Although sponsorship is today a significantly common marketing tool, people that work in the marketing and communication sector often ask us why it is useful to sponsor and why companies choose or should choose to sponsor.
Let’s begin with obvious facts, which are not so obvious. Nowadays, as consumers we repeatedly receive a bunch of advertisements of all kind every day, since the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep. Advertisements on our phone, radio, public transports, television, newspapers, online, on podcasts and playlists, without excluding the most traditional advertisement tools and also the digital signage.
They are messages that have the purpose of attracting our attention but, in reality, we rarely remember them. We pay attention for a fraction of a second and then they become meaningless or they often bother us.
How many times has it happened to watch a movie, a video or listen to the radio and suddenly being interrupted from an advertisement that in that moment you hate? Think about spotify, for example, that offers us a premium version which benefit is to being able to avoid listening to the advertisements. It is also the case of Youtube Premium and of other multiple platforms. We got to the point where we must pay in order to avoid being interrupted from an advertisement. Ever thought about it?
On the other hand, sponsorship does not interrupt us but it is integrated in a show that we are interested in, that we enjoy, that we are passionate about: it is inclusive, not intrusive. Furthermore, sponsorship allows that show to exist thanks to the investments that allow the team to buy those new players and also more equipment for the design of the single-seater and new tools for the conduct of the events.
Moreover, also the cognitive and affective side must be taken into account, and how emotions play a substantial role on the influence of consumers’ behaviours. Therefore, sponsorship gets to the consumer through feeling rather than screaming.
A company that invests on a sport sponsorship embraces the sport’s values that reflect their own products and allow these products to gain positive meanings. In fact, sport is not only entertainment, but it is also full of side values such as sacrifice, team spirit, commitment, joy and pain. Furthermore, sport is technology, innovation, precision, routine, strategy and vision.
There is such a vast and multifaceted value system that companies have so much choice. Moreover, the deep and emotional relationship between humans beings and sport lead to extraordinary positive outcomes in terms of marketing and communication.
Bill Veecke, one of the founders of marketing sports, used to affirm that “sport marketing is help upon a simple premise: sport plays a significantly important role on the existence, memories and emotions of us humans”.
Sounds like a cliche’ affirmation, but there are multiple examples that confirm this theory. For example, a few days ago I was watching the Amazon Prime series “All or Nothing” about Manchester City and Noel Gallagher, a huge fan and worldwide famous Rockstar, was saying: “I fell in love with City before music. I fell in love with City before my wife. I fell in love with City before my children. City is the first thing I have ever loved”.
Sponsoring means having millions of people in love with sport or with a team or athlete in front of us, ready to receive the messages that we send in a non-invasive way, but in a present and integrated way.
As research suggests, there is a tendency for the consumers to buy products or brands that are related to sport or to the team and athlete that they follow. Furthermore, there are specific commercial programmes that consciously tie sport and products as licenses: think about the Ronaldo’s perfume, the glasses of Luna Rossa, and the Nadal’s clothing line. These are products that are integrated in the sport’s environment in order to increase popularity, brand awareness, and consumer’s interest that see them though different lenses when they are related to sport. The emotion that relate the fan to sport is also reflected on the products that we link to it.
Another sponsorship advantage is the international nature of sport. For those who desire to communicate internationally, using only one communication campaign without having to adjust it for every country, sport is certainly an efficient tool. Sport does not include barriers: the MotoGP race or a Premier League match are the same in Italy, UK, Japan or Indonesia. A company that include its brand on an international sport programma benefits from the multiterritoriality and from the international audience of that championship.
Finally, why sponsoring then? Because upon sponsorship companies can build significantly efficient marketing programmes that offer them visibility and many other opportunities. It is possible to plan promotional activities related to sponsorship, B2B activities, hospitality programmes, traditional PR campaigns and there is much to tell on social media. Therefore, flexibility, passion, efficiency and the possibility to start without the need of a huge budget. What else?