Scientific studies during the last 10 years have shown that it’s possible to get more value out of your sponsorships with relatively little work. In 2000, the two Australian researchers Richard Speed and Peter Thompson called sponsoring ”the management’s play-ground”, which means that a company is sponsoring a sport or an event that the management likes. How much money that is used on sponsoring in Scandinavia is not clear. Some estimates say that in Norway the sponsors spend about 1,5 billion NOK (180 million Euros) per year and in Sweden about 3 billion NOK (360 million Euros) per year. These amounts are huge, and the spending on sponsoring is increasing all over the Western world. To use this money more effectively, information from sponsor analysis is required. That somebody in a company ”likes” a sport is today an insufficient reason to make sensible decisions on how much to spend on what.We know from scientific research that in a sponsorship, the sponsor object’s image will be transferred to the sponsor over time. This is probably the reason for that many companies are sponsoring a sport or an event that has an image close to the company’s present image or an image close to the image that the company might try to achieve. However, newer studies by Erik Olson and this author show that this transfer effect is rather limited and what counts is the ”fit” between the sponsor and the sponsor object. Our customers might prefer company A and event B, and even think they have a similar image, but they don’t think it’s appropriate that A is sponsoring B, as the two organizations simply do not fit. So to base the selection of a sponsor object on similarities of image, is insufficient. The Sponsor Insight Group has taken care of this condition, and many other conditions as well, in our model used for explaining the effect of the sponsorship.
Another important condition related to effect is ”motivation”, a condition that is explained in a 2006 article in Journal of Marketing. The fact is that if the customers know why a sponsor is involved in a particular sponsorship, the effect of this sponsorship will increase. This increase in effect when motivation or reasons for the sponsorship is introduced, was also confirmed by a study in Norway in 2007 that was performed by Sponsor Insight in cooperation with Norwegian School of Management, Telenor and Gjensidige Insurance.
To be able to utilize these conditions as a sponsor, you need analysis that can help you selecting what to sponsor in the future and how to improve your existing sponsorships. One way of improving your present activities is to market the sponsorship. It’s not enough to sponsor, you also have to tell the audience that you are sponsoring and why you are doing it.
Associate Professor Hans Mathias Thjømøe, Ph.D.
Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway.Chairman Sponsor Insight Nordic.