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How to S.C.O.R.E

VMLY&R COMMERCE’s Jon Goynshor explains S.C.O.R.E. – a framework for maximising brand collaborations in the new world of entertainment commerce

One of the fastest growing and most exciting areas of our business is entertainment commerce. It’s an important subset of our overall creative commerce approach, and ranges from livestreaming to gamification to contemporary brand collaborations

Billions of dollars annually are spent on sponsorships, licensing, celebrity and influencer endorsements, and partnership activations. Industry research shows that much of that investment is not effective.

Our S.C.O.R.E. methodology (Storytelling, Community, Omnichannel, Rewards, Evaluation) is intended to help achieve the maximum ROE (Return on Entertainment) spend from brand partnerships – to truly engage all stakeholders, from buyers to board members and beyond.

Reimagining sponsorships as collaborations

If a sponsorship budget is spent purely on product placement, naming rights, logo exposure, jersey signage or one-off celebrity endorsements, a brand is in danger of being drowned out by savvier competition.

Across the dizzying landscape of activations, experiences and virtual events, it is more important than ever for brands to elevate their thinking beyond passive sponsorships to active partnerships – or better still, collaborations – within an overall entertainment commerce strategy.

First, there needs to be a transformation from the transactional to the emotional – harnessing the passion that people have for music, movies, streaming, gaming, fashion, celebrities and sports – so that brands show up intuitively and seamlessly at just the right moment to inspire conversion, drive commerce, and enhance life.

Getting the right ROE

The pandemic upended partnership marketing (as it did most everything else), accelerating shifts in the ways in which brands work with partners to unlock growth. Despite the ongoing disruptions to events, schedules and audience levels, our analysis shows that the brand partnership industry still represented over $200bn globally in 2020 across sponsorships, licensing, celebrities/influencers and activation.

On average, marketers will spend 25% of their marketing budgets on partnerships each year. Yet, too many marketers are still focused on creating safe, one-dimensional, old-fashioned sponsorships with insufficient activation, measured by vanity metrics such as brand awareness and hospitality.

Our process for brand collaboration

To harness the power of entertainment commerce, we have a proven methodology to ensure that every brand collaboration can S.C.O.R.E. This comprises:


Authenticity and relevance count now more than ever. Build the story by identifying and aligning brand and partner attributes and values to mutual benefit. Telling stories is a quintessential human trait. Yet, too many sponsorships are focused on borrowed equity, or simply putting a logo on a sports property.


Reach the right stakeholders internally, externally, cross generationally and multiculturally. To unlock a partnership’s true potential, you need to link the brand’s objectives with your goals for employees/stakeholders, your shoppers’/fans’ passion points, and the retailer’s values.


Create deeper experiences that connect to commerce. By understanding each consumer’s unique purchase decision journey, you can show up in the right place at the right time, with the right experience, to encourage conversion.


Rewarding experiences with a dedicated call-to-action drives behaviour in the short-term and the long-term. The purchase incentive could vary depending on the audience’s lifestyle, and it could pay off immediately, but it could also pay dividends over time.


From conception through to completion, the right evaluation methods are critical to successful metrics-driven partnerships. Some recommended KPIs include retailer-specifi c sales year-over-year, incremental display, market share, media engagement (click-through rate) and build-the-basket/growth category.

Focusing on the ‘E’ in S.C.O.R.E

There are two ways that we guide our clients when it comes to partnerships and, in both cases, measurement is integrated throughout:

  • We help brands maximise their existing investments – knowing that in some instances brands have existing partnerships they might be ‘locked-into’ for multiple years. We ask how we can help reframe/rethink the relationships, making them work harder, beyond just measuring brand awareness.
  • We help brands identify and activate new partnership opportunities, with equal rigour.

In both instances, storytelling and measurement are constants. Another important consideration is how the partner performs. We ensure that the partnership is truly mutually beneficial and can ideally evolve over time.

To S.C.O.R.E. highly:

  • Build your brand story with owned equity.
  • Embrace diversity in communities and audiences.
  • Curate deeper, unified commerce experiences that convert and are shoppable across all consumer touchpoints.
  • Develop a new call to action that drives short-term and long-term behaviour.
  • Ensure content and commerce are intrinsically linked by setting up business objectives and measuring them in real-time to ensure that the learnings are applied for future activations.

Approaching opportunities this way helps brands to find new ways to connect with audiences, be it creating a different story about their products, finding consumers in the ever-evolving ecosystem, fostering mass awareness through earned media, delivering positive sentiment with shared equity, and, crucially, driving insight and sales.

Read more from Atticus Journal Volume 27

Jon Goynshor

VMLY&R Commerce

published on

28 December 2022


Commerce The Atticus Journal

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