Brand awareness, generally, is the extent to which a brand associated with a particular product or activity is documented by prospective and existing customers in a positive or a negative manner (McLoughlin and Aaker 2010, p.175). Other scholars have defined it as the proportion of the target customers that can be able to remember a product/ brand (Piotraschke 2008, p.7).
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We, therefore, can deduce that brand awareness is the realisation by a consumer of the existence and availability of a product in the market. Recognition and recalling of a product by a customer becomes the core pillars in brand awareness. This is because the customer has to know that the brand under scrutiny exists and recall it .
This is the core business of marketing and advertising for each new product in the targeted market(s).It has been observed that brand awareness has really influenced the behaviour of the buyers in the market into buying more of a product that is being associated with a popular brand and activity (Kotler, Waldemar and Ines 2006, p.282). They continue to note that posters’ advertising is not enough for a new product in the market.
Even if, it will create a significant level of awareness, it will not do much in influencing new customers to buy it. There is a need for the new product to be associated with an activity or another product (brand extension) for it to be successful. Again, the brand has to communicate meaningful and relevant information about itself in an effective way to the targeted customers and stakeholders (Kotler, Waldemar and Ines 2006, p.282).
There is the need, therefore, for it to be associated with a popular brand or activity that will not only act as a basis for creating its awareness but also influence both the existing and potential customers positively evaluating the new product and accepting it (buying it).
For brand awareness to be successful, the consumer behaviour is a key component that has to be looked at in a major way. Consumer behaviour is the study of the time the reason and the way people do or do not buy a product in a specific place. It can be said to be the process and activities that consumers involve them in the evaluating and buying a product that best satisfies their needs and desires (Krarup and Clifford 2005, p.100).
For the brand awareness to be well associated to the activity or another product, the behaviour of the consumer needs to be well understood for effective planning of the marketing activities (Blythe 2008, p.4).
He argues that the importance of understanding consumer behaviour is to know the attitude formation, perception and changes in their attitudes concerning a particular product (Blythe 2008, p.5). If a product is well perceived by the customers it is likely to succeed in the market.
Product awareness is one of the most used strategies in marketing a new product in the market, mainly being based on the ability of a customer to recall and recognize the existence of a particular brand in the market. The activities associated with it will very much contribute to the way consumers evaluate the new product and, influence their consumption and buying behaviour of the same product.
Creating brand or product awareness through sponsoring of popular activities, so that the product can be advertised through such an activity is one of the most productive strategies that contribute to the success of the new product. Sponsorship of motorsport, therefore, can be a viable way to create brand awareness, a strategy that business people should exploit.
Therefore, a research that looks into how companies seek out affiliations and partnerships with motorsports could be an interesting area of study. A review of existing literature provide a comprehensive overview of branding strategies practiced by major companies however, there is a lack of literature and studies that have been set out in the context of the Middle Eastern market.
Recently, motorsports have gained significant popularity and increase in the audiences in the Middle East. Companies seek out ways of reaching these audiences by entering into partnerships with motorsports. Therefore, in this study this particular area of investigation is focused at and researched for.
The underlying subject area that has been deduced from the background to context provided in the previous section is to evaluate how different brands have associated with and have made alliances to promote their awareness amongst consumers. For this purpose, the present study examines and evaluates different brands and their strategies related to their brand promotion via partnerships in motorsports.
The present study therefore, aims at developing an understanding upon how brands have been able to successfully promote themselves via such associations and what impact such promotion has on the value of brand and customers’ awareness both recognition and recall of the brand.
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The study makes a choice of some popular brands and incorporates views of the audiences and followers motorsports, and determines whether there is a positive relationship between the existence of brand partnerships between companies and motorsports, and consumers’ brand awareness.
Objectives of Study
The overall objective of this study is to investigate the strategy of enhancing brand awareness through associating it (brand) with popular activities, precisely motorsports, and its influence to consumer behaviour (evaluating and buying for consumption).
- To understand the reasons behind brands seeking partnerships in motorsports.
- To explore the different marketing tools used to enhance the partnership.
- To investigate the acceptance/reaction of motorsport fans to their teams being associated with certain brands.
The research is qualitative in nature and the outcome of the study is descriptive analysis of the findings collected from different sources to decide upon the acceptance or rejection of the following research hypotheses:
H1: Partnership of brands and motorsports provide a way of advertising that contributes to brand awareness.
H2: Brand association with motorsport increases positive evaluation and acceptance of the brand and increases consumption and customer base.
The bases of evaluation of findings are derived from the conceptual framework set out for this study. The conceptual framework is developed after reviewing and discussing different brand and consumer related theories and previous studies that have been carried out in a similar context.
If sufficient supportive evidence is acquired from the study designed in this report then the research hypotheses are accepted otherwise they are rejected.
It is imperative to underline various research questions to limit the research that allows to maintain objectivity in the study and to achieve the most desired outcome from the investigation. Evidence supportive of the following research questions, is sought after with a certain degree of certainty.
- What strategies companies use for entering into partnerships with motorsports?
- What are the effects of such strategic partnerships on the brand awareness for these companies?
- What are the effects of such brand awareness on shaping up consumer behaviour and their buying decisions?
It is clearly stated here that this list of research questions is not exhaustive and any other information that may be deemed reasonably important for producing conclusive ending to this study is included in this report.
Justification of the study
Brand awareness has been a good avenue for businesses to introduce a new product in a new or existing market. Due to the fact that it is mainly linked to the consumer’s ability to recall and recognise a product, associating a product with a popular activity becomes an attractive way to advertise a product.
This study aims at looking at how sponsoring of motorsport that has remained a popular activity in Europe and other parts of the world, contributes to creating awareness of a particular product.
Several previous studies have been conducted in a similar context and therefore, the present study is also justified by examining and evaluating the impact of motorsports sponsorships on the brand awareness amongst consumers located in a particular market.
The study covers the ways in which sponsoring of motorsports assists in creating brand awareness and contributes to the success of introducing a new product in the market through the way customers recall and recognizes it as associated with motorsport, and the way motorsport association influences the consumer behaviour in terms of increased buying and consumption of the product under scrutiny.
The study considers brand awareness through motorsport sponsoring. There are many ways and activities that a firm can sponsor for its brand awareness. However, this research study only considers sponsoring of motorsports as a popular activity to enhance the brand awareness and influence the consumer behaviour to its advantage.
This chapter provides definitions and discussion on various concepts and theoretical framework related to the present study and its objective. The purpose of this chapter is to draw useful information from different publications and other sources to form a framework for the understanding of the user.
Previous studies and their findings are also drawn from different sources and presented in this chapter. All this information eventually forms a conceptual framework for testing out the research hypotheses set out for this study and relevant research questions.
Brands need to get along with people just like people need to make friends with people. Brands management is about discovering a group of people with liking for the brand and who can prove some extent of commitment with the brand (Cliffe and Motion 2005). The more familiar a person gets with the brand, the better for its long term sustainability.
A customer’s perception and experience with a particular brand or product is what branding is all about. Encroachment of a human consciousness is all that a brand is about. Gradually it is customer experiences with your products that make a brand eventually (Aaker 1997). Their experiences are what cumulatively formulate your brand story.
It can either be spotting your brand in a store, hearing about it on the radio or from friends who have used the brand, brand logo. The brand needs to remain consistent since the actual ownership of the brand comes from the customer and not the company. Brand marketing is simply another name for niche marketing, where different messages are moved across different communities of people.
Being different is that branding is all about (Aaker 1996). Companies branding strategies must ensure the facilitation of every customer to make a connection with the brand. This is only possible if the brand is marketed in an absolute manner, leaving it to the customer to make the connection.
Brand will last a lifetime if the communication process is healthy and strong. This is where the iconic presumption of the brand comes in (Kelly 1955). Connecting your branding strategy to some iconic event, a certain time in history will turn out to be very successful. Very old brands seem to be more consistent and witness lesser ups and downs in their popularity.
Another trick is to compel fewer customers to buy your brand. This will help the brand be highly competitive and more appealing. If the number of consumers targeted is very high, it will be very difficult to catch up with every claim that the customer makes.
This will lead to easy recognition and recalling of the brand. Brands act like concentrated light beams (Aaker 1997). The more concentrated the beam, the easier it is for the consumers to recognize and later recall your brand.
Alike human mind, brands are also governed by psychological theories. The theories relevant to this research include the Personal Construct theory and the Attribution theory (Arthur, Dolan and Cole 1998).
Personal Construct Theory
Personal Construct Theory is an attempt to deal with the whole complex of meaning giving, that is, with what might be called our rational, mythical or metaphorical meaning-giving tendencies. In this way, personal construct theory embraces all that philosophers of language try to put forward in terms of distinctions between cognitive and emotive by pointing out the futility of attempting such definitions (Aaker 1996).
Constructs are developed on the basis of experience. They describe the repeated similarities and contrasts among events that have proved useful for distinguishing among the desirable and undesirable consequences of one’s actions or characteristics of an object.
Weiner (1972) expanded upon Heider’s naive analysis of action model to propose that perceived attributions of a particular outcome can greatly affect an individual’s future actions, confidence and expectancies about performance.
Such approaches to attribution theory also included areas of stability, locus of control, and locus of causality, skill levels of athletes and learn helplessness. In the same manner, like people, brands also ascribe human characteristics (Heidler 1958).
Brands, in the light of the two theories can, therefore, possess following attributes.
- The level of familiarity they have with their consumers
- Their intensity of importance in the world (Aaker 1997)
- The inner organizing contemplation of the brand
- The character of the product (Aaker 1997)
- The standards the brand takes up
- The taste or appearance of the brand, including how it communicates to people
- The satisfaction that the brand provides
- The benefits that the brand delivers to the consumer (Aaker 1997)
Brand Partnerships in Sports
Sports fans can display fervent consumer behaviour, which includes loyalty to the brand in respect to the partner’s products and viewing or actually attending the motorsports games and races (Campbell, Aiken and Kent 2004).
Sports sponsorships are at an augment, in order to capture this behaviour which reflects major growth in motorsports marketing programs in the last two decades, where logo laden billboards, cars and service stations at a game have now taken a new turn.
Global sponsorships are on the rise despite of a rise in the expenditure for the companies (Bennett 1999). The increasing importance of sponsorships is seen to be a typical technique for organizations allocating heavy budget to the advertising mediums.
Sports sponsorships attempt to raise brand awareness or change existing face of the brands by associating a product or brand with the features of a sports team, event or well know celebrities or individuals (Bennett 1999). The transfer of this positivity to the partnered brands is activated actually without having to convince the consumers of the brand’s positive characteristics by word of mouth or deliberately.
By being a part of an extraordinary and individually pertinent time in lives of the fans, partners’ involvement with the sporting event can grow in depth their association with the target market (Chang and Chieng 2006).
Exposure to repeated advertisements of events can actually result in developing emotions of familiarity and liked attitudes for the brand being advertised, even though the advertisements are not deliberately assessed like customary advertisements. Therefore, the sponsorship can help in differentiating brands and further create more financial value to the brand name.
Typical sponsorships are coupled with certain objectives such as, creating loyalty for the brand, awareness for the brand, re-imaging them, attracting retailers and dealers for captivating sales and consumption (Gwinner and Swanson 2003).
Sports sponsorships help companies recognize awareness of the brand in the consumer market targeted and attract additional consumers for the partner, thus increasing preference and acceptability for the product.
Research literature in sponsorships has resulted in identifying the significance of the linkage, wellness, similarity, co-relatedness or correspondence among the partnering entity and the event. Sponsorships are more successful when the brand or product that is partnering with the event or team has direct relation with the product that is it can be utilized in context to the event (Cliffe and Motion 2005).
This is also called the function based similarity. Transference of brand image is strong and effective only when the partnering or sponsoring brand is sharing the similar aspects with the event. Such instances are likely to have a positive and affective cognitive response from the consumer.
Therefore, increased sponsorship and event transference results in increased attention being paid to the sponsor and its marketing efforts as well as resulting in increased usage of the partner’s brand (Chang and Chieng 2006).
Branding through Sponsorships
A company’s promotion mix traditionally includes advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and publicity. Where does such conventional thinking leave corporate sponsorship? It defies neat classification as philanthropy, or as one of the traditional elements of the promotion mix.
Previous research found that most companies with little or no experience in corporate sponsorship initially try to fit it into their advertising or sales promotion functions. But as they gain experience, they begin to treat it as a new, distinct element of the mix, an adjunct to rather than a part of other marketing functions. It makes use of all the other mix tools, yet it is none of them.
Miller Brewing Co.’s approach, for instance, integrates sports sponsorships with advertising, publicity, promotion, sales, and merchandising (Aaker 1996). An executive at another company described sponsorship as it “is a different and unique way to reach customers and meet with our retailers in an informal, relaxed atmosphere” (Cliffe and Motion 2005).
Another marketing leader at another large company describes a virtue exclusive to sponsorship, it “permits targeting company objectives against narrow audiences, with the potential to reach a broad audience through mass media methods, both paid and nonpaid” (Cliffe and Motion 2005).
A manager in another firm colourfully described why sponsorship should play a supporting role in an overall promotion program: “Corporate sponsorships can be useful to a firm’s marketing effort, but only after a basic advertising and promotional program is in place; in our case, corporate sponsorships are the advertising program” (Dalakas and Levin 2005).
One of the questions confronting sponsors is where to place the function within the corporate hierarchy. It is believed that sponsorship will evolve to become a separate activity within marketing that, like advertising and sales promotion, supports field sales. About 17% of the Fortune 1,000 firms that were surveyed have corporate sponsorship departments or staff specialists (Hoyle 2006).
The trend of such partnerships is definitely increasing. Senior management must champion greater status and visibility for sponsorship. Guidelines handed to the troops must stress that sponsorships should be undertaken only if they can achieve well-defined and realistic objectives in reaching the company’s target markets (Cornwell, et al. 2006).
The sponsorship plan should stipulate exactly how it is to be coordinated with advertising, public relations, sales promotion, personal selling, and, when appropriate, with corporate philanthropy. Evaluation methods need to be specified unambiguously; growth ahead (Carlyle, Jeff, Monique, and Richard 2004).
Figure 1: Motorsports Sponsorships
Motorsport events get the lion’s share of all sponsorships, between 75% and 80% of the over $3 billion in corporate event support spending expected this year, we estimate, compared to $500 million in 1982 (Thomaselli 2006).
Well known pacesetters such as Philip Morris, Mobil, and Bud, Coors and Coca-Cola, fuel the growth. But more companies are discovering that being a sport or art impresario provides a measure of exclusivity and insulation from the noise and competition encountered in traditional advertising (Smit 2004).
Marketers have long sought reasonable metrics to assess the effectiveness of motorsports sponsorships and, especially, of the dollar value of the television exposure generated by the races. Not surprisingly, one of the most popular methods involves the calculation of the amount of time each sponsor’s logo is clearly visible on the screen and/or mentioned in the verbal content of the program (Smit 2004).
Reported sponsorship valuations using this method are typically quite (indeed, probably overly) generous, including Budweiser with $165.6 million worth of exposures, Du Pont with $136.4 million and Texaco with $105.4 million (Koo, Quarterman and Flynn 2006).
Unfortunately, this valuation approach fundamentally compares the “apples” of advertising to the “oranges” of sponsorship and may not be valid in many contexts (Heidler 1958). While advertising allows a company to tailor the content and context of its messages, sponsorship exposures are obviously less easily controlled and, thus, more likely to be perceived as intellectually honest by the public.
In addition, sponsorships are likely to lead to stronger links to the sponsored activity by consumers. Accordingly, questions concerning the net benefits of major sponsorship activities to corporate partners remain of considerable interest to the discipline (Hoyle 2006).
Brand Awareness and Sponsorships
Other things being equal, as consumers are exposed to more messages promoting a given brand, there is an expectation that they will be more favourably disposed to that brand, have the brand name in the forefront of their consciousness, have a greater preference for the brand, and, indeed, be more inclined to purchase that brand (Aaker 1996).
Where other, non-place-based, media are involved, there is the likelihood of having an external audience measurement of demographics, brand loyalty, actual purchase, and purchase intentions. This research information is provided by diverse companies, including A. C. Nielsen, Information Resources, Arbitron, MRB Group, Research International, Roper Starch World-wide, and so on.
At least one of the values of some event marketing is in reaching younger audiences, sometimes referred to as “Generation X,” which might be difficult to reach through traditional media (Barrand 2006).
This still leaves open the question of the value of the audience at the specific site. Such an audience may be considerably different from those watching the event on TV or reading about it in the press (Diamantopoulos, Smith and Grime 2005).
Measuring the exact benefits of sports events has, always been a problem. Where the external audience is not measured, there is little concrete justification for on-site advertising other than the creation of a favourable image, top-of-mind awareness, or the possibility of immediate purchase. There has been an emphasis on the need to develop effective measurement of the value of sports events (Gwinner and Swanson 2003).
Even though Mercedes-Benz and Nissan understand the importance of demographics, lifestyles, and AIO, the impact of sponsorship and advertising in place-based media is still enigmatic. Where it is possible to make purchases on-site, sales measures are available and, moreover, can be related to the characteristics of customers (Gladden and Funk 2001).
For instance, individuals who purchase particular items at a supermarket may be tracked by specialized Nielsen and IRI databases. In general, however, advertising effectiveness measures are not available for audiences’ at most place-based sites, including sports events, unless they are specially commissioned (Bennett 1999).
Bennett (1999) is concerned with measuring the advertising effectiveness of a specific sports event. Traditional measures of effectiveness, beyond actual sales, include advertising exposure, consumer attitudes, brand recall, and purchase intentions. Brand preference has been collected and analyzed on sponsor brands promoted at a professional golf tournament (Freling and Forbes 2005).
The real purpose of the sponsorship is to be sought elsewhere; probably in the utilization of the other media associated with the tournament. For mediums such as television and print, advertisers can obtain measures of effectiveness. In a sense, the sports event is probably a stalking horse for the real purpose of the sponsorship.
It is generally accepted that there are relationships between the character of sports events and the demographics, lifestyle, and AIO of the attendees (Keller 2003). For example, sports event audiences are usually younger people, with active lifestyles.
Sports events have a broad appeal beyond the immediate attendees, generating a large audience of viewers, listeners, and readers of the various media for sponsor advertising (Kelly 1955). Promotional messages can be styled to match the audiences associated with the specific media and the character of the event. Sports events are one major category of place-based media and account for billions of dollars of revenue (Phipps 2005).
To put this in other terms, Lipton International Tennis Championships have many levels of sponsorship so that companies of different commitments can be involved with promoting their goods or services; typically, an individual attending a recent Lipton championship could see the promotional messages of Mitsubishi, Pepsi-Cola, and IBM which are the Host Sponsors, and BellSouth Mobility, Grand Bay Hotel, and South Florida Magazine as the Silver Sponsors (Phipps 2005).
The advertising and promotion go beyond the site itself since the sponsor is also utilizing broadcast and print media associated with the event.
Thus, the sponsor reaches two different audiences with its advertising: those actually present, and the much larger number of people looking at, or listening to, broadcasts of the event, or reading about it in the press (Keller 2003). The larger number of persons in the external audience may well be the main reason for participation in the event.
At some events, it is possible for consumers to purchase the sponsors’ products. For instance, a beverage or snack advertiser can have a franchise to sell its brand there. Whether a particular company sells its products on-site, or not, all advertisers aim to create a favourable image and subsequent purchase of their brands (Kressman, et al. 2006).
In the Motorsport context, as explained above, increase in product fit can actually improve customer recalling with increments in financial value (for instance increased shareholders) accruing to partners who are directly tied it with the consumer motorsports industry.
United Parcel Service (UPS) designated the likely fit between UPS and NASCAR as a means to its sponsorship. Since, the attributes of UPS are speed, consistency, great performance and maximum utilization of technology NASCAR could not have found a better partner to improve their image (Thomaselli 2006).
Figure 2: NASCAR Sponsorships
Marketing outcomes and sponsorships result mostly in victory. For any sports team in any sports event, victory is associated with a huge spectator crowd and excessive branding of the environment (mostly with the partner’s or sponsors merchandise thus increasing fans, sales, loyalty and chances of victory (Phipps 2005).
Sponsorship in a motorsport event is associated with increased TV publicity and with getting the major monetary proceeds, i.e. investor capital gains, where a team/driver losing and deteriorating to come to an end is sighted as damaging to the motorsport sponsor’s/partner’s brand (Dalakas and Levin 2005).
For partners of a team that is not performing well, consumer may also make out the establishment of any support to be unreliable (Gladden and Funk 2001).
The strength of motorsports fans identifies that identification of fans will have a direct effect on the sport. As fan identification is associated with commitment, connectedness, and spectator involvement emotionally (Cliffe and Motion 2005). These attributes are all related to the participating team’s loyalty level and satisfaction of fans and achievements and failures as if they were the consumer’s own experience.
Fan identification is directly related to outcomes such as loyalty and satisfaction for the sport event and intentions to be present at games (Pruitt, Cornwell and Clark 2004). Moreover, if a fan identifies in depth its support for a certain event or team, their support is less likely reduce unless it performs poorly (Gladden and Funk 2001).
It usually results in recall or recognition for the brand with increased attitude and satisfaction with the partner’s brand and increased preference as well. It was important to mention his aspect of brand awareness and loyalty; otherwise, this is not the focus of our research (Koo, Quarterman and Flynn 2006).
Every brand like humans has some personality. Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand”. This is dependent on five main dimensions of human personality which are “Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication and Ruggedness” (Freling and Forbes 2005).
If brands communicate they will eventually but slowly build up their own characteristics which can be identified with human characteristics. Such characteristics may include for instance being contemporary, orthodox, or unusual (Bennett 1999).
These personality traits offer self-expression or figurative meaning for the customer, who uses the character as a signal and foresees the positive features in order to display a likeable image. A brand with the perfect character and personality can result in lifetime loyalty of a customer since he/she will find it to be relevant to their perception and needs.
Thus preferred brands are those brands which the consumer finds often to have a personality and an image of self concept (Gwinner and Swanson 2003). This is one of the important premises if considered strategically, since it helps firms accomplish a long-term and sustaining delineation and sustainable competitive edge over the others.
Brand Personality has a major influence on the product image and consumer perceptions and can have an optimistic power on product assessment and can signify the opinionated base on which delineation is resolute when there is hardly any difference other than the brand name (Roy and Cornwell 2004).
A strong, positive brand personality will result in emotional accomplishment and may direct to image improvement, an augmented readiness to carry on using a given brand or to try another brand or extension, and to pay first-class prices for that new brand. Sports sponsorship may be a precious tool used to converse figurative brand associations as an element of a method to build or modify the character of a brand.
Thus, we conclude that these attributes related to a brand personality can be treated in assessing the transference of the image in the sports-sponsorship or sports-sponsorship situation (Gwinner and Swanson 2003).
Almost anything with four wheels on a race track is getting some exposure these days. Racing is on television every weekend and some week-nights, and it comes in all sizes and shapes — the Winston Cup cars, trucks, open-wheeled Indy and Formula One cars, and many others.
Several new tracks have opened, including huge new facilities in Texas and California that are vying for races of any kind. As the sport continues to surge in popularity, the opportunities for fans, drivers, sponsors, track owners, and television networks grow accordingly (Aaker 1997).
Motorsport is an important part of the social and commercial fabric of industrialized societies. Around the world, it occupies an important place in popular and sporting culture.
From the Silverstone, Nürburgring and Monaco Formula One racetracks in Europe to Canada’s Circuit Gilles-Villenueve in North America to Brazil’s Interlagos in South America to the Shanghai International Circuit in China and the desert plains of Africa for the Paris-Dakar Rally to the long straights of Australia’s Mount Panorama, Bathurst and Phillip Island, in its various forms motorsport is of both historic and global significance (Gladden and Funk 2001).
As the term ‘sport’ is also diverse, it is important clarify what is meant by ‘motorsport’. It encompasses a range of major categories of racing. For four-wheeled vehicles alone there is a multitude of forms – Formula One, Indy Car, Stock Car, Rally, Drag Racing, Go-Karts, Dune Buggies and trucks are just some.
Motorbikes race in several varieties, including Superbikes, Motocross, Quad Bikes and the derivative Snocross competitions (Gladden and Funk 2001). While, motorsport is principally a land-based activity, it also extends to onshore and offshore speedboat racing.
Many categories of motorsport are further divided into sub-categories – on road or track racing and off-road racing. Within each major category, motorsport is further divided into a range of competitions according to body type, engine capacity and vehicle manufacturer, each with their own idiosyncrasies and technical requirements (Keller 2003).
Racing cars can miss a turn, crash or finish dead last, leaving sponsors on the sidelines. So why do some companies still find sponsorship worthwhile? Getting involved in motorsport sponsorship is almost as fraught with danger as the sport itself.
Fiery NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, for example, was fined US$50,000 by his sponsor, The Home Depot, after he punched an Associated Press photographer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August. This was in addition to a comparatively meagre US$10,000 his bosses at NASCAR-the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing-levied against him for the same incident (Shank 2005).
But sponsors sign up with a race car driver to increase brand recognition-not to be party to an assault. Racing sponsorship is a risk, to be sure. While few racing drivers commit felonies, cars still break down, crash or finish dead last. And when they do, they don’t get mentioned in race reports or show up on-screen during a TV broadcast (Freling and Forbes 2005). In the U.S., companies large and small are involved with racing.
Giants like General Mills and Pfizer sponsor NASCAR drivers John Andretti and Mark Martin, respectively. Eli Lilly and Shell sponsor CART teams (Championship Auto Racing Teams). Imperial Tobacco of Montreal has been sponsoring a racing team-and helped launch the careers of Formula 1’s Jacques Villeneuve and current CART star Patrick Carpentier since 1961 (Cornwell, et al. 2006).
But Imperial Tobacco is a noted exception, at least in Canada. Canadian companies are notoriously hesitant to sponsor racing teams and drivers. One reason is many Canadian corporations function as arms of U.S. companies. As well, motorsport marketing executives say some Canadian CEOs just don’t understand the value of racing in a hockey-mad country.
But, while the costs can also be daunting, some organizations have still found a way to turn horsepower and methanol into exposure and dollars for themselves and their clients. Take Sun Microsystems (Barrand 2006). The West McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team has worked with Sun for 15 years and has been one of its “technology partners” since 1993 (Barrand 2006).
Nine years ago, Sun’s U.K. office was looking to find a way for the company to carve out its own identity within the array of sponsors in Formula 1. Each of Sun’s offices kicks in about US$100,000 to the sponsorship effort, and they all needed a return on their investments (Barrand 2006).
One of the options available for companies to grow is via forming alliances and partnerships with other firms. The grounds for such partnerships could be to acquire some technical expertise or access to a particular etc. to achieve mutual benefits. Amongst these methods is a way of joint branding which involves two brands entering into an agreement to promote a product or service in a particular market.
This joint effort in the form of brand extension or other marketing activities could be bring synergies in the form of adding value to the current market programs operated by both companies separately.
The outcome of such alliance would be an increase in the brand equity and perhaps greater demand by customers who may feel greater attraction to such product or service because of their close associations. This form of partnerships is also common in the case of brands entering into partnerships with motorsports (Koo, Quarterman and Flynn 2006).
For the purpose of this research, attribution of a brand in order to create awareness among the consumers is the most feasible point of methodology. As discussed above, Weiner (1972) expanded upon Heider’s naive analysis of action model to propose that perceived attributions of a particular outcome can greatly affect an individual’s future actions, confidence and expectancies about performance.
Similarly, in our research these attributive compulsions are highlighted in the motorsports industries. Literature studies from previously carried out studies also proves that sponsorships are no doubt a major element of creating awareness of your brand if the attributes of the product matches the image of the sporting event.
Consumers need to sought familiarity with the brand that is being sponsored and they should feel the importance of the product being served by the sponsor.
The strength of the brand’s personality will only be evident when the personality is capable of bringing about emotional accomplishment and point out the changes that can be made in order to make the product acceptable by most of the consumers.
Also evident from the theories is that the augmented readiness to carry on using a given brand or to try another brand or extension, and to pay first-class prices for that new brand. Sports sponsorship may be a precious tool used to converse figurative brand associations as element of a method to build or modify the character of a brand.
Thus, we conclude that these attributes related to a brand personality can be treated in assessing the brand awareness, loyalty among the consumers and transference of the image in the sports-sponsorship situation.
This chapter is perhaps the most important chapter that not only provides reasoning for the chosen research design but also elaborates the research methodology in detail for better understanding of the findings that have been presented in this report. Review of possible research methodologies and data collection techniques has also been made.
Both primary and secondary sources that have been designed, implemented, and used for conducting the present research and presenting objective conclusions to the research objectives are discussed in detail. Finally, the relevance between the conceptual framework underlined in the previous chapter and the adopted research methodology is discussed in this chapter to identify any gaps that may exist in the existing literature reviewed.
Research is a method applied to find solution to a problem. The method can be anything from objective, scientific and systematic (Bamberger 2000). The most aspect of a research is the process which leads to the establishment of research methodology. Research methodology is highly important because it tells the researcher about the findings and the conclusion of the research (Badke 2004).
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
There are basically two kinds of research approaches namely qualitative research and quantitative research. Quantitative research is as the name states depends largely upon the measurement of variables to come to a conclusion which is more reliable and precise (Computing Education Research Group 2009). For quantitative research random data is selected and various statistical tools are applied on it (Goddard and Melville 2004).
Qualitative approach on the other hand deals only with phenomenon that can be expressed in terms of quality, motives or desires (Mallette and Duke 2004). Qualitative research is always done through detailed observation and the methods to calculate conclusions are also very flexible (Bamberger 2000).
The flexible nature of qualitative research always lands the entire research process into ambiguity which cannot be ignored this is the main reason why qualitative approach is divide into two following categories (Mallette and Duke 2004). For this reason the approach itself is divided in two following categories:
The inductive approach vs. the deductive approach
The inductive approach is used when contradicting data is being used. The main reason why inductive approach is the best for qualitative research is because it can conduct research without any limitation. Neither does it follow any sort of structured methodologies (Thomas 2003).
Deductive approach is different from inductive approach the reason being in the deductive approach the theories are first developed and later on tested for more empirical observation (Crowther and Lancaster 2008).
Possible data collection techniques
Primary data is the data which is collected for the very first time (Wrenn, Stevens, and Loudon 2007). It is basically collected from raw sources such as interviews, questionnaires and other type of measurements (Gratton and Jones 2004).
On the other hand, secondary data is the data derived from primary data and other existing sources (Gratton and Jones 2004). Secondary data can be collected from two sources internal data sources and external data sources (Wrenn, Stevens, and Loudon 2007).
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of brands partnering with motorsports as a way of brand awareness, and the effects that the motorsports exert on influencing increased positive evaluation and consumption of the brand associated with it.
The study lays more emphasis on understanding the reasons that lead to brands seeking partnership in motorsports, exploration of the different tools used to enhance the partnerships and, investigation of the reaction of motorsport fans to the brand associated to the motorsports.
In view of the project aim and research objectives, it is suggested that the outcome of the present research is descriptive in nature and it is dependent upon the researcher’s ability to investigate of a particular market segment and form an opinion on the impact of motorsports sponsorships on brand awareness and consumer behaviour.
Therefore, it is appropriate that a descriptive quantitative approach is used for collection of findings and analysing them. This entails making of conclusions about a procedure using statistical methods and, the research study is carried under controlled conditions.
The study uses an inductive approach where results from a relatively smaller sample of the entire population are generalized for a larger group. The study makes use of both primary and secondary sources of data that are described in the following sections.
The findings of this study are derived from the implementation of a survey questionnaire that has been specifically designed and tested for this research. Survey questionnaires are preferred, since they are a good way of data collection and allow implementation of a suitable strategy for analysing data for the study described in the next section of this report.
The questionnaires that is used is well structured, that is, having both close ended (for consistency and certainty of the data collected) and open ended questions (to strengthen and give more detailed information) (Bechhofer and Lindsay 2000, p.70).
The survey questionnaire includes demographic questions which are aimed at acquiring basic information regarding the background of respondents including their names, age, gender, location, and whether they are active followers of motorsports. The last question is important as it restricts responses to be collected only from those respondents, who are part of motorsports audiences.
The next set of ten statements is based on Likert Scale Model. Likert Scale Model allows respondents to respond to the questions in a systematic manner by giving a choice of options that are standardized and easy to follow. Responses are based on a scale from one (1) to five (5). All statements have a positive tone of expression to avoid reverse wording and reducing the survey completion time required.
The opinions associated with values are assigned as: 1 – Strongly Disagree, 2 – Somewhat Disagree, 3 – Neither Agree or Disagree, 4 – Somewhat Agree, and 5 – Strongly Agree. The ten statements are aimed at determining the impact of partnerships between brands and motorsports.
These statements address consumer perception and attitude towards such partnerships, assess the impact of such branding strategies on the brand awareness, and evaluate consumer buying behaviour.
The questionnaire also contains descriptive questions, which allow respondents to provide detailed reply to questions that are aimed at inquiring regarding their overall opinion on the motorsports partnerships and how these affect brand personalities and their continuing affiliation with a particular brand.
Sampling is the process of selecting a finite number of the statistical population which is considered as the representative of the target population (Sapsford and Victor, 2006, p.26). For the purpose of objectivity and to avoid any biasness the study makes use of simple random sampling to come up with the appropriate cluster. The survey is carried out in Oman because of the easy accessibility and knowledge of the researcher.
The population targeted through this survey is the motorsports audience that comprises of individuals who follow motorsports regularly and are in one or another affected by the brand partnerships observed by them. The email list of individuals has been obtained from different discussion forums available on various social networks.
A list of email address was prepared and then respondents were selected randomly as prescribed. A total of 450 email addresses were obtained and requests were sent to 250 respondents. Factors including age, gender, income etc were not used for selection of this sample.
This report also makes an extensive use of secondary sources that were accessible to the researcher. These sources include websites, journal articles, periodicals, books, thesis, study reports etc.
The information retrieved from these sources form element of discussions in this report including background to context, literature review, and also to understand different research methodologies available to formulate the most appropriate research strategy for the present study.
Since the research is based on a quantitative approach therefore, it is essential to use an appropriate statistical tool for summarizing findings data and performing suitable statistical techniques. For this purpose, a statistical software package SPSS 17® that is considered to be one of the most powerful tools available in the market and a copy of this software is available to the researcher.
The collected data is analysed through the use of SPSS. The analysis of findings includes calculation of means, mode and frequency of responses collected for each of the Likert Scale statements. Moreover, for statistical part standard deviation is calculated for responses to estimate how disperse responses are from their mean value. Furthermore, the findings are surmised and presented with the help of extensive of tables and graphs.
This has allowed the research to include a descriptive analysis based on the quantitative approach prescribed for this study. The findings from the study are then discussed in light of the conceptual framework set out for this study and identify the differences between the present study and findings from previous similar studies for serving the literature gap that has been identified in Chapter One of the report.
There are certain ethical considerations that need to be discussed here for assuring that the present study meets ethics requirements of the university. The study has been undertaken after giving due consideration to the ethical guidelines provided by the university and all efforts have been made to ensure that issues of plagiarism and giving due copyright credit to original writers or publishers of secondary information.
Moreover, the primary research has been carried out only upon seeking approval from the concerned authority. As an ethical consideration fans of motorsports that are targeted via survey questionnaire have been requested for their consent and are informed of the purpose of the study and also their rights to withdraw from the survey at any time.
Furthermore, it is hereby, stated that the research questions and the information provided in this report are not exhaustive in a way that business decisions can be made on the basis of conclusions provided in this report. Distribution and publishing of this report is also restricted and can only be made upon the permission of the researcher or his instructor.
It is important to highlight the limitations of the adopted research methodology and steps that have undertaken by the researcher to minimize their impact on the outcome of the study.
Firstly, the selected approach to the study is quantitative and therefore, the outcome of it is expressed in numerical format that may be difficult for some users to understand and follow. Therefore, quantitative approach is often argued to leave out descriptive part which could be useful for a study.
This has been overcome by providing a descriptive analysis of the findings and discussion within the conceptual framework set out for this study. Moreover, the study has not been possible to be conducted in a controlled environment which may be required for quantitative research.
Secondly, the sample selection method is random which has its limitations of making the results vague and great variations can be observed in the recoded findings. This has been dealt with by obtaining a list of fans, from different social networks, which have been actively participating in discussions and seem to have good knowledge of motorsports.
Thirdly, the sample size selected for this study may not be considered to be reflective enough of the entire population. But this is one limitation that could not be dealt with completely as the access to contact information of individuals was limited. There were no other sources available for acquiring this information.
Fourthly, the time and cost are two factors which could have impact on the outcome of the study. Limited time and unavailability of external funding makes it impossible for the researcher to acquire professional service to acquire more suitable data.
Finally, the use of SPSS and presentation and discussion of information is dependent upon the ability and knowledge of the researcher which, therefore, has a direct impact on the scope of the study.
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