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A new study co-authored by UC Associate Professor Kevin Voges (Management) has found that consumer perception of a company that sponsors a sports team is influenced by its team’s fortunes.
It is the first reported study to demonstrate how winning and losing interact with sponsorship.
The study followed the fortunes of the Queensland State of Origin rugby league team, sponsored by beer manufacturer XXXX, and the McLaren Formula One team, sponsored by Mercedes Benz, in the Brazilian, San Marino and Spanish grands prix.
All participants in the study were asked to rate the corporate image of the sponsoring companies and the perceived quality of their brands prior to and during the two series, which were each spread over a six-week period.
While it found that sponsorship of a team enhanced a company’s corporate image, brand perception was influenced by individual results.
After each event, participants in the study were informed of the result and their perceptions of the two brands were recorded. In each case, perception of brand quality went up when the sponsored team won and down when the sponsored team lost.
Professor Voges said the results suggested that companies wanting to improve consumer perception of brand quality should primarily consider sponsoring successful teams. However, if the goal is to improve consumer perception of corporate image, then sponsorship is still a good strategy.
“The results also suggest that in planning a promotional campaign, a company would be best to use its sponsorship association to improve its corporate image during the sporting season, but also remain flexible enough to take advantage of periods of good performance. When the team is performing well, the company could incorporate the results into additional promotional activities such as sales promotions or targeted advertising,” Professor Voges said.