MORE than 150 people attended this year’s memorial Mike Warne Annual Communications Lecture at Bournemouth University.

The topic of ‘successful sponsorship: leading the way in 2012’ was the theme of the lecture organised by the Dorset branch of The Chartered Institute of Marketing and fourth year BA Marketing (Hons) students at Bournemouth University.

This year’s speakers were Jackie Fast, managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship, and Jeff Dodds, executive marketing director of brand and marketing communications at Virgin Media.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s South West regional director, Christine Boswell-Munday, said: “The lecture highlighted how sponsorship can be used as part of a business strategy to create long term relationships with customers based on mutual brand values and personal experiences.”

Jackie Fast kicked off the evening with a presentation on the value of sponsorship through engagement, brand experience and interactivity, which can ultimately lead to customer loyalty.

She also explored how sponsorship rights are evolving to fit audience engagement.

Jeff Dodds described the ‘three-way architecture’ approach to sponsorship within Virgin Media.

He explained the value of sponsorship, how it communicates with customers at a personal, experience level or in Jeff’s words “the Virgin Media consumer life”.

Jeff illustrated how through its sponsorship of V Festival Virgin Media managed to encapsulate a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for the festival-goer.

The rich moments the customer experiences create positive feelings towards their brand.

Virgin Media’s newly announced multi-million pound sponsorship of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ during ‘the year of Britain’ aims to engender pride not only with its target audience but Virgin Media employees as well.

Virgin Media employees are seen as first advocates they will receive special privileges, such as audience tickets for Britain’s Got Talent and the opportunity to attend a finalist’s concert just for staff. The lecture named in memorial to Mike Warne was attended by the Warne family and sponsored by Little Miracles, manufacturers of fruit flavored teas.