In the social meadia context, sport sponsorship is widely applied as a promotional tactic aiming to create a link between a sponsor (corporation, investor) and sport event or activity and positively influence the audience. Herewith, the successfulness of such connection depends on the quality of sponsorship property (referred to as the ‘sponsee’), which is the core feature that distinguishes sponsorship from any other marketing and promotional strategy. As a result, the sponsor receives the intended promotional benefits in the form of brand awareness and/or media exposure as well as the link or association with the sponsee and therefore recognition among the consumers. Thereafter, the sponsor obtains the so-called consumer response (feedback) which features the extent of the association of a sponsor and the sponsee.
By creating an important strategic link with the consumers, sponsorship becomes vital marketing communication tool which helps companies to attain the desired publicity and brand recognition. In such a way, the company inspires public awareness of its brand while supporting (sponsoring) an outside sport activity/event which is not necessarily a part of the company’s business operation. It is mainly owing to the well-promoted corporate brand identity that enables us to distinguish rivals on the today’s highly-competitive global marketplace. Hence, sport sponsorship is perceived by marketing experts as an indirect manner of the corporate name and brand promotion. This is deliberately done to link the sponsor’s corporate image with its target market and general public.
Compared to any other types of sponsorship, sport sponsorship is deemed as a most popular method of influencing large audiences since it provides a sponsor with wide-scale visibility, incomparable social media coverage as well as a direct link with millions of sport event spectators. All these advantageous features enable a sponsor to touch human emotions and feelings and therefore persuade general public that the particular brand is the best on the market. The reinforcement of sponsor’s brand equity is therefore regarded as a level of brand’s marketing advantage over the less promoted products/services offered by the competitors.
While sponsoring sport events and activities by means of social media, a sponsor gets direct access to the public that positively and enthusiastically perceives the spectacle and values involved in such an event or activity. Thus, sport itself creates an additional value for the sponsored brand. At that, consumers memorize and subsequently recognize the company and its positive image as a whole, not only the definite brand. For instance, Ford is a sponsor of the League of Champions TV broadcasting wherein the company is recognized under the Ford logo, not a particular Ford brand such as Ford Focus or Ford Fiesta. Once such recognition is established, consumers gradually develop a sense of loyalty to the company and its particular brands.
Therefore, brand meaning and brand awareness are the two essential drivers that enhance the creation of brand equity value. The successfulness of such added value creation depends on customer experience with the particular brand as well as the effectiveness of communication channel applied by the sponsor. As a result of brand experience generation, a sponsor benefits from consumer loyalty to a company and particular brand product or service, as well as the establishment of goodwill and reputation which is essential intangible assets that positively influence ‘word-of-mouth’ effect that inspires consumer perception and attitude to the company. While aligned with social media, sport sponsorship is a perfect means to build up brand awareness, promote company’s services and most importantly solidify corporate corporation among its target market and general public. Therefore, in numerous instances sport sponsorship is actively applied to:
Most of the advertising and promotional approaches are based on the repetition which is the best means to generate memories. Such memory generation benefits and increases the individual perception of brand awareness. Further on, sponsors try to distinguish their brands from those of the competitors by shifting their strategic penetration into alternative domains such as extreme sports for example. In particular, ‘Burn’ high-energy drink is commonly associated with snowboarding and therefore with the particular target market youth and teenagers. Such unconventional activities as snowboarding as well as non-mainstream activities accumulate adrenaline and activate extraordinary impressions among customers.