Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Scoring big on sponsorship ROI models

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch the Australian Open Tennis these past few days because my set top box is playing up and 7 is the only channel not working.

Still I’ve been following the highs, the lows, and of course, the outfits.

Sponsors like Garnier and Kia pour big money into the tennis. And indeed, when done well, sports and entertainment sponsorships can be a really effective way to connect with consumers, borrow interest, reposition a brand, provoke consideration and all the rest.

Today the Australian Open released Roy Morgan Research which Adnews ran under the headline ‘Major sponsors scored big with the Australian Open this year’.

The research indicates:

Major tournament sponsors Kia and Garnier are heavily associated with the Australian Open by those who watch the tennis on TV (41% and 34%) and those who have attended professional tennis in the last 12 months (53% and 48%).

But what does this actually mean? Who cares if people have associated your brand with the tournament unless it translates into something meaningful? Given that these brands are all over the Open, surely this is a 'hygiene factor'?
While I’m sure the brands involved have their own activation strategies and specific measurement methodologies, this highlights the underlying tension between industry standard metrics and tailored measurement.

On the one hand, standardised ROI models mean that there is a shared language around results and comparative success. On the other hand, these results don’t always mean a great deal.

For the last few years, agencies have scrambled to develop standardized ROI models for brand entertainment.

I’ve seen (and probably created) my share of doozies based on dubious spreadsheet calculations and logo sizes.

But standard schmandard I say. Entertainment means a lot of things to a lot of different people. In addition, the way people engage with entertainment (with or without the help of brands) varies wildly.

We might be able to standardize the types of questions asked, but rarely the challenges we face and outcome we're striving for. And never the behavior we want to elicit.

I think I feel another post coming on.


Gavin Heaton said...

In my view there are only two measurements that count. Revenue in and Costs down. If you can hit either the top or bottom lines with your marketing efforts, then you have done your job.

The rest is just numbers that make us feel like we are grown ups.

Nicholas said...

The Australian Open are just releasing the sponsor recall figures from Roy Morgan. By themselves, it's nice but there is a lot more that could be added than than just awareness figures. More information is not for public release most probably.

The sponsors themselves would need to have additional objectives to measure this performance of the Australian Open sponsorship. These are probably not reported but should be much more focused on brand objectives with specific marketing outcomes.

Sponsor recall is only a partial element to understanding effective sponsorship. Other factors come into play including passion, appreciation (based on activation) and brand attribution. Basically, multiple KPIs.

Overall, it looks to just be a partial picture that is being reported. Teaser information that is good but not all the details.

Anonymous said...

i think at this point the sponsors are looking for something/anything that validates their investment ... they'll take association (what does that really mean though) for now ...

Gavin - i think you're right but I think with a brand like Kia specifically, the challenge they face is a lot more complex than an increase in revenues.

It would be interesting to look at broadcast sponsors (ie those who just sponsored the telecast and didn't do any event stuff) and see how they're shaping up and whether people misattribute them as official partners

Matt said...

Check the date on the Roy Morgan research. You will not that the research survey was conducted around Oct 2008, yet the data was released and hyped up right in the middle of the TV broadcast.

Kate Richardson said...

Good pick up Matt. I feel like a dope for not noticing it! That makes it even less meaningful

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