The overall objective of this study is to investigate the strategy of enhancing brand awareness through associating it (brand) with popular activities, precisely motorsports, and its influence on consumer behavior (evaluating and buying for consumption).
- To understand the reasons behind brands seeking partnerships in motorsports.
- To explore the different marketing tools used to enhance the partnership.
- To investigate the acceptance/reaction of motorsport fans to their teams being associated with certain brands.
Brand awareness, generally, is the extent to which a brand associated with a particular product or activity is documented by prospective and existing customers positively or negatively (McLoughlin and Aaker, 2010, p.175). Other scholars have defined it as the proportion of the target customers that can be able to remember a product/ brand (Piotraschke, 2008, p.7). We, therefore, can deduce that brand awareness is the realization by a consumer of the existence and availability of a product in the market. Recognition and recall of a product by a customer becomes the core pillars of brand awareness. This is because the customer has to know that the brand under scrutiny exists and recall it. This is the core business of marketing and advertising for each new product in the targeted market(s). It has been observed that brand awareness has influenced the behavior of the buyers in the market into buying more of a product that is being associated with a popular brand, activity (Kotler, Waldemar, and Ines, 2006, p.282). They continue to note that posters’ advertising is not enough for a new product in the market. Even if it will create a significant level of awareness, it will not do much in influencing new customers to buy it. There is a need for the new product to be associated with an activity or another product (brand extension) for it to be successful. Again, the brand has to communicate meaningful and relevant information about itself in an effective way to the targeted customers and stakeholders (Kotler et al 2006, p.282). There is the need therefore for it to be associated with a popular brand or activity that will not only act as a basis for creating its awareness but also influence both the existing and potential customers positively evaluating the new product and accepting it (buying it).
For brand awareness to be successful, consumer behavior is a key component that has to be looked at in a major way. Consumer behavior is the study of the time the reason and the way people do or do not buy a product in a specific place. It can be said to be the process and activities that consumers involve in evaluating and buying a product that best satisfies their needs and desires (Krarup and Clifford, 2005, p.100). For brand awareness to be well associated with the activity or another product, the behavior of the consumer needs to be well understood for effective planning of the marketing activities (Blythe, 2008, p.4). He argues that the importance of understanding consumer behavior is to know the attitude formation, perception, and changes in their attitudes concerning a particular product (Blythe, 2008, p.5). If a product is well perceived by the customers it is likely to succeed in the market.
Product awareness is one of the most used strategies in marketing a new product in the market, mainly being based on the ability of a customer to recall and recognize the existence of a particular brand in the market. The activities associated with it will very much contribute to the way consumers evaluate the new product and, influence their consumption and buying behavior of the same product. Creating brand or product awareness through sponsoring of popular activities, so that the product can be advertised through such an activity is one of the most productive strategies that contribute to the success of the new product. Sponsorship of motorsport, therefore, can be a viable way to create brand awareness, a strategy that business people should exploit.
- Partnership of brands and motorsports as a way of advertising contributes to brand awareness.
- Brand association with motorsport increases positive evaluation and acceptance of the brand and increases consumption and customer base.
Justification of the study
Brand awareness has been a good avenue for businesses to introduce a new product in a new or existing market. Because it is mainly linked to the consumer’s ability to recall and recognize a product, associating a product with a popular activity becomes an attractive way to advertise a product. This study aims at looking at how sponsoring motorsport, a popular activity in Europe and other parts of the world will contribute to creating awareness of a particular product. This is because lovers of motorsport will not only remember the product associated with it but will also increase their consumption of that particular product.
The study will cover how sponsoring of motorsports in creating brand awareness contribute to the success of introducing a new product in the market through the way customers recall and recognize it as associated with motorsport, and the way motorsport association influences the consumer behavior in terms of increased buying and consumption of the product under scrutiny. The study will be carried out in Europe.
Review of the literature (brief)
According to a study that was done on brand awareness in British American Tobacco (BAT) sponsoring Formula one (F1) motor racing, many benefits were accrued to BAT as regards its brands. Firstly, it was able to create a worldwide appeal of its brands that was aided by broadcast adverts associated with motorsport (F1). This was specifically so to the young people who are starting to consume its products, in emerging markets (Carlyle, Jeff, Monique and Richard, 2004, p.104). There was an immediate increase in the consumption of the 555 Brand, the main association with motorsport. This resulted from extensive media coverage. This is a way of advertising as every time the race was advertised; the BAT’s brand(s) were also advertised increasing the much-needed awareness in the market of its existence.
BAT was also allowed to build corporate goodwill and this assisted in developing relationships with decision-makers in the F1 industry. This is a very big step that automatically influences the lovers of F1 to increase their consumption of the brand (555), which increases sales for BAT and increases its market segment (share) (Carlyle et al 2004, p.105). This explains the effect of sponsorship in influencing the consumer behavior of a particular brand related to favorite motorsport. This was because the fans were left with a lasting memory of the BAT brands. Recalling and recognition come to play in this study.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of brands partnering with motorsports as a way of brand awareness, and the effect motorsports have in influencing increased positive evaluation and consumption of the brand associated with it. The study will lay more emphasis on understanding the reasons that lead to brands seeking partnership in motorsports, exploration of the different tools used to enhance the partnerships and, investigation of the reaction of motorsport fans to the brand associated with the motorsports.
In conducting the study, a descriptive quantitative design will be used. This will entail the making of conclusions about a procedure using statistical methods and, the research study is carried under controlled conditions. Descriptive will involve the description of the phenomenon of interest. In this design, data is normally collected through the use of questionnaires, interviews and, observation (McNabb, 2004, p.150). In this case, questionnaires are preferred, since they are a good way of data collection.
The study will be conducted about how sponsoring motorsports enhances brand awareness and its influence on customers about the associated brand with the motorsports. A pre-test will be conducted before the actual study to facilitate and ascertain the viability of the chosen data collection method.
In the questionnaires, there will be the use of Likert scales to measure the attitudes of motorsport fans towards a brand associated with it. The scale will be from ‘1’ to ‘5’, where ‘1’ will be dislike and ‘5’ strongly like.
Data collection is the process through which a researcher collects or gathers relevant information regarding a problem or phenomenon for the study. Data collected must be sufficient and appropriate so that the study can be of significant value to the related stakeholders. The questionnaires that will be used will be structured, that is, having both close-ended (for consistency and certainty of the data collected) and open-ended questions (to strengthen and give more detailed information) (Bechhofer and Lindsay, 2000, p.70).
Sampling is the process of selecting a finite number of the statistical population which is considered as the representative of the target population (Sapsford and Victor, 2006, p.26). For objectivity and to avoid any biases the study will use simple random sampling to come up with the appropriate cluster.
The collected data will be analyzed through the use of a T-test in SPSS and Ms. Excel. This will make it easy for the analyst or the researcher to compare and relate the collected data for validation of the hypotheses or otherwise.
As an ethical consideration, the involved stakeholders in the motorsport and their fans will have to give their approval and consent. Again, it has to be stipulated that the collected data will be for research purposes only, which will be included as a declaration at the end of the questionnaire to show the purpose of data collection. The contacts of the researcher will also be given for any queries that may arise concerning the process and purpose of the research study.
The main limitations that will face this study will be regarding time, sample size, and sample selection method, which may affect the validation of the research study. In response to these limitations, some controls will be put in place so that their effect will be minimized.
The study will have four main parts for its completion. The study research is estimated to take nine months. This period will be subdivided into the various tasks that are involved in research as follows: Firstly, research proposal writing will be the first task which will be done within one month. Precisely it will be from 2nd to 25th July 2010. Secondly, after the research proposal is successful, it will be followed by data collection. Due to the nature of our study, the data will have to be collected within a very short period. To get the relevant response from the target population (motorsport fans), the data will be collected in two days (2nd and 3rd of August 2010) when there will be a considerable population during the motorsports activity. After data has been collected, it will have to be carefully edited for analysis. This will be the third step. The analysis will have to be thorough for the study to be of relevance to the stakeholders involved. It will take two months (10th August to 5th October 2010) to avoid errors in the analysis. Finally, from the analyzed data, there will be the final report which will be part of the dissertation that will explain the research study in detail, the findings of the study and, the recommendations thereof. The dissertation and report of the research study will take three months (10th October to 30th December 2010).
Value of research
The study will be of major significance and it will benefit the firms that would want to diversify using brand awareness in partnering with motorsport activities through sponsoring. The study will contribute to the understanding of how sponsoring popular activities like motorsport affects the success of brand awareness and the way consumer behavior in terms of buying and consumption of the brand is under scrutiny. The firms and the stakeholders involved will, therefore, have a clear assessment of how they can best succeed in brand awareness. This will be through the formulation of the necessary marketing mix regarding brand awareness through sponsoring popular activities like motorsports. In addition, the study will have provided valuable information as to which specific motorsports are most likely to contribute highly to product awareness and influence consumer behavior in both the existing customers and new or prospective customers.
The study will consider brand awareness through motorsport sponsoring. There are many ways and activities that a firm can sponsor for its brand awareness. However, this research study will only consider sponsoring motorsports as a popular activity to enhance awareness and influence consumer behavior to its advantage. There is a need for further research on the same involving other activities or activities to look at their similarity to this one of motorsport. This is important so that there can be a clear explanation of whether sponsoring other activities will be as effective as motorsport or otherwise, to benefit different firms who may want to sponsor other activities which might be less expensive, in case they do not have much money to engage in sponsoring such activities.
Brand awareness is the extent to which a brand associated with a particular product or activity is documented by prospective and existing customers positively or negatively. It can also be defined as the percentage of consumer awareness of the product brand. Therefore, brand awareness is the realization by a consumer of the existence and availability of a product in the market. Previous researches including BAT and F1 has shown that there is increased recognition and recall of the sponsoring brand. The research will utilize the qualitative design in collecting and analyzing data. Questionnaires are the main data collecting tools to be used, and the data will be analyzed using SPSS and Ms. Excel. The study will be carried out in Europe and will be limited to motorsport sponsorship only. The study will take a period of nine months (July to December). Other researches for different activities need to be done so that there can be a general conclusion of whether all popular activities are the same in influencing consumer behavior and awareness to the advantage or disadvantage of the sponsoring brand.
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