MYTH Sports Sponsorship is it simply about creating brand awareness

MakiSan ASME

Does sports sponsorship deliver more than just brand awareness?

TSL is proud to introduce the first article in a series of sports-sponsorship related articles garnered from various publications, as facilitated by the Sport Singapore Corporate Partnership department. This article was first published in Entrepreneurs’ Digest, a publication by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME).

In this issue of myth debunking, Omar Marks, co-founder of local DIY sushi and salad joint Maki-san, showed us how his partnership with local running event Run for Your Lives (RFYL) Singapore has brought his brand to life through interaction with the event’s participants. With a new outlet opened right in the middle of Raffles Place, a partnership with RFYL allows Maki-san to target his new audience – the young executives.
And when it comes to sports sponsorship, Maki-san promises engagement more than anything else.

Sports Sponsorship Creates Customer Engagement
“You can have a life before, during and after the event. You need to do a few things, working on just one thing can’t get you there,” said Mr Omar, who believes in stretching the engagement process and making it fun for Maki-san’s targeted audience by embarking on a series of activation.

Activation refers to the communications that promote the engagement, involvement, or participation of the sponsorship audience with the sponsor. For Maki-san, activation is not just about offering a 10% discount. It is always about “how can we engage?”

It started with a teaser video on social media platforms to announce Maki-san’s partnership with RFYL. Then came a campaign on Facebook to draw creative suggestions from netizens on what ingredients to have for the Zombie Maki, a sushi customised for the zombie-themed running event, followed by a Zombie Maki Eating Challenge where the top eight winners of the most creative answers came together to compete on devouring the sushi rolls by speed and volume.
On the day of the running event, Maki-san set up a booth and held another round of the Zombie Maki Eating Challenge for event participants to compete, and this time eating with both hands tied up.

Maki-san noted that effective marketing is about the experience people have with their brand. “Customer engagement amplifies our messages (to associate with the ‘fun and cool’ factor) more than just displaying a logo at the event. I can even capture the exciting activities on video and use it later on multiple platforms.”


Engaging Internal Audience
Most of Maki-san’s employees came from traditional food and beverage establishments, where marketing meant nothing more than receiving posters from the headquarters and putting them up at the shop front.

“Anything that breaks their routine is very helpful,” advises Mr Omar.
“When I tell my chef that we need a Zombie Maki, for him, it is fun,” remarked Mr Omar as he recollected how the sponsorship provides opportunities for his employees to contribute ideas and participate at the event. “When I meet a third party, my chef is there. When we went back, I asked him how he would like to see it happen.”

Sports sponsorship can also have a direct impact on employees who see or hear about their company’s sponsorship activities. “By partnering a sporting event that garnered more than 5000 participants, it does create the impression that our company is being sought after.”

The perception that sports sponsorship delivers only brand awareness is untrue, and Maki-san affirmed this with its sponsorship strategy that focuses on delivering valuable experiences that result in engagement for both customers and employees.


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