BRANDS pump considerable sums of money into sponsorship, as demonstrated vividly during the build-up to the Olympic Games, and earlier this week during Felix Baumgartner’s dramatic skydive.
Companies buying the naming rights for venues is a newer phenomenon in the UK, though firms in the US have long done this. The Chicago Cubs ground was renamed in 1926 and has been Wrigley Field ever since.
Venues such as The O2, The Emirates Stadium and The Etihad Stadium have taken the name of a sponsor – but how much benefit do brands derive from their associations with venues? To find the answer I’ve taken a look at perceptions of Etihad Airways on YouGov’s BrandIndex.
Manchester City’s stadium was renamed in July 2011 and immediately attracted attention – the big spike in the chart (right) shows people hearing recent news about Etihad going from three per cent to eight per cent. Since then it has dropped back somewhat, but the trend remains higher than it had been prior to the naming rights deal.
We see from SoMA, YouGov’s social media analysis tool, that mentions of Etihad on social media are driven by the stadium (increasing up to five times on home game days) and the most recent spike on the attention graph coincides with City winning the title.
So the stadium has undoubtedly sparked additional attention for Etihad, but how has that translated into perceptions of the brand? The Index score (a composite of six key image measures) shows a steady climb from +4 in July 2011 to +8 in July 2012 (slipping back slightly since).
The naming of the stadium has not been the only marketing activity that Etihad have conducted in the last two years, and to get a more comprehensive picture of the impact of each element we would need to do a much more detailed analysis of the available data.
The top line results indicate, however, that there is real value in having your brand associated with a venue where people go to have fun.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov