Sports Sponsorship and Brand Personality-The Ryder Cup Team and IBM

Article excerpt

This study has sought to examine the issue of 'brand image' and its potential impact on sports sponsorship. In particular, brand personality of a sports event and sponsor are considered in relation to sponsor-event fit and image transfer. The study proposes that if there are strong links in terms of brand personality between the Ryder Cup and IBM brands, then the stronger will be the shared 'brand image' and impact of the sponsorship relationship in the minds of consumers. For the purposes of this study it is assumed the sports event of The Ryder Cup is perceived as a 'brand' in its own right.

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executive summary

Research

* Brand personality regarding the links between the Ryder Cup and IBM examined using Aaker's (1997) brand personality framework.

* Questionnaire developed based on Aaker's framework, completed by 109 golfers who had knowledge of both the Ryder Cup and IBM brands.

Results

* The two brands do not share closely matched brand personality across Aaker's range of 5 scales of brand personality

* Ryder Cup brand was most closely aligned to the 'excitement' factor--50% of respondents

* IBM brand was most closely aligned to the 'competence' factor--50% of respondents

* Personality factor that was most closely matched between the two brands was that of 'sincerity'

Implications

* Sponsors need to research the brand image and in particular the brand personality of the sports event which they are seeking to sponsor

* This can be achieved by working with sports events in order to assess the level of compatibility

* Sports event coordinators need to research the brand image and especially 'brand personality' of their own event in order to be ready to market this to prospective sponsors

Summary

The brand personality held in the memory of golfers regarding the links between the Ryder Cup and IBM have been examined using Aaker's (1997) brand personality framework. A questionnaire was developed based on Aaker's framework, which has been completed by 109 golfers who had knowledge of both the Ryder Cup and IBM brands.

The key findings were that the two brands do not share closely matched brand personality across Aaker's range of 5 scales of brand personality. Respondents felt that the Ryder Cup brand was most closely aligned to the 'excitement' factor, a decision reached by approximately 50% of respondents, and the IBM brand was most closely aligned to the 'competence' factor of Aaker's brand personality framework, a decision reached by over 50% of respondents. The personality factor that was most closely matched between the two brands was that of 'sincerity' with nearly 20% of respondents stating that they felt that both brands possessed this personality characteristic.

The study highlights several implications for sponsors and sports events. Sponsors need to research the brand image and in particular the brand personality of the sports event which they are seeking to sponsor in order to strengthen the impact of the sponsorship relationship in the minds of consumers. This can be achieved by working with sports events in order to assess the level of compatibility between both brands in the minds of consumers. This would lead to a stronger 'level of fit' and transfer of image between the two brands.

Sports event coordinators need to research the brand image and especially brand personality' of their own event in order to be ready to market this to prospective sponsors who may be looking for such a transfer of personality to their own brand. Having already undertaken such research will ensure that such events are at the front of the queue when it comes to establishing a sponsorship relationship.

Introduction

Sports sponsorship has grown significantly in the past decade and was estimated to be worth 350 million [pounds sterling] in the UK, and globally valued at a massive $20 billion in 1999 (Gratton and Taylor 2000). …