MYTH Sports Sponsorship A Costly Investment that Only Works for Big Companies
A Series of Case Studies to Debunk the Myths of Sports Sponsorship
- Is marketing through sports sponsorship only for multi-national companies?
- Is it suitable for my business?
- Are all sponsorships in sports events always expensive?
These are some of the typical questions posed by companies when presented with opportunities for sports sponsorship. Despite the increasingly vibrant sporting calendar and a surfeit of sports sponsorship opportunities in Singapore, many companies underestimate the marketing potential that sports sponsorship brings about. This prudence is typically attributed to the various myths that are welded with sports sponsorship.
This series of case studies examines and debunks some of these myths.
SMEs can Market through Sports Sponsorship in a Myriad of Product Categories
Sports sponsorship has traditionally been associated with a small number of product categories such as sports apparel, alcohol, finance and telecomm. However, GEMS World Academy (Singapore), Happy Ice and Yew Huat Scaffolding showed us otherwise.
GEMS World Academy (Singapore), part of the GEMS Education which runs a global network of award-winning international schools, has found that by sponsoring the triathlon/biathlon MetaSprint Series Singapore 2014, it had achieved many of the school’s marketing objectives.
“As a sporting event for the family, it touched us on multiple points,” said David Edwards,Acting Head of School/CEO of GEMS World Academy (Singapore). Sports is an integral part of the school’s curriculum, parents and kids are its key constituents, and the values which the MetaSprint Series promotes - a healthy lifestyle, excellence and a winning spirit - are in sync with the school’s value system.
“Sports sponsorship works for us and it works for a range of sectors like IT and finance, and companies have to find the events that fit in with their values.”
MetaSprint Series 2014, which ran three events from February to April prior to GEMS World Academy (Singapore)’s official opening, provided the school with the marketing avenue to connect with its target group - the expatriate community.
Happy Ice, an ice cream chain and recipient of the Promising SME 500 Award 2014, similarly found the direct connection to its customers through their sponsorship of the MetaSprint Series. As the Official Vendor, the event participants had their first taste of the Happy Ice popsicles and had bagged more home.
For Yew Huat Scaffolding, Run for Your Lives was a natural fit. The fun-filled zombie race had multiple obstacles that participants had to clear, and Yew Huat Scaffolding had the necessary equipment and expertise to do the job.
“This is the first time we are sponsoring an event. By our participation, we hope to generate awareness of scaffolding amongst people who are not in our industry, that while scaffolding is mainly used in construction, it can also be used for other purposes,” said Mr Tan, founder and managing director of the family-owned company.
Marketing through Sports Sponsorship Also Works for Smaller Budgets
Many businesses often equate sponsorships with big marketing budgets. But for GEMS World Academy (Singapore), Happy Ice and Yew Huat Scaffolding, they challenged this myth by exploring and partnering sports events that works for them.
GEMS World Academy (Singapore) offered six full sporting scholarships to the race winners of the MetaSprint Kids and Youth categories as part of the sponsorship. “Expensive? It was less than what we have to pay for an advertisement in the daily newspapers. And events allow you to interact with your clients, print ads don’t allow you to do that!” remarked Mr Edwards.
For Happy Ice, it was a small investment to get its name into the minds and stomachs of the participants. While it declined to reveal the exact sponsorship amount, Happy Ice hinted that it was cheaper than traditional advertising, and was certainly happy with the two empty freezers at the end of the event.
And as for Yew Huat Scaffolding, to generate the awareness of the multiple uses of scaffolding, all it took was a five-man team to set up and take down the obstacles over five days for Run for Your Lives. Mr Tan definitely found this a worthwhile investment of his company’s manpower to showcase the versatility of his business.
Be it a major world class sporting event or a local community race, there is tremendous potential in sports sponsorship for all businesses. Refusing to believe in these myths of sports sponsorship, GEMS World Academy (Singapore), Yew Huat Scaffolding and Happy Ice are now one step ahead in their marketing strategy and building the connection with their customers.