Sponsorship is a two-way, mutually beneficial agreement between an organisation sponsored and sponsoring them. Essentially, sponsorship is built on the notion that affiliation has a substantial influence on the sponsor’s image and that the sponsor may trade money, goods, or services in return for providing the connection that sponsorship provides in exchange for the sponsorship. A few examples of sponsored people are sports teams or groups, events, charitable organisations, individuals, buildings, and television shows. Sponsorship is defined as a monetary or in-kind contribution given in return for admission to commercial opportunities associated with an event or group that has earned considerable media notice, among other things. Companies can ensure that sponsorship dollars are well spent by continually seeing sponsorship as an investment opportunity with a potential payback in brand awareness and value. Instead, the term investment inherently suggests that the investor will get a return on their money.
On the other hand, access refers to the opportunity to profit from your relationship with a certain item (event, sports, festival, etc.). Finally, “exploitable” refers to the ability to “take the fullest advantage of” a connection. This means enabling sponsors to make the most of their investment while also capitalizing on their connection with the organisation. The key motivations for doing so are increasing brand recognition, increasing customer loyalty, and enhancing the impression that customers have of the brand. Although secondary motives are more disputed in nature, it is widely agreed that they draw in support dealers, new users, and other intermediaries and help as a kind of employee incentive and morale development. This paper will explore sponsorships in detail, focussing on image transfer, fit or unity, synergy, and measurements and linking all that to marketing communications.
Sponsorship activities might affect brand image and identify factors that can mitigate the connection between brand image and event image. Corporations get into sponsorship agreements to boost brand recognition and develop, strengthen, or adjust their organisation’s corporate image (Gross and Wiedmann, 2015). These objectives are critical for building customer-based brand equity(Gwinner, 1997). This is vital because it relates to how the customers perceive the brand, leading to its success. If these objectives are met, and the customer recognizes this, it will increase the brand’s performance.
Aaker (1991) mentions how sponsorship activities offer a variety of ways to raise brand recognition and awareness. However, less attention is sometimes given to the effect of sponsorship actions on the brand image. Consequently, if less attention is given, it will lead to events or even brands having different images for different individuals within the brand itself. (Parker, 1991, p. 26)
Therefore, Gwinner and Eaton (2015) state that brand image and image transfer can be affected. Global events and organisations must consider image transfer as the response may vary from nation to nation when it comes to global events. This is because some cultures may look at images differently compared to others. For example, an advert for something sexual may be perceived differently in the U.K. to the UAE (Gwinner, 1997).
In the past, sponsorships have influenced consumer memory, awareness, sentiment toward the sponsor, and buying intentions are all factors to consider. A good fit between a sponsor and an event produces more favorable consequences than an incongruent connection between a sponsor and an occasion., according to Rifon et al. (2004), based on common sense and empirical findings. It is debatable whether it is feasible to build a good attitude toward a commercial entity, and the fundamental reason for congruence effects is unknown.
It is hypothesized by attribution theory that consumers cognitively infer a reason for sponsoring action; a generous, or socially responsible, motivation attribution might serve as the basis for sponsor credibility and a subsequent favourable opinion of the sponsor. On the other hand, consumers may assign a more exploitative purpose to the sponsor, resulting in a less favourable sponsor image.
In their work, Rifon et al. (2004) established congruence has been shown to positively affect consumer attitudes toward a philanthropic cause, although there is no theoretical reason. Consumer ascriptions of sponsor motive and sponsor credibility were investigated using mediation analysis in an experimental setting to see if they had a moderating effect on the outcome. It was tested in a new field; on the Internet, one may get consumer-oriented health information to see whether the theoretical use was feasible. The researchers discovered that the match between the sponsor and the cause is critical for establishing favourable consumer impressions of altruistic sponsorship, increasing sponsor credibility and good consumer sentiments.
A current study on sponsorship effects reveals that there must be unity (i.e., fit) between the sponsorship and the sponsored for a modification in brand images. The similarity between the sponsorship and the sponsored project is seen as motionless. The benefits of adopting a dynamic approach are not immediately apparent, such as why unity should be considered a constant or why sponsoring effects must arise. In research done by Woisetschläger and Michaelis(2012), personality characteristics measures were utilized to evaluate the influence of sponsorship assessment congruence on image over time, and the results were published in the journal Marketing Science. The findings revealed that learning and retention of a sponsorship incentive had a statistically significant influence on brand image. The pre-analysis found a substantial rise in the brand image overtime when there was an affirmative incongruence between brand image and event image. This is in contrast to previous studies. Furthermore, according to Woisetschläger and Michaelis (2012), a modification in event image has a favourable impact on the adjustment in brand image.
The research in social psychology was used to develop a conceptual framework that allows for a better comprehension of the deserved sponsorship of events when the goal is to improve customer perception and growth of recall. Jagre, Watson, and Watson (2001) drew on their findings to develop this framework. According to the framework, firms who support events that offer a somewhat varying Afit@ to their business will be seen more positively by their customers and clients.
Social psychology’s congruent and incongruent expectancy memory models were advanced to explain how people perceive others. Since then, they have been applied effectively to marketing and consumer behaviour to explain how people remember advertisements and form attitudes toward them. Therefore, these models may be suitable for establishing a conceptual knowledge of sponsorship. Although congruity research on celebrity endorsement advertising has failed to demonstrate a link between incongruity and affect, there is evidence that incongruity may have an emotional impact. Jagre, Watson, and Watson (2001) argue that the conclusions about celebrity endorsement advertising are not likely to be generalizable to sponsorship when developing this conceptual framework.
Suppose the configuration of feature relations connected with a sponsor and an event does not achieve structural communications between the entire layout of feature relations linked with a promoter and an event. In that case, the extent to which structural communications are achieved between the configuration of feature relations linked with a sponsor and an occasion and the layout indicated by the existing model is known as an incongruity, according to Jagre, Watson, and Watson (2001). They argue that the degree to which a sponsor company’s association with an event is judged to be incongruent with viewers’ prospects and pre-existing procedural knowledge related to the topic might be operationalized as an inconsistent match between the two. As a consequence, when a person’s awareness of the promoter’s functional resemblance or image-related likeness with the event is constant, it is reasonable to predict a fit between the event and the sponsor (Jagre, Watson, and Watson, 2001); however, when the relationship is incongruent with existing knowledge structures and schema, a fit is not expected.
As a result, in reality, the (in)congruity between a sponsor and the event to which it is linked might fall somewhere between the two extremes of perfect fit and mismatch (Jagre and Watson, 2001). The difference between moderate and high incongruity may be operationalized in how easily anomalies can be handled in each case. Research has shown that when people get information inconsistent with their expectations, they will engage in more effortful or elaborative processing, resulting in better recall of the material (Jagre, Watson, and Watson, 2001). Viewers do not need extensive processing when a regular match between the sponsor and the event. On the other hand, the excessive incongruity between the sponsor and the event should result in the audience being startled due to the relationship’s unexpectantly, which should result in the most significant amount of elaboration and processing on the part of the sponsor (Jagre, Watson, and Watson, 2001). The only way to establish if a fit is congruent, somewhat incongruent, or very incongruent is to look at it from the perspective of the target audience’s expectations. Given that each sponsor-event connection will be processed and developed to a different degree, these variations in processing will result in variations in recollection and attitude.
Navarro, Sicilia, and Delgado-Ballester (2009) compared the synergistic impacts of the integrated marketing communication (IMC) approach to a non-integrated plan using the criteria of strategic consistency in the messaging across two communication mediums. They focused on the synergistic effects IMC has on customer data processing, mood, and memory (Navarro, Sicilia, and Delgado-Ballester, 2009). They discovered that a strategic consistency-based integration had more significant beneficial impacts on information processing, attitude, and memory of the communication campaign when compared to a plan that does not use integration principles (Navarro, Sicilia, and Delgado-Ballester, 2009).
An integration approach focused on consistency positively impacts attitudes when implemented. Following traditional persuasion theories, consumers’ attitudes are favourably influenced by high levels of information processing created via the central channel. Consequently, given that an integrated approach leads to increased information processing, it is plausible to assume that the ensuing attitudes are more favourable under this scenario than under a non-integrated strategy (Navarro, Sicilia, and Delgado-Ballester, 2009). Furthermore, Chaiken et al. (1996) demonstrated in the research that memory might modulate impacts on customer ratings. As a result, when a consumer is exposed to many sources of information, a positive influence on attitudes may be predicted since integration improves recollection due to memorizing a variety of consistent evidence (Stammerjohan et al., 2005). In addition, integration theory gives a theoretical framework for understanding this favourable influence on attitudes. According to this hypothesis, when consumers construct an overall appraisal of their recollection, information from several sources is brought together. When a consumer gets a message compatible with past cognitive schema knowledge, they integrate it into memory, boosting the possibility of a favorable influence on attitudes.
Information processing theories that have been in use for many years assert that memory is impacted by how it is encoded and the context in which data is obtained (Johar et al., 2006). Since each communication choice may be considered a somewhat different means of delivering the same message, it rises when similar information is offered in multiple communication options (Keller, 2008). Following the encoding variance principle, a new piece of information’s memory representation or encoding is influenced by the cognitive environment it encounters. As a result, when consistent information is presented in a variety of situations, various pathways for retrieval of that information will be generated in memory, boosting the recall of the communication campaign
In the wake of a resurgence in sponsorship, marketers have urged fore efforts by academics to quantify the economic value derived from this kind of marketing communication. The methodologies used to hold sponsorship accountable are similar to those used to hold other forms of advertising accountable. The effects of sponsorship are consistent with the ARF Model, a continuum of effects that describes the relationship between advertising and sponsorship. What seems to induce Persuasion in the sponsorship context, on the other hand, appears to be distinct from what appears to produce Persuasion in the advertising context.
What seems to induce Persuasion in the sponsorship context, on the other hand, appears to be distinct from what appears to produce Persuasion in the advertising context. Sponsorships were the first type of advertising on radio and television, and they continue to be so today. The money generated by sponsored events now exceeds all media advertising combined (from sponsor expenditure plus ticket sales). Sponsorship revenues are growing quicker than banner revenues on the Internet.
A great deal of uncertainty persists, despite apparent consensus among experts on the concept of sponsorship and the difference between sponsorship and other types of promotional communications. It has been generally acknowledged that sponsorship impacts a customer comparable to, but not identical to, how television program advertising impacts consumers. The expectation is that when consumers are exposed to messages promoting a specific brand consistently, they will form positive associations with the brand, maintain top-of-mind awareness of the brand, and develop a greater preference for the brand, resulting in the consumer purchasing the brand. A widespread misperception is that sponsorship is considered a type of advertising. This is not always the case. Although sponsorship may function similarly to advertising, it is primarily a powerful promotional tool in its own right (Harvey, 2001). Sponsorship is a valid component of a company’s overall communications strategy, and it should be considered alongside other conventional techniques such as public relations, advertising, sales promotion, and direct sales.
Since it is difficult to discern sponsorship impacts from other communication aspects, it is difficult to separate the impacts of sponsorship from other factors. As a result, many marketers include and classify the sponsorship-related communication elements that have been highlighted. On the other hand, researchers have pointed out several differences between the two media, hence disproving the idea that sponsorship comes within the purview of advertising. Compared to advertising communications, marketers have less control over the sponsorship messages sent to consumers. It is a less direct mode of communication that entails a two-way exchange of information between the sponsor and the sponsee.
Counter Argumemnt/ Implications
The assumption implicit in the mindset transference logic is that consumers will not be able to assess the sponsorship act or the sponsor’s intentions for providing the support. Some scholars have doubted this premise, noting evidence of consumer mistrust of corporate sponsorship for non-profit groups, but without empirical support for the underlying mechanism (Rifon et al., 2004). Sponsorship scholars have missed the importance of corporate credibility, a component of corporate image and a well-documented antecedent to advertiser and ad attitude(Rifon et al., 2004). These results serve as the foundation for several implications in both practice and philosophy. Firstly, the use of data at the personal level over time is more appropriate for analyzing sponsorship impacts over time than the use of findings from a pre-post comparison of outcomes on an aggregate level, which is less accurate (Rifon et al., 2004).
Consequently, the empirical study findings reflect conclusions described in previous sponsorship research while also demonstrating the limits of previous studies. According to the current static study results, sponsorship recall is positively connected to brand image, consistent with the literature. Additionally, sponsorship recollection has an impact on brand image over time. Woisetschläger and Michaelis (2012), on the other hand, discovered no statistically significant differences between learning and recalling a sponsored stimulus.
The validity of sponsoring recall as an indication of learning affects the ability to draw a difference between learning and remembering (Woisetschläger and Michaelis, 2012). According to the pre-post event analysis findings, sponsorship recollection is not a reliable explanatory variable for sponsorship effects, defined as changes in the brand image over time. According to consistency theories, brand image is determined by the relative assessment of event image vs. .brand image, and the evaluation of event image impacts the brand image.
Furthermore, prior research has shown that congruence between the sponsor and the event is necessary for a shift in brand image. In contrast, the findings of Woisetschläger and Michaelis (2012) indicate that a positive incongruence before an event might improve the brand image after the event. Both of these findings are consistent with the learning and congruity theory.
Three elements are essential when it comes to the administration of sponsorship operations. As a starting point, it is critical to establish a reliable relationship between covariates such as events and brand images to make solid judgments on the good outcomes of sponsorship efforts, and hence marketing communications in general, one must spend considerable time and effort. Secondly, the event’s image should be evaluated since shifting public perceptions of the event over time substantially influence the brand’s image. A sponsorship that once looked incongruent may become congruent with time. That incongruent partnerships are less promising may be false. Third, mass event sponsorship has an effect on the sponsoring company’s image as well as brand awareness. The four strategic possibilities must be revised to include mass events, although in a limited way.
While sponsorship, like advertising, may accomplish short-term goals like product testing and market penetration, its main benefit is long-term brand recognition and image support. Short-term IMC is essential to promote purchase behavior. On the other hand, sponsorship differs from advertising in that it has a variety of specific qualities, benefits, and drawbacks. Sponsorship may benefit the company because of the strong link with a particular event, a worthy cause, or a television show. This means that when done effectively, it has the potential to be a more striking image builder than marketing, and it may successfully link the brand to a certain market segment. Sponsorship must be included as part of a comprehensive marketing communications plan, and sponsorship is becoming more popular as a communication tool year after year. This necessitates more study better to understand the influence of sponsorship on consumer purchasing behavior.
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