HOWZAT!! For Sponsorship
With Cornhill Insurance bringing an end to their
23 year old relationship with cricket, and Natwest switching their
sponsorship from county to international cricket, an independent*
study by Performance Research shows cricket fans** recall and
value sponsors, but asks whether sponsors are doing enough?
So can fans remember the names of the companies
involved with cricket sponsorship? The answer appears to be yes,
during spontaneous awareness questioning over sixty different
companies were mentioned, and just two percent (2%) of fans were
unable to mention any sponsors. The most frequently mentioned
sponsor was Cornhill Insurance mentioned by roughly three-fourths
(71%) of fans, followed by Natwest (50%), and Benson & Hedges
(30%). The England team sponsor Vodafone was mentioned by 22%
What does this all mean? How important is spontaneous
awareness for sponsors? Some observers believe spontaneous awareness
is an unnecessary objective, a luxury, which may only benefit
commodity products such as soft drinks or confectionary. The ability
to spontaneously recall sponsors at the point of purchase can
drive sales, but what can sponsors like Cornhill Insurance and
Natwest take from this?
Quite simply the affiliation with a property in
terms of credibility, and image enhancements can only be effective
if the target market is aware of the sponsorship. Although, in
this instance aided sponsor awareness may be sufficient to provoke
further investigation into the relative merits of each company,
and the services they offer.
So how did these companies fare when the fans were
asked to identify cricket sponsors from a list? Almost all of
the fans identified Natwest (98%) and Cornhill Insurance (94%),
while Foster?s (94%), who sponsor the Oval; and Vodafone (87%),
a relative newcomer to cricket sponsorship also did well.
After establishing that cricket fans can remember
sponsors, the study then asked fans to describe how they felt
about the companies as a result of their association with cricket.
Roughly one-half of the fans chose the statement "Sponsorship
makes a valuable contribution to cricket and makes me feel better
about sponsors." So for a sponsor associated with test
match cricket, positive inferences concerning the credibility
of the company are certainly possible.
How can cricket sponsorship be developed further?
With awareness levels reaching almost saturation point sponsors
may look beyond awareness, and look to leverage their sponsorships.
The next step is to build on the positive impressions reported
toward sponsors and develop meaningful relationships with fans,
enabling them to see how a sponsorship can benefit them, both
as cricket fans, and as consumers using that brand.
Finally, when questioned about loyalty to sponsors
products, roughly one-fourth (25%) of the cricket fans reported
they would "Almost always" or "Frequently"
preferentially choose a sponsors product because of their involvement
with cricket. Good news, but still comparatively low when compared
to the loyalty levels reported toward sponsors of other sports
in the U.K.
*This independent study is intended
to provide a "snap shot" of cricket sponsorship. Typically
proprietary research conducted by Performance Research is designed
to look beyond "snapshot" data by measuring the incremental
impact of a sponsorship program on the specific objectives of
**The respondents were read four statements
and were asked to choose one which best described how they support
cricket. Roughly one-half (46%) of the respondents described themselves
as "Avid cricket fans" by choosing the statement; "I
make a point to frequently watch and attend cricket matches."
Staff from Performance Research collected the
names and phone numbers of cricket fans attending the 5th
Test between England and the West Indies at the Foster?s Oval.
In the following two weeks 201 cricket fans were re-contacted
by telephone and asked to complete a short questionnaire. The
margin of error for this sample is no more than +7%.
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