Huawei’s recent announcement of a sponsorship call for this year’s Safaricom’s Lewa marathon, is testament to how the Chinese multinational, is committed to enhancing its brand. For the past eight years, the telecommunications firm has invested over 800,000 USD (Sh 77.6m) in the sporting event. This has made it become one of the top corporate sponsors-contributing significantly towards efforts as; wildlife conservation, reduction of human/wildlife conflict and provision of clean water and education-to communities in and around Lewa Conservancy.
Local investment in Sports Sponsorship, by various brands, is not a new phenomenon. It’s fair to say its gaining popularity particularly with large brands. In 2013, for instance, Safaricom invested Kes 41.7 Million in a sponsorship deal towards the Kenya Rugby Union’s Sevens Series. Late last year, National Oil injected 10 million shillings towards the National Girls Volleyball team-that has been performing quite well in the volleyball circles. This big money ‘commitment’ by corporates, goes to show the importance of sponsorship-as a Marketing Communications tool.
So what value will the ICT multinational gain from its Lewa marathon sponsorship call? A look at the key benefits:
Brand Loyalty. Sponsoring an event that appeals to your market is likely to shape attitudes and help generate a positive reaction. This goes a long way in shaping consumer preference and fostering brand loyalty. Coca Cola, for example, is always looking to generate a positive influence of their products in the minds of their consumers and as such regularly supports events they feel can influence consumer opinions.
The partnership between Huawei and Safaricom (the event organiser) is a perfect ICT match. As one provides phone services, the other provides telecommunication infrastructure/equipment. Sponsorships with a high fit (as highlighted) are consistent with consumer expectations of a firm-hence loyalty to Huawei from.
Media Coverage. Every sponsor always seeks wide exposure in electronic, print and online media. Positive publicity helps create heightened visibility of products/services. Various media covering the event may include sponsors names and/or photos. In addition, the kind of media coverage a sponsor may get is often unaffordable if the company were to think of purchasing it, and if it were available. To maximize this objective, most sponsors usually have a comprehensive media campaign to augment the regular media coverage promoted by the organizers.
Huawei will gain good media mileage based on the fact that media coverage for the Lewa marathon is always widespread-just as any local sporting event. Since the event will be aired live by one or more stations-a large audience reach is guaranteed. The heavy branding in form of t-shirts (Huawei team), banners and other merchandise will be amplified by the TV stations airing the event. Also, it won’t be surprising to see Huawei mentions tied to the hashtag #LewaMarathon.
Goodwill. Sponsorship usually intervenes in the relationship between consumers and event. So when consumers perceive the association between a sponsor and an event are in harmony, they tend to assume a goodwill motivation and build positive feelings toward the brand. The Lewa marathon is for a good cause and through the sponsorship, Huawei will be hoping to continually shape consumer perceptions on this basis. This will in-turn create a positive reputation for Brand.
Do you know of other ways in which brands can benefit through sponsorships-as a PR tool?. Please free comment below or better yet,shoot me mail