The Sponsorship ROI Question and the London Olympics 2012

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The London Olympics 2012 are only a few months away and the eyes of the world will be focused on the world’s best and their quest for medals and Olympic gold. With a global TV audience of over 4 billion, 8 million spectators, 10,000 athletes and more than 200 countries competing London 2012 is the global marketing event of the year. The major corporate partners are investing over £1 billion towards sponsoring the games. This is an enormous marketing investment and boardrooms and Marketing Directors will be keen to know the return on investment they can expect from their marketing dollar. Companies including Coca-Cola, Visa, General Electric and McDonalds have major investments at stake and questions will be raised about the nature of the return on investment.

In past Olympics, some critics have made negative commentary about the Olympic marketing ROI because they have stated what is the purpose of promoting a brand that already has high brand awareness? For example, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics some comments were made in the press that Coca-Cola should not need to invest in sponsorship of the Olympics because it is a very well known global brand. Apart from developing the brand in China, it was judging the value generated by Olympics sponsorship as simply based on buying brand awareness that was not considered that necessary by some journalists.

Even worse were some of the comments made about the sponsorship ROI for Olympics sponsors where the media coverage value was considered the measure of success. Counting logos being the supposed primary value of an Olympic sponsorship itself. The same people stated that given that the ROI for the Olympics was attributed to media valuation then it does not deliver a satisfactory return on investment to sponsors. This attitude really missed the point the key wow factor that makes Olympic sponsorship a powerful marketing investment. Simply put, the Olympics serves as a global platform, to engage with consumers through passion. It is passion marketing at its finest. Consumers are passionate about the Olympics, they associate major brands with this experience and many feel appreciation to sponsors because of their involvement with this event. Moreover, the Olympics provide opportunities to strengthen brand values for global sponsors.

The ROI that is generated for a sponsor is for the brand at multiple levels, not a single measure. For some sponsors it will drive loyalty, increase consideration and deliver increased sales at a global level. For others it is generating brand goodwill itself and strengthening a consumers relationship with a brand. There are multiple ways in which the overall impact of the investment will be made for the individual sponsors for ROI.

Business journalists should be asking the sponsors how well the sponsorship has met the objectives for individual sponsors, whether that be about sales or brand goodwill. They will find that different sponsors have different objectives to measure the success of their investments. Let’s remember that the Olympics is not just about logo placement, it is about building stronger emotional connections with brands and their consumers and that’s the key to measuring sponsorship ROI in London 2012.

There Are 3 Responses So Far. »

  1. Coca-Cola should bother marketing their brand name. No matter what the situation, if you and your company have the opportunity to showcase your image to one of the most watched events, by the whole world, might I add, you are going to do it. It gets the brand name out their even more for people out there who are already aware of it therefore refreshing their memories about the company’s brand name. Now in my opinion I do not think it matters to the “average Joe or Jane” about what is being marketed, because when they are watching these events, they are not looking for the marketed brand names. They are simply watching to watch the event. It’s all in the company’s responsibility to go grab the attention of the “average Joe or Jane” watching.

  2. But at what cost, if Coca-Cola is spending 12million for product placement and sponsorship. Will they see a 12million+ return? How do they effectively measure that ROI

  3. Olympic sponsors would want to have integrated measurement of sponsorship ROI. Brand, sales, corporate relations, financials and other key performance metrics. The main thing is to link it to the sponsorship itself. This is what SponsorMap does. It links the sponsorship to the marketing return. This is also done in conjunction with other sponsor linked metrics that can be as simple as limited edition promotions.

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