An empirical assessment of factors affecting the brand-building effectiveness of sponsorship

Donlan, Leah K orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1320-2803 (2014) An empirical assessment of factors affecting the brand-building effectiveness of sponsorship. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 4 (1). pp. 6-25. ISSN 2042-678X

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Purpose: This study assesses, in two different live sponsorship environments, the contribution of sponsorship to consumer-based brand equity.

Design/methodology/approach: The study adopts a quantitative survey methodology, employing self-administered questionnaires at two UK sporting events (athletics and cricket). To isolate the impact of sponsorship, questionnaires were also distributed to comparison sample groups not exposed to the sponsorship activities. The elements of consumer-based brand equity are operationalised in line with Aaker‟s (1996) brand equity measurement tool.

Findings: Sponsorship can be an appropriate vehicle through which to build consumer-based brand equity; however brand building success is not guaranteed and is subject to a range of factors impacting upon particular sponsorships, including strength of the sponsor-event link, leverage activities and clutter. The most successful sponsorship displayed marked contributions to building brand associations, perceived quality and brand loyalty. However, the presence of sponsorship clutter in particular was found to impact negatively upon the perception of quality transferred to a brand through sponsorship.

Research limitations/implications: The use of live event settings limits the ability to tightly control all variables; therefore replication of this study using experimental methodologies is recommended. Nonetheless, findings indicate managers should consider the above mentioned contextual factors when selecting sponsorships in order to maximise sponsorship success.

Originality/value: This study explores the contribution of sports sponsorship to consumer-based brand equity in live sponsorship settings, addressing concerns over the generalizability of previous experimental studies. Equally, this study compares the brand equity-building effectiveness of sponsorship for two sponsors, which differ on a range of contextual factors that impact upon sponsorship success.

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