LOS ANGELES – If you could hold a mirror to the current world of content marketing it would largely reflect what’s been happening for a long time in sports and entertainment sponsorships. One of the elemental rules is that just borrowing enthusiast audiences doesn’t cut it unless you actually connect with them.

“It’s not about writing a check and being part of something,” says Chris Weil, Chairman and CEO of brand marketing agency Momentum Worldwide. “You’re borrowing the equity of a team, a celebrity, a league and you’re borrowing their audience and you’re trying to connect with them.”

In the sports sponsorship world, whether it’s American Express, United Airlines, Coca-Cola, SAP or Verizon, “A sponsorship is a borrowed equity programming,” Weil says in this interview with Beet.TV at the 2017 Transformation conference of the 4A’s.

So if one looks at what brands are trying to do with content, the learnings from many years of sponsorship marketing come to the fore. It’s about how to create content “that is not just push messaging but is about how you add utility and value to the consumer’s life and to their experience,” Weil says.

In other words, successfully sponsoring content always begins with the audience and the value exchange, but the most important part is the desired connection. “Everybody talks about targeting, targeting, targeting and how we’re going to deliver the specific message at the specific moment,” says Weill. “The reality is that more than targeting it’s the creative. How are you actually going to deliver a message that somebody cares about at a given time.”

Asked about measuring ROI on sponsored content, Weil eschews things like viewability and click-through rates. “Those are just distractions to what the real game is, which is to drive growth for our clients,” Weil adds, citing Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard’s comments at Transformation about the importance of P&G’s agency partners.

When it comes to leveraging influencer audiences online, Weil says that in order to guarantee earned reach there has to be a buy involved. “Things don’t go viral just simply to go viral. You have to look at how you use influencer audiences to help expand and amplify your message. And that is a value exchange that typically is money,” Weil says.

This video is part of series produced in Los Angeles at the 4A’s Transformation ’17. The series is sponsored by Extreme Reach. For more videos from the conference, please visit this page.