Why Should Companies Sponsor Sport?
Sponsors look to sport to add value to the brand. In almost all sectors of all markets there is intense competition among companies and brands. Often there is little to choose from in terms of quality, content or price. In order to make a brand stand out from the crowd a sponsor will use sport to create a unique position in the mind of the consumer.
At the highest levels, sport involves gold medals, world records and global awareness. A global brand such as Coca-Cola wants to associate itself with such excellence and ubiquity. Smaller companies can also benefit from improved awareness, even if only at local or regional level, since this can lead to improved sales. The principles are the same, the only difference is scale.
Companies use sports sponsorship for a variety of reasons, and to attract sponsorship it is important to understand which objective a company is seeking:
- Brand/Corporate awareness: seeks to put a name in front of the consumer so that he will give it favourable recognition when exposed to other, specific marketing messages.
- Brand/Corporate image: attempts to create a personality and style for a product which distinguish it from another in the market and allows, for example, premium pricing.
- Customer relations: sports sponsorship can open dialogue between companies, showing the sponsor as a global player worthy of recognition and suitable to do business with. Sponsorship can also provide suitable hospitality vehicles to meet and do business with clients.
- Employee relations: sports sponsorship can encourage company pride and loyalty to help attract and retain staff.
- Community relations: sponsorship can show that a company cares about it community and is prepared to invest in its future and the welfare of its citizens.
What do companies want from a sponsorship?
All sponsors are different and so look for different things from their sponsorships. However, overall, most sponsors are looking for sports properties that can make a valuable and quantifiable contribution to their brand. To do so, the sponsorship must have a good fit with the brand’s personality and, ideally, be unique to that brand.
Top of the list of most sponsor’s requirements is media coverage. Sporting events create opportunities for exciting newspaper photographs and television images showing sponsor logos on shirts or banners. Such exposure creates brand familiarity for consumers making the logo stand out from competitors.
The sponsor will also seek activities that are enjoyable and memorable and provide occasions to build the brand and develop sales.
The sponsor will want the sponsorship to provide an opportunity to communicate with the customer in the setting where he is enjoying a quality leisure time experience. This will hopefully make him feel favourably disposed to the sponsor.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, sponsors and their employees want to feel comfortable with a sport and feel that they are getting good value for money.
Should your company sponsor sport?
Yes – if your customers or potential customers can be identified as sports participants, spectators or viewers
Yes – if your company or product will benefit from an association with sport
Yes – if you want to reach a wide audience with a relatively simple message
Yes – if you are prepared to integrate sponsorship with other marketing communication such as advertising, point-of-sale, direct mail, corporate hospitality
Yes – if you want to demonstrate your commitment to your local community