Posted by Tom Foremski - September 3, 2014
NamePlace, founded by Lisa Padilla (above) CTO/CMO, and co-founder Ron Brown CEO, has come out of stealth mode with an interesting service aimed at helping thousands of cities in the US gather ad revenues from assets that they have in abundance: parks, community buildings, civic programs, Little League clubs, etc.
It's an online marketplace for offline civic marketing: a huge catalog of municipal naming rights. And it offers large brands and local businesses, a rare opportunity to be seen doing good, and seen to be involved in supporting the vitality of local communities. Here are some notes from my recent meeting with Lisa Padilla:
- Municipal naming rights is a potentially huge, untapped market that cities have done a poor job in monetizing. One of our clients Oakland (across from San Francisco) has a list of more than 130 available naming opportunities.
- Some cities such as San Diego have done reasonably well in selling naming rights but it is rare.
- The founders of NamePlace have a strong background in the advertising business so we know the language of the brands and ad agencies.
- Civic spending relies on local taxes and state and federal grants, which come from taxes. But here's an opportunity to raise money for local government without raising taxes.
- We examine each naming opportunity and we make estimates of how many people use those facilities, or are involved in a civic program, and we use that as an audience to measure up against similar metrics for advertising. It's a great deal for brands and one that they haven't had a chance to tap into but will be familiar to them in terms of evaluating ROI and for comparisons with other campaigns.
- We recognize that brands need to operate at scale. We provide a way for brands to make large buys across many cities with tools to manage and administer their budgets.
- This is also affordable marketing for local businesses. Most of their customers are within a mile or so of their location, so why pay Google, thousands of miles away, or pay for expensive advertising billboards, when you can buy naming rights and be seen to be involved in your community, on a consistent and long-term basis. And the money goes to the city and not to billboard owners or Google shareholders.
- Most cities have very confusing programs for naming rights, mostly managed on Excel spreadsheets with dozens of different marketing brochures. Part of our challenge, and service, is to hep unify those efforts within our platform to make them easy to discover, compare, and aggregate for larger buys.
- Lots of businesses want to be involved in corporate social responsibility programs but don't know how to proceed. NamePlace gives them an easy way to get started.
- Local cities will make the new signs for parks, etc according to their local specifications. And cities will be allowed to reject companies based on their own criteria. "Welcome to Clorox Beach" might not be the right message for a community [ED: Maybe in Louisiana and cleaning up from BP!]
- NamePlace will help market and sell each city's naming rights, and there's also a self-service option to buy direct.
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