Should you consider sponsorship? | Characteristics
BRegardless of the measure, the Red Bull marketing team really thinks the sponsorship works. He sponsors everything from cliff divers to Paris-Dakar trucks to cyclocross. Is there a common strategy here, or is it just a way to transfer money?
Sponsorship in our industry is unique. Cycling existed long before it existed as a sport. Some parts of our industry depend on sponsorship through marketing, and rightly or wrongly some parts of our industry “love” cycling to such an extent that it becomes easier to justify sponsorship. That last sentence is the one I’ve been guilty of over the years; either in a hurry to see young cyclists realize their dreams, or through the lense of associations to the brand.
Therefore, as an industry, we need to take an analytical look at sponsorship and try to understand its benefits and risks.
Let’s first take a look at the photo as it is today (and I’ll focus on the men’s road cycling scene and through the lens of the UK cycling industry), starting with the World Tour and some of the sponsors, then some of the UK teams for 2021.
If we take a look at a few examples (listed on the right) it might help us understand the strategy here. I would also like to remind you of my previous point; some executives and CEOs just love cycling.
Bora – Hansgrohe – Bora is a ten year old kitchen extraction system, which got its first cycling sponsorship in 2015. Hansgrohe is a shower systems company. Secondary sponsors include Sportful and Specialized. Deceunnink is a window manufacturer and Quick Step is a flooring specialist, secondary sponsors include Crivit and Lidl. Groupama is an insurance company and FDJ is a lottery organization.
British UCI registered team
1) Manufacturer of Canyon bikes, DHB cycling clothing, SunGod – sunglasses
2) Ribble – bicycle manufacturer, Weldtite lubrication
3) Swift bicycle maker
4) Trinity – sports management agency
5) * Saint Piran – Not in the above list but unusual autonomous organization
I have focused on men’s teams, but it’s important to note that sponsoring female teams may actually be preferable due to costs, relative audience size, and growth. In summary, however, a question must be asked; if you consider yourself a fan of cycling and you don’t know what Groupama is or what Quick Step does, then does sponsorship work? There’s the argument here that a large majority of advertising isn’t about immediate sales, a lot of times it’s just to make sure your market position is maintained (stop others, keep your brand first. plan of your mind). However, there are other factors here:
Cycling is green. Sponsorship of cycles can often act as a way to clean up a brand. INEOS is a prime example; one of the world’s largest plastics manufacturers is now associated with the greenest sports and activities.
Cycling is healthy. Cycling is considered a healthy activity and in some ways can help a brand that wants to be associated with the outdoors and / or vigor.
Cycling is technical. Cycling is considered a perfect scientific and technical sport for a brand like Bora which is a high technology brand.
Cycling is cheap. Compared to other sports, cycling is incredibly cheap to sponsor and is one of the few truly global sports. The events are long, the TV coverage is live, and your brand name is repeated multiple times – a great tool to remind your customers that you’re still there.
So, is it worth it? Cycling sponsorship will not bring you immediate sales but will position your brand in a strong position over a longer period.
The sponsorship must be part of a 360 degree marketing activity; make sure your website is up to date and that you partner with your team throughout your branding activity. Finally, it’s not up to your team / partners to maximize your investment.
If you rely on this, you will be disappointed. Make sure you extract every image, story, every result and get your point across.