By Pilar Ortega Cue, Director of Sports Marketing at FCB Mexico
Sports is a great opportunity for brands to sell and develop better links with their consumers.
Sports is a universal language and has become a significant part of our lives. The most outstanding athletes have gained such popularity that they have become role models in society. Teams, sports organizations, events and famous athletes have a new value, which gives brands a renewed opportunity to remain an important part in the lives of people.
However, it is not enough to put a logo on the uniform of a team or pay for brand presence during the transmission of an event. Sports marketing goes further.
It is an activity that involves finding strategic partners whose image, objectives and values are associated with the brands. They must generate new sharing experiences for consumers and increase the value of their brand to connect directly with the fandom of people who are attracted to a particular club or sport.
It has been found that when a brand touches the heart of a person, through any action, it becomes unforgettable.
It happened to me as a child. While my brothers trained in the American football club, I was usually with my mother in the cafeteria. One day, I was ordering a drink when Echaniz, one of the players on the team, stood beside me. He smiled at me and not only paid for my soda, but also bought me a chocolate Carlos V, the “king” of chocolate bars in Mexico.
Believe me, after that moment I expected to see him every Thursday; and although it never happened again, from there on, I loved, and I still love, this chocolate.
Here is the importance of knowing how to connect a brand with consumers through professional sport: the more prestigious a sport, successful a team or famous a player, the more people want it, and that affection is transferred and increases the positivity of the brand image. Hence, if you sponsor a team or sporting events, like the World Cup or Olympics, it increases the attractiveness of the brand.
For example, the brand with the largest representation in the World Cup Brazil 2014 was Coca-Cola, which hosted 12 of the 32 teams selected, followed by Gillette with five and Volkswagen Automotive with four.
In the field of sportswear companies, Nike led with 10, then Adidas and Puma, with nine and seven, respectively. These brands were seen and bought by millions of people around the world. In the case of clothing brands, each of the teams that were sponsored gained a return investment that was absolutely guaranteed. The Mexican team had over 15 sponsors and the top five sponsors alone totaled $188.5 million.
The top 5 brands were Adidas ($80 million), Coca-Cola ($40.5 million), Banamex and Movistar (with $25 million each) and, finally, P&G ($18 million), according to information from the Mexican Football Federation (Femexfut).
Other sponsors were: Comex, Gillette, Interjet, ADO, Samsung and Bimbo. If sports sponsorships have become a way for both parties to benefit, it is important to note that it is not always necessary to invest large amounts of money. Sports sponsorships are flexible and there are many ways they can be used. The only important thing is to have a clear sporting strategy to follow and implement.
In the case of Bimbo, the campaign “Make Sandwich” with the Mexican national team and Leo Messi to promote its flagship product, white bread, its communication and management exceeded the goals of recall and surpassed expected sales.
A leading product for Crest that was targeting three groups needed to increase sales in Monterrey. Strategically, we found that soccer was the right way to connect with the three consumer groups and through the use of two brand sponsors: Hiram Mier and Damian Alvarez, two great players for the Monterrey Rays and the Tigers, respectively. With these sponsors, we launched the first campaign that included a series of events that generated emotions and experiences in the audience and achieved excellent results in awareness and sales.
Subsequently, the brand strategically chose another great player, Rafa Marquez, who allowed us to consolidate the positioning of the brand and exceed sales growth projected for that quarter.
The sport, an opportunity
Undoubtedly, sports represents a field with a bright future where brands have great opportunities to sell and develop better links with consumers. There is evidence that the practice and interest in sports entertainment will continue to grow.
Currently, the different audiences are increasingly demanding and saturated advertising requires us to be more creative and innovative in the way we communicate. We need to go further, creating experiences to make a difference against competitors.