Helping brands make smarter sponsorship deals
Luscid wants up-to-date data, not guesswork, to lead the way in partnerships
After we profiled a couple of deep tech startups last week, let’s get back into the realm of B2B SaaS today.
Luscid’s marketing tech platform targets brands with the ability to make better decisions about which sponsorship and partnership opportunities they take up.
And popular brands can have a LOT of these things to wade through.
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Luscid wants brands to make better sponsorship deals with data, not guesswork
For brands, sponsorships and partnerships can be valuable ways of driving awareness. Association with a suitably aligned event, TV show, podcast, venue, etc can make for powerful marketing…
…or they can be disappointing damp squibs.
With varying amounts of data available, picking the most effective sponsorship opportunities isn’t always straightforward.
That’s where Luscid wants to step in, with a platform designed to help brands find the best places to deploy their sponsorship and partnership budgets.
“Compared to a lot of other marketing verticals, sponsorship and partnerships has always lagged slightly behind,” says co-founder Harry Coe.
“Return on investment is not straightforward in this industry. I don't think anyone would pretend it is, and if anyone has found that metric, then we're all out of business.”
Coe says Luscid allows the brands that use its platform “to be more sure-footed in the decisions that they're making, compared to how it's historically been done. It takes away some of the ‘feel’ around decision-making, puts metrics behind it, and stops decisions being network based.”
How it works
As with pretty much any platform that helps connect customers with opportunities, Luscid’s platform begins with a brand entering information about what they’re looking for.
“It allows [brands] to plug in all the information that is important to them,” explains Coe.
“[They can input] who their customers are; potential customers they'd like to get in touch with; what their brand values are; the budgets that they have available; the mediums by which they'd like to go through the partnership, whether that's through social, digital, PR, activation, through participation…”
Luscid then cross-references all of this with data about what Coe describes as “the entire global ecosystem for sponsorships and partnerships, what we call rights holders… anyone that can receive money to be partnered with. Museums, football leagues, tennis tournaments, movies…”
The platform then displays relevant opportunities across 85 ‘genres’. These ‘genres’ are categories such as types of sport, music, movies, and esports.
But while metrics like a specific budget seem simple to align with opportunities, how does Luscid match up something as intangible as ‘brand values’?
“For the brand value of ‘innovation’, let's say, it will tell the brand that ‘innovation’ appears in a positive sentiment 20% more often across tennis than it does across rowing, for example,” explains Coe.
“[Brands] can go away at the end of the day feeling like they've researched everything that is available out there, ranked it all, with a really clear use case as to why they've made the decision they've made.”
The data that underpins the platform, Luscid tells me, is “fed via a number of APIs that fast track multiple consumer, fan, and investment data sources directly into the platform. This is done real-time as each insight report is generated.”
The company tells me this data includes global consumer survey data based on a sample of 4 million global consumers; media and search data to track key content and conversations, and a database of more than half a million historical sponsorship deals, which is updated when new deals are announced.
Coe sees there as being an element of ‘turning the tables’ here.
“Historically, it has tended to be rights holders looking to sell the product that they have to the brands. We felt that the brands had been inundated with proposals too much of the time.
“It's very difficult for them to understand which of those proposals are the right ones, of the many they receive. The sheer volume makes that difficult at a simple level. Having a product that we feel is on their side is really important to us.”
Subscription, not taking a cut
Interestingly, Luscid is based around a subscription business model, rather than taking a cut from deals that happen as a result of the platform.
“We made the decision early on that the platform wouldn't be involved in any brokerage in the industry,” says Coe.
“We've always wanted to make sure the brands use it because they feel it's on their behalf; it's unbiased and agnostic in nature. If we were to move into the brokerage side, I think we would lose some of that standing in the industry as being just an oversight and insight tool that they can trust.”
So instead, Luscid provides brands with the data they need to identify and justify opportunities, and then leaves them to go off and negotiate by themselves.
But will many brands need this platform on a long-term subscription, or is this something they will only require once or twice a year?
Coe says he hopes brands will stay subscribed because the data that feeds into the platform is regularly updated. This provides an advantage over static insight reports, which provide a fixed view of a particular market and are only updated periodically.
“There are brands out there that would like to change their minds, their budgets move around, the brand values they're hoping to project to the wider world change a lot…
“What the platform allows them to do is make those adjustments very, very quickly, show the results that come out of those changes, and then start to show over time periods what direction those trends are going in.”
The story so far
Coe, who happens to be the son of former athlete and politician Sebastian Coe, has co-founded Luscid with Damien Gillman.
“We were both working in similar-ish businesses in terms of the output of what they were trying to achieve; his was agency side, mine was in a sponsorship marketplace business,” says Coe.
Comparing notes on the marketing industry, they realised there was a gap in the market for a platform that “arms brands with the information they need to be able to make decisions more accurately and across a global scale, which is a very hard landscape to navigate. You need the power of a platform behind you to be able to do it at scale really effectively.”
Coe says he and Gillman began building the product in January 2022.
“It took roughly nine months to get to a minimum viable product, and then we spent three months after that rigorously testing it and making sure it actually worked the way we hoped it did.
“We then started talking to brands at the start of this year, and started selling the first subscriptions a few weeks after that”
Luscid is yet to start shouting about its product with a marketing drive, preferring to work with an initial group of paying customers to refine the offering.
“We had a good, really early group of clients on board that we were able to learn a huge amount from, which was the most important part for us [in making] iterations of how we changed the product, what worked for them, what didn't work for them…
“We were working with them really closely and gaining more from them than potentially your typical subscription client.”
Coe and Gillman are now preparing to open Luscid up to more brands.
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