants of the Summer Campus of the Russian Academy of Science and Technology: "Perceive these relationships as such for a long term. Study your sponsorship strategy in mind. Compare the core values of your organization with prospective partners. Always think about the audience, it is the main. The less you fixate on earnings, the more you help people, and it's really the most important thing!" 

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The organizers of RANEPA Summer Campus include RANEPA, the Government of Tatarstan, and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia, with the support of ACIG Group of Companies.


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