Corporate sponsorship by this company was spread between all major forms of motorsports, with major commitments to NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA, and Hydroplane racing. The sponsorships had been selected as “must do” activities, yet there was acknowledged sponsorship clutter within each sport, a possible lack of differentiation from competitors, and no conclusive evidence that marketing gains had been achieved with any one of these audiences.
Quantitative pre-event and post-event on-site interviews were conducted at several races in each motorsports domain.
The research revealed striking differences between the sports, with significant marketing impact in one category (IndyCar), marginal gains in two (NASCAR and NHRA), and virtually no impact in the final tested sport (hydroplane racing). In nearly all categories the sponsor was viewed as secondary to its major competitor, and lacking a clear brand message within the sponsorship program. Perhaps most importantly, the research indicated that the wrong brands were being assigned to motorsports programs.
Drastic changes were implemented to energize and redirect the motorsports campaign. A former two car program in NASCAR was consolidated into a single top rank team, with sponsorship now dedicated to an individual brand rather than operating under a corporate umbrella. Commitments in IndyCar were increased and re-focused from several title race day sponsorships to a stronger driver/team program. Sponsorship in Hydroplane racing was withdrawn, as the sport was viewed as dominated by a major competitor and the benefits limited to one-day, one-market audiences; The savings in hydroplane racing were redirected to better leverage the remaining programs. Commitments in NHRA were reduced from a multi-car to one car campaign, with a new brand name attached to the sponsorship.
Subsequent quantitative research revealed marked gains in sponsorship awareness, image and brand consideration for those re-tested.
The redesign of the sponsorship portfolio produced a measurable increase in brand awareness, product trial, and a higher level of sustained brand loyalty.