The Strategy of Enhancing Brand Awareness

Abstract

Brand awareness, generally, is the extent to which a brand associated with a particular product or activity is documented by prospective and existing customers in a positive or a negative manner. For brand awareness to be successful, the consumer behaviour is a key component that has to be looked at in a major way. Consumer behaviour 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 them in the evaluating and buying a product that best satisfies their needs and desires. Therefore, a research that looks into how companies seek out affiliations and partnerships with motorsports is considered as an interesting area of study. A review of existing literature provide a comprehensive overview of branding strategies practiced by major companies however, there is a lack of literature and studies that have been set out in the context of the Middle Eastern market.

The research methodology adopted in this study is descriptive based on quantitative methods. The findings from the present study are investigated to analyse four relationships which contribute towards achieving conclusions regarding the research hypotheses. The analysis of these relationships is carried out using SPSS and linear regression and Pearson Correlation Model have been performed to determine the correlation between dependent and independent variables identified for the study. The outcome of the study is acceptance of two research hypotheses set out for validation through statistical means including H1: Partnership of brands and motorsports provide a way of advertising that contributes to brand awareness and H2: Brand association with motorsport increases positive evaluation and acceptance of the brand and increases consumption and customer base.

Introduction

Background

Brand awareness, generally, is the extent to which a brand associated with a particular product or activity is documented by prospective and existing customers in a positive or a negative manner (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 realisation by a consumer of the existence and availability of a product in the market. Recognition and recalling of a product by a customer becomes the core pillars in 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 really influenced the behaviour of the buyers in the market into buying more of a product that is being associated with a popular brand and 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, Waldemar and Ines 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, the consumer behaviour is a key component that has to be looked at in a major way. Consumer behaviour 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 them in the evaluating and buying a product that best satisfies their needs and desires (Krarup and Clifford, 2005, p.100). For the brand awareness to be well associated to the activity or another product, the behaviour 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 behaviour 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 behaviour 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.

Therefore, a research that looks into how companies seek out affiliations and partnerships with motorsports could be an interesting area of study. A review of existing literature provide a comprehensive overview of branding strategies practiced by major companies however, there is a lack of literature and studies that have been set out in the context of the Middle Eastern market. Recently, motorsports have gained significant popularity and increase in the audiences in the Middle East. Companies seek out ways of reaching these audiences by entering into partnerships with motorsports. Therefore, in this study this particular area of investigation is focused at and researched for.

Project Aim

The underlying subject area that has been deduced from the background to context provided in the previous section is to evaluate how different brands have associated with and have made alliances to promote their awareness amongst consumers. For this purpose, the present study examines and evaluates different brands and their strategies related to their brand promotion via partnerships in motorsports. The present study therefore, aims at developing an understanding upon how brands have been able to successfully promote themselves via such associations and what impact such promotion has on the value of brand and customers’ awareness both recognition and recall of the brand. The study makes a choice of some popular brands and incorporates views of the audiences and followers motorsports, and determines whether there is a positive relationship between the existence of brand partnerships between companies and motorsports, and consumers’ brand awareness.

Objectives of Study

General objective

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 to consumer behaviour (evaluating and buying for consumption).

Main Objectives

  • 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.

Research Questions

It is imperative to underline various research questions to limit the research that allows to maintain objectivity in the study and to achieve the most desired outcome from the investigation. Evidence supportive of the following research questions, is sought after with a certain degree of certainty.

  1. What strategies companies use for entering into partnerships with motorsports?
  2. What are the effects of such strategic partnerships on the brand awareness for these companies?
  3. What are the effects of such brand awareness on shaping up consumer behaviour and their buying decisions?

It is clearly stated here that this list of research questions is not exhaustive and any other information that may be deemed reasonably important for producing conclusive ending to this study is included in this report.

Justification of the study

Brand awareness has been a good avenue for businesses to introduce a new product in a new or existing market. Due to the fact that it is mainly linked to the consumer’s ability to recall and recognise 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 of motorsport that has remained a popular activity in Europe and other parts of the world, contributes to creating awareness of a particular product. Several previous studies have been conducted in a similar context and therefore, the present study is also justified by examining and evaluating the impact of motorsports sponsorships on the brand awareness amongst consumers located in a particular market.

Scope

The study covers the ways in which sponsoring of motorsports assists in creating brand awareness and contributes to the success of introducing a new product in the market through the way customers recall and recognizes it as associated with motorsport, and the way motorsport association influences the consumer behaviour in terms of increased buying and consumption of the product under scrutiny. The study considers brand awareness through motorsport sponsoring. There are many ways and activities that a firm can sponsor for its brand awareness. However, this research study only considers sponsoring of motorsports as a popular activity to enhance the brand awareness and influence the consumer behaviour to its advantage.

Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter provides definitions and discussion on various concepts and theoretical framework related to the present study and its objective. The purpose of this chapter is to draw useful information from different publications and other sources to form a framework for the understanding of the user. Previous studies and their findings are also drawn from different sources and presented in this chapter. All this information eventually forms a conceptual framework for testing out the research hypotheses set out for this study and relevant research questions.

Branding

Brands need to get along with people just like people need to make friends with people. Brands management is about discovering a group of people with liking for the brand and who can prove some extent of commitment with the brand (Cliffe and Motion 2005). The more familiar a person gets with the brand, the better for its long term sustainability.

A customer’s perception and experience with a particular brand or product is what branding is all about. Encroachment of a human consciousness is all that a brand is about. Gradually it is customer experiences with your products that make a brand eventually (Aaker 1997). Their experiences are what cumulatively formulate your brand story. It can either be spotting your brand in a store, hearing about it on the radio or from friends who have used the brand, brand logo. The brand needs to remain consistent since the actual ownership of the brand comes from the customer and not the company. Brand marketing is simply another name for niche marketing, where different messages are moved across different communities of people. Being different is all that branding is about (Aaker 1996). Companies branding strategies must ensure the facilitation of every customer to make a connection with the brand. This is only possible if the brand is marketed in an absolute manner, leaving it to the customer to make the connection.

Brand will last a lifetime if the communication process is healthy and strong. This is where the iconic presumption of the brand comes in (Kelly 1955). Connecting your branding strategy to some iconic event, a certain time in history will turn out to be very successful. Very old brands seem to be more consistent and witness lesser ups and downs in their popularity. Another trick is to compel fewer customers to buy your brand. This will help the brand be highly competitive and more appealing. If the number of consumers targeted is very high, it will be very difficult to catch up with every claim that the customer makes. This will lead to easy recognition and recalling of the brand. Brands act like concentrated light beams (Aaker 1997). The more concentrated the beam, the easier it is for the consumers to recognize and later recall your brand.

Theoretical Framework

Alike human mind, brands are also governed by psychological theories. The theories relevant to this research include the Personal Construct theory and the Attribution theory.

Personal Construct Theory

Personal Construct Theory is an attempt to deal with the whole complex of meaning giving, that is, with what might be called our rational, mythical or metaphorical meaning-giving tendencies. In this way, personal construct theory embraces all that philosophers of language try to put forward in terms of distinctions between cognitive and emotive by pointing out the futility of attempting such definitions (D. Aaker 1996). Constructs are developed on the basis of experience. They describe the repeated similarities and contrasts among events that have proved useful for distinguishing among the desirable and undesirable consequences of one’s actions or characteristics of an object.

Attribution theory

Weiner (1972) expanded upon Heider’s naive analysis of action model to propose that perceived attributions of a particular outcome can greatly affect an individual’s future actions, confidence and expectancies about performance. Such approaches to attribution theory also included areas of stability, locus of control, and locus of causality, skill levels of athletes and learn helplessness. In the same manner, like people, brands also ascribe human characteristics (Heidler 1958).

Brands, in the light of the two theories can, therefore, possess attributes such as:

  • The level of familiarity they have with their consumers
  • Their intensity of importance in the world (Aaker 1997)
  • The inner organizing contemplation of the brand
  • The character of the product (Aaker 1997)
  • The standards the brand takes up
  • The taste or appearance of the brand, including how it communicates to people
  • The satisfaction that the brand provides
  • The benefits that the brand delivers to the consumer (Aaker 1997)

Brand Partnerships in Sports

Sports fans can display fervent consumer behaviour, which includes loyalty to the brand in respect to the partner’s products and viewing or actually attending the motorsports games and races. Sports sponsorships are at an augment, in order to capture this behaviour which reflects major growth in motorsports marketing programs in the last two decades, where logo laden billboards, cars and service stations at a game have now taken a new turn. Global sponsorships are on the rise, although a rise in the expenditure for the companies (Bennett 1999). The increasing importance of sponsorships is seen to be a typical technique for organizations allocating heavy budget to the advertising mediums.

Sports sponsorships attempts to raise brand awareness or change existing face of the brands by associating a product or brand with the features of a sports team, event or well know celebrities or individuals (Bennett 1999). The transfer of this positivity to the partnered brands is activated actually without having to convince the consumers of the brand’s positive characteristics by word of mouth or deliberately. By being a part of an extraordinary and individually pertinent time in lives of the fans, partners’ involvement with the sporting event can grow in depth their association with the target market (Chang and Chieng 2006).

Exposure to repeated advertisements of events can actually result in developing emotions of familiarity and liked attitudes for the brand being advertised, even though the advertisements are not deliberately assessed like customary advertisements. Therefore, the sponsorship can help in differentiating brands and further create more financial value to the brand name. Typical sponsorships are coupled with certain objectives such as, creating loyalty for the brand, awareness for the brand, re-imaging them, attracting retailers and dealers for captivating sales and consumption (Gwinner and Swanson 2003). Sports sponsorships help companies recognize awareness of the brand in consumer market targeted and attract additional consumers for the partner, thus increasing preference and acceptability for the product.

Research literature in sponsorships has resulted in identifying the significance of the linkage, wellness, similarity, co-relatedness or correspondence among the partnering entity and the event. Sponsorships are more successful when the brand or product that is partnering with the event or team has direct relation with the product that is it can be utilized in context to the event (Cliffe and Motion 2005). This is also called the function based similarity. Transference of brand image is strong and effective only when the partnering or sponsoring brand is sharing the similar aspects with the event. Such instances are likely to have a positive and affective cognitive response from the consumer. Therefore, increased sponsorship and event transference results in increased attention being paid to the sponsor and its marketing efforts as well as resulting in increased usage of the partner’s brand (Chang and Chieng 2006).

Branding through Sponsorships

A company’s promotion mix traditionally includes advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and publicity. Where does such conventional thinking leave corporate sponsorship? It defies neat classification as philanthropy, or as one of the traditional elements of the promotion mix.

Our research found that most companies with little or no experience in corporate sponsorship initially try to fit it into their advertising or sales promotion functions. But as they gain experience, they begin to treat it as a new, distinct element of the mix, an adjunct to rather than a part of other marketing functions. It makes use of all the other mix tools, yet it is none of them.

Miller Brewing Co.’s approach, for instance, integrates sports sponsorships with advertising, publicity, promotion, sales, and merchandising (Aaker 1996). An executive at another company described sponsorship as it “is a different and unique way to reach customers and meet with our retailers in an informal, relaxed atmosphere” (Cliffe and Motion 2005). Another marketing leader at another large company describes a virtue exclusive to sponsorship, it “permits targeting company objectives against narrow audiences, with the potential to reach a broad audience through mass media methods, both paid and nonpaid” (Cliffe and Motion 2005).

A manager in another firm colorfully described why sponsorship should play a supporting role in an overall promotion program: “Corporate sponsorships can be useful to a firm’s marketing effort, but only after a basic advertising and promotional program is in place; in our case, corporate sponsorships are the advertising program” (Dalakas and Levin 2005).

One of the questions confronting sponsors is where to place the function within the corporate hierarchy. We believe sponsorship will evolve to become a separate activity within marketing that, like advertising and sales promotion, supports field sales. About 17% of the Fortune 1000 firms we surveyed have corporate sponsorship departments or staff specialists (Hoyle 2006).

The trend is definitely increasing. Senior management must champion greater status and visibility for sponsorship. Guidelines handed to the troops must stress that sponsorships should be undertaken only if they can achieve well-defined and realistic objectives in reaching the company’s target markets (Cornwell, et al. 2006). The sponsorship plan should stipulate exactly how it is to be coordinated with advertising, public relations, sales promotion, personal selling, and, when appropriate, with corporate philanthropy. Evaluation methods need to be specified unambiguously; growth ahead.

Branding through Sponsorships

Motorsport events get the lion’s share of all sponsorships, between 75% and 80% of the over $3 billion in corporate event support spending expected this year, we estimate, compared to $500 million in 1982 (Thomaselli 2006). Well known pacesetters such as Philip Morris, Mobil, and Bud, Coors and Coca-Cola, fuel the growth. But more companies are discovering that being a sport or art impresario provides a measure of exclusivity and insulation from the noise and competition encountered in traditional advertising (Smit 2004).

Marketers have long sought reasonable metrics to assess the effectiveness of motorsports sponsorships and, especially, of the dollar value of the television exposure generated by the races. Not surprisingly, one of the most popular methods involves the calculation of the amount of time each sponsor’s logo is clearly visible on the screen and/or mentioned in the verbal content of the program (Smit 2004). Reported sponsorship valuations using this method are typically quite (indeed, probably overly) generous, including Budweiser with $165.6 million worth of exposures, Du Pont with $136.4 million and Texaco with $105.4 million (Koo, Quarterman and Flynn 2006). Unfortunately, this valuation approach fundamentally compares the “apples” of advertising to the “oranges” of sponsorship and may not be valid in many contexts (Heidler 1958). While advertising allows a company to completely tailor the content and context of its messages, sponsorship exposures are obviously less easily controlled and, thus, more likely to be perceived as intellectually honest by the public. In addition, sponsorships are likely to lead to stronger links to the sponsored activity by consumers. Accordingly, questions concerning the net benefits of major sponsorship activities to corporate partners remain of considerable interest to the discipline (Hoyle 2006).

Brand Awareness and Sponsorships

Other things being equal, as consumers are exposed to more messages promoting a given brand, there is an expectation that they will be more favorably disposed to that brand, have the brand name in the forefront of their consciousness, have greater preference for the brand, and, indeed, be more inclined to purchase that brand (Aaker 1996).

Where other, non-place-based, media are involved, there is the likelihood of having an external audience measurement of demographics, brand loyalty, actual purchase, and purchase intentions. This research information is provided by diverse companies, including A. C. Nielsen, Information Resources, Arbitron, MRB Group, Research International, Roper Starch World-wide, and so on. At least one of the values of some event marketing is in reaching younger audiences, sometimes referred to as “Generation X,” which might be difficult to reach through traditional media (Barrand 2006). This still leaves open the question of the value of the audience at the specific site. Such an audience may be considerably different from those watching the event on TV or reading about it in the press.

Measuring the exact benefits of sports events has, always been a problem. Where the external audience is not measured, there is little concrete justification for on-site advertising other than the creation of a favorable image, top-of-mind awareness, or the possibility of immediate purchase. There has been an emphasis on the need to develop effective measurement of the value of sports events (Gwinner and Swanson 2003).

Even though Mercedes-Benz and Nissan understand the importance of demographics, lifestyles, and AIO, the impact of sponsorship and advertising in place-based media is still enigmatic. Where it is possible to make purchases on-site, sales measures are available and, moreover, can be related to the characteristics of customers (Gladden and Funk 2001). For instance, individuals who purchase particular items at a supermarket may be tracked by specialized Nielsen and IRI databases. In general, however, advertising effectiveness measures are not available for audiences’ at most place-based sites, including sports events, unless they are specially commissioned (Bennett 1999). Bennett (1999) is concerned with measuring the advertising effectiveness of a specific sports event. Traditional measures of effectiveness, beyond actual sales, include advertising exposure, consumer attitudes, brand recall, and purchase intentions. Brand preference has been collected and analyzed on sponsor brands promoted at a professional golf tournament (Freling and Forbes 2005).

The real purpose of the sponsorship is to be sought elsewhere; probably in the utilization of the other media associated with the tournament. For mediums such as television and print, advertisers can obtain measures of effectiveness. In a sense, the sports event is probably a stalking horse for the real purpose of the sponsorship. It is generally accepted that there are relationships between the character of sports events and the demographics, lifestyle, and AIO of the attendees (Keller 2003). For example, sports event audiences are usually younger people, with active lifestyles. Sports events have a broad appeal beyond the immediate attendees, generating a large audience of viewers, listeners, and readers of the various media for sponsor advertising (Kelly 1955). Promotional messages can be styled to match the audiences associated with the specific media and the character of the event. Sports events are one major category of place-based media and account for billions of dollars of revenue (Phipps 2005).

To put this in other terms, Lipton International Tennis Championships have many levels of sponsorship so that companies of different commitments can be involved with promoting their goods or services; typically, an individual attending a recent Lipton championship could see the promotional messages of Mitsubishi, Pepsi-Cola, and IBM which are the Host Sponsors, and BellSouth Mobility, Grand Bay Hotel, and South Florida Magazine as the Silver Sponsors (Phipps 2005).

The advertising and promotion go beyond the site itself since the sponsor is also utilizing broadcast and print media associated with the event. Thus, the sponsor reaches two different audiences with its advertising: those actually present, and the much larger number of people looking at, or listening to, broadcasts of the event, or reading about it in the press (Keller 2003). The larger number of persons in the external audience may well be the main reason for participation in the event.

At some events it is possible for consumers to purchase the sponsors’ products. For instance, a beverage or snack advertiser can have a franchise to sell its brand there. Whether a particular company sells its products on-site, or not, all advertisers aim to create a favorable image and subsequent purchase of their brands (Kressman, et al. 2006).

Previous Studies

In the Motorsport context, as explained above, increase in product fit can actually improve customer recalling with increments in financial value (for instance increased shareholders) accruing to partners who are directly tied it with the consumer motorsports industry. United Parcel Service (UPS) designated the likely fit between UPS and NASCAR as a means to its sponsorship. Since, the attributes of UPS are speed, consistency, great performance and maximum utilization of technology NASCAR could not have found a better partner to improve their image (Thomaselli 2006).

Previous Studies.
Figure 2.

Marketing outcomes and sponsorships result mostly in victory. For any sports team in any sports event, victory is associated with a huge spectator crowd and excessive branding of the environment (mostly with the partner’s or sponsors merchandise thus, increasing fans, sales, loyalty and chances of victory (Phipps 2005). Sponsorship in a motorsport event is associated with increased TV publicity and with getting the major monetary proceeds, i.e. investor capital gains, where a team/driver losing and deteriorating to come to an end is sighted as damaging to the motorsport sponsor’s/partner’s brand (Dalakas and Levin 2005). For partners of a team that is not performing well, consumer may also make out the establishment of any support to be unreliable (Gladden and Funk 2001).

The strength of motorsports fans identifies that identification of fans will have a direct effect on the sport. As fan identification is associated with commitment, connectedness, and spectator involvement emotionally (Cliffe and Motion 2005). These attributes are all related to the participating team’s loyalty level and satisfaction of fans and achievements and failures as if they were the consumer’s own experience. Fan identification is directly related to outcomes such as loyalty and satisfaction for the sport event and intentions to be present at games. Moreover, if a fan identifies in depth its support for a certain event or team, their support is less likely reduce unless it performs poorly (Gladden and Funk 2001). It usually results in recall or recognition for the brand with increased attitude and satisfaction with the partner’s brand and increased preference as well. It was important to mention his aspect of brand awareness and loyalty; otherwise this is not the focus of our research (Koo, Quarterman and Flynn 2006).

Every brand like humans has some personality. Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand”. This is dependent on five main dimensions of human personality which are “Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication and Ruggedness” (Freling and Forbes 2005). If a brand communicates, they will eventually but slowly build up their own characteristics which can be identified with human characteristics. Such characteristics may include for instance being contemporary, orthodox, or unusual (Bennett 1999).

These personality traits offer self-expression or figurative meaning for the customer, who uses the character as a signal and foresees the positive features in order to display a likeable image. A brand with the perfect character and personality can result in lifetime loyalty of a customer since he/she will find it to be relevant to their perception and needs. Thus preferred brands are those brands which the consumer finds often to have a personality and an image of self concept (Gwinner and Swanson 2003). This is one of the important premises if considered strategically, since it helps firms accomplish long term and sustaining delineation and sustainable competitive edge over the others. Brand Personality has a major influence on the product image and consumer perceptions and can have an optimistic power on product assessment and can signify the opinionated base on which delineation is resolute when there is hardly any difference other than the brand name (Roy and Cornwell 2004).

A strong, positive brand personality will result in emotional accomplishment and may direct to image improvement, an augmented readiness to carry on using a given brand or to try another brand or extension, and to pay first-class prices for that new brand. Sports sponsorship may be a precious tool used to converse figurative brand associations as element of a method to build or modify the character of a brand. Thus, we conclude that these attributes related to a brand personality can be treated in assessing the transference of the image in the sports-sponsorship or sports-sponsorship situation (Gwinner and Swanson 2003).

Almost anything with four wheels on a race track is getting some exposure these days. Racing is on television every weekend and some week-nights, and it comes in all sizes and shapes — the Winston Cup cars, trucks, open-wheeled Indy and Formula One cars, and many others. Several new tracks have opened, including huge new facilities in Texas and California that are vying for races of any kind. As the sport continues to surge in popularity, the opportunities for fans, drivers, sponsors, track owners, and television networks grow accordingly (Aaker 1997).

Motorsport is an important part of the social and commercial fabric of industrialized societies. Around the world, it occupies an important place in popular and sporting culture. From the Silverstone, Nürburgring and Monaco Formula One racetracks in Europe to Canada’s Circuit Gilles-Villenueve in North America to Brazil’s Interlagos in South America to the Shanghai International Circuit in China and the desert plains of Africa for the Paris-Dakar Rally to the long straights of Australia’s Mount Panorama, Bathurst and Phillip Island, in its various forms motorsport is of both historic and global significance (Gladden and Funk 2001).

As a sport it is also very diverse: the term ‘motorsport’ encompasses a range of major categories of racing. For four-wheeled vehicles alone there is a multitude of forms: Formula One, Indy Car, Stock Car, Rally, Drag Racing, Go-Karts, Dune Buggies and trucks are just some. Motorbikes race in several varieties, including Superbikes, Motocross, Quad Bikes and the derivative Snocross competitions (Gladden and Funk 2001). While, motorsport is principally a land-based activity, it also extends to onshore and offshore speedboat racing. Many categories of motorsport are further divided into sub-categories – on road or track racing and off-road racing. Within each major category, motorsport is further divided into a range of competitions according to body type, engine capacity and vehicle manufacturer, each with their own idiosyncrasies and technical requirements (Keller 2003).

Racing cars can miss a turn, crash or finish dead last, leaving sponsors on the sidelines. So why do some companies still find sponsorship worthwhile? Getting involved in motorsport sponsorship is almost as fraught with danger as the sport itself. Fiery NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, for example, was fined US$50,000 by his sponsor, The Home Depot, after he punched an Associated Press photographer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August. This was in addition to a comparatively meager US$10,000 his bosses at NASCAR-the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing-levied against him for the same incident. But sponsors sign up with a race car driver to increase brand recognition-not to be party to an assault. Racing sponsorship is a risk, to be sure. While few racing drivers commit felonies, cars still break down, crash or finish dead last. And when they do, they don’t get mentioned in race reports or show up on-screen during a TV broadcast (Freling and Forbes 2005). In the U.S., companies large and small are involved with racing. Giants like General Mills and Pfizer sponsor NASCAR drivers John Andretti and Mark Martin, respectively. Eli Lilly and Shell sponsor CART teams (Championship Auto Racing Teams). Imperial Tobacco of Montreal has been sponsoring a racing team-and helped launch the careers of Formula 1’s Jacques Villeneuve and current CART star Patrick Carpentier-since 1961 (Cornwell, et al. 2006).

But Imperial Tobacco is a noted exception, at least in Canada. Canadian companies are notoriously hesitant to sponsor racing teams and drivers. One reason is many Canadian corporations function as arms of U.S. companies. As well, motorsport marketing executives say some Canadian CEOs just don’t understand the value of racing in a hockey-mad country. But, while the costs can also be daunting, some organizations have still found a way to turn horsepower and methanol into exposure and dollars for themselves and their clients. Take Sun Microsystems (Barrand 2006). The West McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team has worked with Sun for 15 years and has been one of its “technology partners” since 1993 (Barrand 2006). Nine years ago, Sun’s U.K. office was looking to find a way for the company to carve out its own identity within the array of sponsors in Formula 1. Each of Sun’s offices kicks in about US$100,000 to the sponsorship effort, and they all needed a return on their investments (Barrand 2006).

Firms looking to grow may consider partnering with other firms that can offer some type of otherwise missing advantage or benefit. Joint branding occurs when two brands enter an agreement to market some product or service in tandem. A joint branding alliance may take the form of a jointly branded new-product or brand extension, a promotion, an advertising campaign, a sponsorship, a website, or any other collaborative marketing activity. Brands enter into alliances with other brands for a variety of reasons. Often an alliance is an opportunity for one brand to build equity by leveraging characteristics or attributes of the other, partner brand. For example, a consumer electronics manufacturer that wants to raise its technological profile may partner with an internet company to create a joint-branded promotion or even a product. Same is the scenario in case of sponsoring motorsports (Koo, Quarterman and Flynn 2006).

Conceptual Framework

For the purpose of this research attribution of a brand in order to create awareness among the consumers is the most feasible point of methodology. As discussed above, Weiner (1972) expanded upon Heider’s naive analysis of action model to propose that perceived attributions of a particular outcome can greatly affect an individual’s future actions, confidence and expectancies about performance. Similarly, in our research these attributive compulsions are highlighted in the motorsports industries. Literature studies from previously carried out studies also proves that sponsorships are no doubt a major element of creating awareness of your brand if the attributes of the product matches the image of the sporting event. Consumers need to sought familiarity with the brand that is being sponsored and they should feel the importance of the product being served by the sponsor.

The strength of the brand’s personality will only be evident when the personality is capable of bringing about emotional accomplishment and point out the changes that can be made in order to make the product acceptable by most of the consumers. Also evident from the theories is that the augmented readiness to carry on using a given brand or to try another brand or extension, and to pay first-class prices for that new brand. Sports sponsorship may be a precious tool used to converse figurative brand associations as element of a method to build or modify the character of a brand. Thus, we conclude that these attributes related to a brand personality can be treated in assessing the brand awareness, loyalty among the consumers and transference of the image in the sports-sponsorship situation.

Derived from this we can set out the research hypotheses for the present study which are tested out by collecting findings from the research:

  • H1: Partnership of brands and motorsports provide a way of advertising that contributes to brand awareness.
  • H2: Brand association with motorsport increases positive evaluation and acceptance of the brand and increases consumption and customer base.

These hypotheses are further distinguished on the basis of components of the brand awareness that are brand recognition and brand recall (Aaker 1997) which are tested out on the basis of the customer follow-ship of motorsports and brands associations. Moreover, brand association with motorsports and its impact on the buying behaviour of consumers is predicted by evaluating the positive sentiments that customers form regarding a particular brand which in turn leads to purchase of that product (Gwinner and Swanson 2003; Barrand 2006).

Research Methodology

Introduction

This chapter is perhaps the most important chapter that not only provides reasoning for the chosen research design but also elaborates the research methodology in detail for better understanding of the findings that have been presented in this report. Review of possible research methodologies and data collection techniques has also been made. Both primary and secondary sources that have been designed, implemented, and used for conducting the present research and presenting objective conclusions to the research objectives are discussed in detail. Finally, the relevance between the conceptual framework underlined in the previous chapter and the adopted research methodology is discussed in this chapter to identify any gaps that may exist in the existing literature reviewed.

Research Methodology

Research is a method applied to find solution to a problem. The method can be anything from objective, scientific and systematic (Bamberger 2000). The most aspect of a research is the process which leads to the establishment of research methodology. Research methodology is highly important because it tells the researcher about the findings and the conclusion of the research (Badke 2004).

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

There are basically two kinds of research approaches namely qualitative research and quantitative research. Quantitative research is as the name states depends largely upon the measurement of variables to come to a conclusion which is more reliable and precise (Computing Education Research Group 2009). For quantitative research random data is selected and various statistical tools are applied on it (Goddard and Melville 2004). Qualitative approach on the other hand deals only with phenomenon that can be expressed in terms of quality, motives or desires (Mallette and Duke 2004). Qualitative research is always done through detailed observation and the methods to calculate conclusions are also very flexible (Bamberger 2000). The flexible nature of qualitative research always lands the entire research process into ambiguity which cannot be ignored this is the main reason why qualitative approach is divide into two following categories (Mallette and Duke 2004). For this reason the approach itself is divided in two following categories:

The inductive approach vs. the deductive approach

The inductive approach is used when contradicting data is being used. The main reason why inductive approach is the best for qualitative research is because it can conduct research without any limitation. Neither does it follow any sort of structured methodologies (Thomas 2003). Deductive approach is different from inductive approach the reason being in the deductive approach the theories are first developed and later on tested for more empirical observation (Crowther and Lancaster 2008).

Possible data collection techniques

Primary data is the data which is collected for the very first time (Wrenn, Stevens, and Loudon 2007). It is basically collected from raw sources such as interviews, questionnaires and other type of measurements (Gratton and Jones 2004). On the other hand, secondary data is the data derived from primary data and other existing sources (Gratton and Jones 2004). Secondary data can be collected from two sources internal data sources and external data sources (Wrenn, Stevens, and Loudon 2007).

Research Design

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of brands partnering with motorsports as a way of brand awareness, and the effects that the motorsports exert on influencing increased positive evaluation and consumption of the brand associated with it. The study lays 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 to the motorsports.

In view of the project aim and research objectives, it is suggested that the outcome of the present research is descriptive in nature and it is dependent upon the researcher’s ability to investigate of a particular market segment and form an opinion on the impact of motorsports sponsorships on brand awareness and consumer behaviour. Therefore, it is appropriate that a descriptive quantitative approach is used for collection of findings and analysing them. This entails making of conclusions about a procedure using statistical methods and, the research study is carried under controlled conditions. Descriptive element of the research design involves the description of the phenomenon of interest. The study uses an inductive approach where results from a relatively smaller sample of the entire population are generalized for a larger group. The study makes use of both primary and secondary sources of data that are described in the following sections.

Primary Research

The findings of this study are derived from the implementation of a survey questionnaire that has been specifically designed and tested for this research. Survey questionnaires are preferred, since they are a good way of data collection and allow implementation of a suitable strategy for analysing data for the study described in the next section of this report. The questionnaires that is used is well 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).

The survey questionnaire includes demographic questions which are aimed at acquiring basic information regarding the background of respondents including their names, age, gender, location, and whether they are active followers of motorsports. The last question is important as it restricts responses to be collected only from those respondents, who are part of motorsports audiences.

The next set of ten statements is based on Likert Scale Model. Likert Scale Model allows respondents to respond to the questions in a systematic manner by giving a choice of options that are standardized and easy to follow. Responses are based on a scale from one (1) to five (5). All statements have a positive tone of expression to avoid reverse wording and reducing the survey completion time required. The opinions associated with values are assigned as: 1 – Strongly Disagree, 2 – Somewhat Disagree, 3 – Neither Agree or Disagree, 4 – Somewhat Agree, and 5 – Strongly Agree. The ten statements are aimed at determining the impact of partnerships between brands and motorsports. These statements address consumer perception and attitude towards such partnerships, assess the impact of such branding strategies on the brand awareness, and evaluate consumer buying behaviour.

The questionnaire also contains descriptive questions, which allow respondents to provide detailed reply to questions that are aimed at inquiring regarding their overall opinion on the motorsports partnerships and how these affect brand personalities and their continuing affiliation with a particular brand.

Sampling

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 the purpose of objectivity and to avoid any biasness the study makes use of simple random sampling to come up with the appropriate cluster. The survey is carried out in Oman because of the easy accessibility and knowledge of the researcher. The population targeted through this survey is the motorsports audience that comprises of individuals who follow motorsports regularly and are in one or another affected by the brand partnerships observed by them. The email list of individuals has been obtained from different discussion forums available on various social networks. A list of email address was prepared and then respondents were selected randomly as prescribed. A total of 450 email addresses were obtained and requests were sent to 250 respondents. Factors including age, gender, etc were not used for selection of this sample. However, information regarding these factors was collected from the survey.

Secondary Research

This report also makes an extensive use of secondary sources that were accessible to the researcher. These sources include websites, journal articles, periodicals, books, thesis, study reports etc. The information retrieved from these sources form element of discussions in this report including background to context, literature review, and also to understand different research methodologies available to formulate the most appropriate research strategy for the present study.

Statistical Software

Since the research is based on a quantitative approach therefore, it is essential to use an appropriate statistical tool for summarizing findings data and performing suitable statistical techniques. For this purpose, a statistical software package SPSS 17® that is considered to be one of the most powerful tools available in the market and a copy of this software is available to the researcher.

Data analysis

The collected data is analysed through the use of SPSS. The analysis of findings includes calculation of means, mode and frequency of responses collected for each of the Likert Scale statements. Moreover, for statistical part the results from SPSS are divided into two distinguish parts. The first part consists of descriptive findings which involves calculation of mean and also standard deviation is calculated for responses to estimate how disperse responses are from their mean value. Furthermore, the findings are surmised and presented with the help of extensive of tables and graphs. The second part of the data analysis involves testing out the research hypotheses that have been set for this study. However, the approach that has been used for this to break the analysis into smaller areas of investigation on the basis of the literature provided regarding the impact of brand association with motorsports on brand awareness and its effects on consumer perceptions and buying behaviour. Linear regression has been carried out to test out these relationships based on the findings of the questions inquired from respondents. The bases for linear regression are provided in the following table.

Basis #1.

Dependent Variable Independent Variable(s) Outcome
Brand Recognition (Responses to “Brand partnerships make it easy to recognize brands when you go for shopping”) Particular motorsport team or player followership (Responses to “You follow a particular motorsports team or player”) Higher level of brand exposure leads to higher level of brand recognition (Aaker 1997)
Particular brand followership (Responses to “You actively follow brand which promote your team or player”)

Basis #2.

Dependent Variable Independent Variable(s) Outcome
Brand Recall
(Responses to “Brand partnerships make it easy to recall brands when you go for shopping”)
Particular motorsport team or player followership (Responses to “You follow a particular motorsports team or player”) Higher level of brand exposure leads to higher level of brand recall (Aaker 1997)
Particular brand followership (Responses to “You actively follow brand which promote your team or player”)

Basis #3.

Dependent Variable Independent Variable(s) Outcome
Consumer Perception
(Responses to “Brands display affects your view on that particular product”)
Particular brand followership (Responses to “You actively follow brand which promote your team or player”) Higher level of brand exposure contributes positively to consumers’ perception regarding the product it represents (Gwinner and Swanson 2003; Barrand 2006)

Basis #4.

Dependent Variable Independent Variable(s) Outcome
Consumer Buying Behaviour
(Responses to “Brands display positively affects
your buying decision”)
Consumer Perception (Responses to “Brands display affects your view on
that particular product”)
Positive perception regarding a product led by high levels of brand recognition and brand recall leads to greater purchase of that product (Gwinner and Swanson 2003; Barrand 2006)
Brand Recognition (Responses to “Brand partnerships make it easy to recognize brands when you go for shopping”)
Brand Recall (Responses to “Brand partnerships make it easy to recall brands when you go for
shopping”)

The outcome of this analysis forms an overall view on the validation of the two main research hypotheses set for out for the present study. In addition to the above descriptive analysis of the survey findings regarding open ended questions will also be made.

Ethical consideration

There are certain ethical considerations that need to be discussed here for assuring that the present study meets ethics requirements of the university. The study has been undertaken after giving due consideration to the ethical guidelines provided by the university and all efforts have been made to ensure that issues of plagiarism and giving due copyright credit to original writers or publishers of secondary information. Moreover, the primary research has been carried out only upon seeking approval from the concerned authority. As an ethical consideration fans of motorsports that are targeted via survey questionnaire have been requested for their consent and are informed of the purpose of the study and also their rights to withdraw from the survey at any time. Furthermore, it is hereby, stated that the research questions and the information provided in this report are not exhaustive in a way that business decisions can be made on the basis of conclusions provided in this report. Distribution and publishing of this report is also restricted and can only be made upon the permission of the researcher or his instructor.

Limitations

It is important to highlight the limitations of the adopted research methodology and steps that have undertaken by the researcher to minimize their impact on the outcome of the study.

  • Firstly, the selected approach to the study is quantitative and therefore, the outcome of it is expressed in numerical format that may be difficult for some users to understand and follow. Therefore, quantitative approach is often argued to leave out descriptive part which could be useful for a study. This has been overcome by providing a descriptive analysis of the findings and discussion within the conceptual framework set out for this study. Moreover, the study has not been possible to be conducted in a controlled environment which may be required for quantitative research.
  • Secondly, the sample selection method is random which has its limitations of making the results vague and great variations can be observed in the recoded findings. This has been dealt with by obtaining a list of fans, from different social networks, who have been actively participating in discussions and seem to have good knowledge of motorsports.
  • Thirdly, the sample size selected for this study may not be considered to be reflective enough of the entire population. But this is one limitation that could not be dealt with completely as the access to contact information of individuals was limited. There were no other sources available for acquiring this information.
  • Fourthly, the time and cost are two factors which could have impact on the outcome of the study. Limited time and unavailability of external funding makes it impossible for the researcher to acquire professional service to acquire more suitable data.
  • Finally, the use of SPSS and presentation and discussion of information is dependent upon the ability and knowledge of the researcher which, therefore, has a direct impact on the scope of the study.

Findings and Analysis

Introduction

The findings from the survey questionnaire form the basis for testing out the research hypothesis. The findings are arranged in MS Excel in a way that different elements of study are grouped together for better follow up of results and carrying out the statistical testing in SPSS. As indicated in the methodology chapter, the findings from the study are presented in two distinctive parts – descriptive and quantitative analysis. This chapter also discusses the findings of the present study in conjunction with the conceptual framework laid out at an earlier stage of this report.

Descriptive Findings from Survey Questionnaire

As it is clear, the survey questionnaire was implemented to acquire responses from 250 individuals in Oman who have been accessible to the researcher via email. The findings from this survey questionnaire are presented in the following sections of the report.

Respondents Age

The findings clearly indicate the majority of the respondents are young who belong to an age bracket 18-33 who may be active followers of motorsports and eventually the brands which are associated with these sports. The results of this demographic question are provided in the table below:

Age
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 18-25 65 25.9 25.9 25.9
26-33 119 47.4 47.4 73.3
34-45 39 15.5 15.5 88.8
45-52 10 4.0 4.0 92.8
Above 52 5 2.0 2.0 94.8
Below 18 13 5.2 5.2 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 1: Respondents Age.

Respondents Gender

Majority of the respondents i.e. 70.9% are male while only 29.1% are female however, this finding do not imply that men are more active followers of motorsports. The results are as follows:

Gender
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Female 73 29.1 29.1 29.1
Male 178 70.9 70.9 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 2: Respondents Age.

Regular Followership of Motorsports

From the survey it is apparent that majority of the respondents i.e. 58.2% follow motorsports regularly while 41.8% do not. However, this does not imply that respondents who do not follow regularly have no knowledge of motorsports and brand association with it.

Are you a regular follower of motorsports
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 105 41.8 41.8 41.8
Yes 146 58.2 58.2 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 3: Regular Followership of Motorsports.

Medium Used

Majority of the respondents i.e. 70.5% follow motorsports by watching them on their television set whereas 28.7% have watched motorsports both live on tracks and TV. This supports the results from the previous question although respondents do not regularly follow motorsports but they have watched them somehow.

Do you watch motor sports on TV or live on racing tracks
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Both 72 28.7 28.7 28.7
Racing Tracks 2 .8 .8 29.5
TV 177 70.5 70.5 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 4: Medium Used.

Brand Association with Motorsports

This is first question aims at inquiring knowledge of respondents regarding the brand associations by companies with motorsports. Majority of the respondents strong agree or somewhat agree i.e. 52.6% and 35.9% respectively, that they see many brands on vehicles used in motorsports. This affirms the strong partnerships between companies and motorsports for promotion of brands.

You see many brands on vehicles used in motor sports
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Neither Agree nor Disagree 22 8.8 8.8 8.8
Somewhat Agree 90 35.9 35.9 44.6
Somewhat Disagree 6 2.4 2.4 47.0
Strongly Agree 132 52.6 52.6 99.6
Strongly Disagree 1 .4 .4 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 5: Display of Brands.

Brand Partnerships in General

Moving on with the findings of the previous question, this question acquires replies from respondents regarding their ability to observe brand partnerships with motorsports. Brand partnerships are apparent from the same brand being displayed on the vehicles used in motorsports. Most of the respondents either strongly agree or somewhat agree that are 56.2% and 25.9% of the total sample respectively, with this statement while a small minority disagree as well. The results are as follows:

Brand partnerships with motor sports are common
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Neither Agree nor Disagree 34 13.5 13.5 13.5
Somewhat Agree 65 25.9 25.9 39.4
Somewhat Disagree 3 1.2 1.2 40.6
Strongly Agree 141 56.2 56.2 96.8
Strongly Disagree 8 3.2 3.2 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 6: Brand Partnerships in General.

Specific Brand Partnerships

Taking the investigation one step forward, this statement is aimed at inquiring whether respondents are able to identify particular trends in brand associations with particular teams or players of motorsports. Brand association with particular team or player is strongly agreed or somewhat agreed by majority of respondents suggesting 46.2% and 37.1% of the sample population. The results are presented below.

Partnerships between brands and particular teams of motor sports are common
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Neither Agree nor Disagree 31 12.4 12.4 12.4
Somewhat Agree 93 37.1 37.1 49.4
Somewhat Disagree 6 2.4 2.4 51.8
Strongly Agree 116 46.2 46.2 98.0
Strongly Disagree 5 2.0 2.0 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 7: Specific Brand Partnerships.

Brands of Similar Products

Motorsports are considered to have characteristics of excitement, adventure, courage and endurance. Brands associated with particular products are commonly seen on vehicles used in motorsports based on the message they wish to deliver to consumers which could have the influence on their behaviour. The results show that most of the respondents strongly agree or somewhat agree to this statement that are 25.9% and 36.7% of the sample population. However, 20.3% of the individuals did not have clear knowhow of whether brands of similar products are displayed on vehicles used in motorsports.

Brands of similar products are commonly seen on vehicles used in motor sports
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Neither Agree nor Disagree 51 20.3 20.3 20.3
Somewhat Agree 92 36.7 36.7 57.0
Somewhat Disagree 20 8.0 8.0 64.9
Strongly Agree 65 25.9 25.9 90.8
Strongly Disagree 23 9.2 9.2 100.0
Total 250 100.0 100.0

Table 8: Brands of Similar Products.

Findings from Open Ended Questions

The questionnaire also included two open ended questions which are aimed at inquiring whether companies have excessively used brand associations with motorsports as a promotion tool and also whether certain products which have negative implications for consumers such as cigarettes be allowed for promoting their brands through motorsports. Both these questions received a mix of responses from individuals taking part in the survey questionnaire. In responses to the first question, majority of the respondents are of the view that the brand partnerships with motorsports and display of brands on vehicles are not perceived to be excessively done by the companies instead it seems to be supportive of the nature of motorsports.

Respondents feel that motorsports are expensive and therefore, without such brand partnerships it will not be possible to generate funds necessary for continuation of motorsports. They are therefore, of the view that brand partnerships are necessary to maintain a balance which is beneficial for both sides that are companies, which aim to promote their brands through motorsports and also the arrangers and teams involved in the sport. Brand displays on vehicles are considered to be attractive and tend to increase the appeal of motorsports. However, there is also a major proportion of the sample population that view some brands are excessively displayed on the vehicles and there should be lesser display of brands.

The findings from the survey questionnaire regarding the second open ended question clear indicate that the majority of respondents are of the view that additive products and brands representing them should be avoided for display on vehicles. The major reasons that they have suggested include that brand partnerships between companies which sell addictive products such as cigarettes and alcohol can influence behaviour of young audience by affecting their ability to either stay from these addictions or control them. However, some of the respondents suggest that display of such brands do not really affect anyone because these brands are already displayed extensively by companies through other forms and therefore, the impact is minimal as motorsports has typically devoted fan club that realize the importance of such brand partnerships and they do understand the social issues related to the such brand promotions and the decision to smoke or drink should be left to them to take. It is therefore, harsh to ban them if regulators decide to do so.

From these questions, important remarks could be made regarding the brand associations have been important part of motorsports and without them the essence of motorsports may not be fulfilled. Companies regularly review their branding strategies and promotion of brands through such partnerships is crucial important for both the businesses and sports. Companies with similar products tend to compete on the basis of acquiring a place on vehicles used in motorsports but at the same time there are certain products that are viewed negatively by the society and are suggested to be barred from display but this is surely going to have financial implications for motorsports which are difficult to accept and manage.

Statistical Findings and Analysis

Variable Results Measurement

The research methodology laid out the basis of analysis and identifies variables which are used for determining the relationship between brand partnerships with motorsports and their impact on the brand awareness, consumer perception and consumer behaviour instigating higher purchase of products carrying particular brands. The results are presented in the following table.

Descriptive Statistics
N Mean Std. Deviation
You follow a particular motorsports team or player 250 3.76 1.207
You actively follow brands which promote your team or player 250 3.37 1.203
Brand partnerships make it easy to recognize brands when you go shopping 250 4.09 .914
Brands display affects your view on that particular product 250 3.85 1.126
Brand partnerships make it easy to recall brands when you go shopping 250 4.13 .861
Brands display positively affects your buying decision 250 3.80 1.073
Valid N (list wise) 250

Table 9: Mean and Standard Deviation of Variables for Measurement.

The descriptive analysis of the findings from the survey questionnaire indicate that majority of the respondents somewhat agree that they follow a particular motorsports team or player taking part in the motorsports. The average response to this statement is 3.76 with standard deviation of 1.207 that indicates the dispersion of responses collected on either side of the mean value.

The findings also indicate that majority of the respondents somewhat agree that they follow particular brands associated with their favorite team or player in the motorsports. The findings indicate that the mean value of responses to this statement is 3.37 with standard deviation of 1.203 on either sides of the mean value.

Brand awareness is evaluated on the basis of its two components – brand recognition and brand recall. The average responses related to the statement is 4.09 implying that majority of the respondents strongly agree that the brand partnerships make it easier for respondents to recognize brands associated with motorsports when they go for shopping. They can distinguish the brand amongst others when they visit a shop. The standard deviation is relatively low that is 0.914 which implies that the responses are concentrated near the mean value.

Another component of brand awareness is brand recall. The findings from the survey related to the statement suggesting that the brand partnerships allow consumers to easily recall brands that they have seen on vehicles used in the motorsports. The mean value of responses collected is 4.13 which implies that majority of the respondents strongly agree that brand partnerships with motorsports and display of brands on vehicles help them in recalling brands when they think about them. The standard deviation is relatively low that is 0.861 which implies that the most of the responses are close to the mean value.

Brand partnerships with motorsports tend to affect customers’ perception regarding that brand or product. This is reflective from the average value of the responses related to the statement implying that brands display affects respondents view when they see brands being displayed on vehicles used in the motorsports. The mean value of responses is 3.85 which indicates that the majority of respondents somewhat agree to this statement and the standard deviation is 1.126 on either sides of the mean value of responses.

Final variable that is assessed in this study is the buying behaviour of customers. Increased exposure of brands tends to positively influence the buying behaviour of individuals. The findings clearly indicate the mean value of responses collected from the survey is 3.80 that implies that majority of the respondents somewhat agree that brand association with motorsports do tend to affect their buying decisions in a way that they buy more of the brand or product which is associated with the team or player they follow.

Regression Analysis

The regression analysis is performed to test out the following relationships identified for concluding the main research hypotheses of the present study. The identification of variables used for evaluating these relationships is made in the previous chapter of this report.

  1. Brand associations positively affect brand recognition.
  2. Brand associations positively affect brand recall.
  3. Brand associations positively affect consumer perceptions.
  4. Brand association positively affect consumer buying behaviour.
Brand associations vs. brand recognition

The first relationship that is evaluated from the findings of the survey question is between brand partnerships and brand recognition. Correlation and linear regression between dependent variable – brand recognition and independent variables – team or player followership and brand followership is provided in the following tables. There is a positive correlation between all three variables using Pearson correlation which implies that there is a positive trend in brand recognition based on changes in independent variables. The regression analysis indicates that the value of y-intercept b0 is 3.270 and point estimates of slope are b1: 0.116 and b2:0.114 which indicates a positive relationship between dependent and independent variable. The regression equation obtained from the analysis is given as:

Brand recognition: 3.270 + 0.116 x Team or player followership + 0.114 x Brand followership

This supports the first testing hypothesis that there is a positive relation between brand partnerships and brand recognition. The coefficient of determination r2 is only 6.9% which reflect the explained variations in the 250 observations made while remaining variations remain unexplained.

Correlations
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer
Pearson Correlation Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping 1.000 .227 .226
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer .227 1.000 .498
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .226 .498 1.000
Sig. (1-tailed) Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping . .000 .000
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer .000 . .000
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .000 .000 .
N Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping 250 250 250
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer 250 250 250
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer 250 250 250
Model Summaryb
Model Change Statistics
R Square Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F Change
1 .069a 9.086 2 247 .000
Predictors: (Constant), Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer, Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer
Dependent Variable: Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping
Coefficientsa
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) 3.270 .200 16.312 .000
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer .116 .054 .153 2.158 .032
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .114 .054 .150 2.112 .036
Dependent Variable: Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping

Table 10: Brand recognition and followership of particular motorsports team or player and brand followership.

Brand associations vs. brand recall

The second relationship between brand associations with motorsports and brand recall is tested out. The results indicate that there is a positive correlation between brand recall and team or player followership and brand followership as provided in the following table. The linear regression between dependent variable – brand recall and independent variables team or player followership and brand followership indicate that the y-intercept b0 is at 3.502 whereas the point estimates of slope are b1: 0.102 and b2: 0.73 that reflect a positive relationship between brand recall and brand partnerships with motorsports. The coefficient of determination r2 is only 4.5% which suggests that 4.5% of the total variation in 250 observations can be explained by the model while remaining is unexplained. The regression equation derived from the analysis is given as:

Brand recognition: 3.502+ 0.102 x Team or player followership + 0.73 x Brand followership

Correlations
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer
Pearson Correlation Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping 1.000 .194 .173
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer .194 1.000 .498
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .173 .498 1.000
Sig. (1-tailed) Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping . .001 .003
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer .001 . .000
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .003 .000 .
N Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping 250 250 250
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer 250 250 250
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer 250 250 250
Model Summaryb
Model Change Statistics
R Square Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F Change
1 .045a 5.881 2 247 .003
Predictors: (Constant), Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer, Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer
Dependent Variable: Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping
Coefficientsa
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) 3.502 .191 18.320 .000
Youfollowaparticularmotorsportsteamorplayer .102 .051 .143 1.996 .047
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .073 .051 .102 1.424 .156
Dependent Variable: Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping

Table 11: Brand recall and followership of particular motorsports team or player and brand followership.

Brand associations vs. consumer perceptions

Third relationship that has been evaluated in this study is the impact of brand associations with motorsports on consumer perceptions regarding the brands. Pearson correlation indicates that there is a positive correlation between consumer view on a particular product and brand followership. The regression analysis points out that the y-intercept b0 is 3.274 and the point estimate of slope b1 is 0.171 which indicates a positive relationship between dependent variable – consumer perception and independent variable – brand followership. The coefficient of determination r2 only explains 3.4% of the total variation in 250 observations made in the survey while the remaining remains unexplained. The regression equation that is derived from the analysis is given as:

Consumer Perception: 3.274 + 0.171 x Team or player followership

Correlations
Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer
Pearson Correlation Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct 1.000 .183
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .183 1.000
Sig. (1-tailed) Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct . .002
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .002 .
N Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct 250 250
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer 250 250
Model Summaryb
Model Change Statistics
R Square Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F Change
1 .034a 8.608 1 248 .004
Predictors: (Constant), Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer
Dependent Variable: Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct
Coefficientsa
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) 3.274 .209 15.660 .000
Youactivelyfollowbrandswhichpromoteyourteamorplayer .171 .058 .183 2.934 .004
Dependent Variable: Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct

Table 12: Consumer perception and brand followership.

Brand associations vs. buying behaviour

The final testing that has been made through the study is the impact of brand associations on buying behaviour of consumers. This has been evaluated by considering the dependent variable – buying behaviour and independent variables – brand recognition, brand recall, and consumer perception. Pearson Correlation clearly indicates that there is a positive correlation between all variables which suggests a positive relationship between these variables. The regression analysis suggests that the coefficient of determination r2 is 41.9% which suggests that this much percentage of total variations in 250 observations can be explained through this model whereas the remaining is unexplained. The table below indicates that the y-intercept b0 is 0.317 and the point estimates of slope are b1: 0.121, b2: 0.212 and b3: 0.524 which clearly suggests a positive relationship between brand partnership with motorsports and buying behaviour of consumers. The regression equation obtained from the analysis is given as:

Consumer Buying Behaviour: 0.317 + 0.121x Brand Recognition + 0.212 Consumer Perceptions + 0.524 x Brand Recall

Correlations
Brandsdisplaypositivelyaffectsyourbuyingdecision Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping
Pearson Correlation Brandsdisplaypositivelyaffectsyourbuyingdecision 1.000 .477 .514 .607
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping .477 1.000 .540 .603
Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct .514 .540 1.000 .559
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping .607 .603 .559 1.000
Sig. (1-tailed) Brandsdisplaypositivelyaffectsyourbuyingdecision . .000 .000 .000
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping .000 . .000 .000
Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct .000 .000 . .000
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping .000 .000 .000 .
N Brandsdisplaypositivelyaffectsyourbuyingdecision 250 250 250 250
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping 250 250 250 250
Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct 250 250 250 250
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping 250 250 250 250
Model Summaryb
Model Change Statistics
R Square Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F Change
1 .419a 59.196 3 246 .000
Predictors: (Constant), Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping, Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct, Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping
Dependent Variable: Brandsdisplaypositivelyaffectsyourbuyingdecision
Coefficientsa
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) .317 .276 1.148 .252
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecognizebrandswhenyougoshopping .121 .075 .103 1.616 .107
Brandsdisplayaffectsyourviewonthatparticularproduct .212 .059 .223 3.619 .000
Brandpartnershipsmakeiteasytorecallbrandswhenyougoshopping .524 .081 .421 6.478 .000
Dependent Variable: Brandsdisplaypositivelyaffectsyourbuyingdecision

Table 13: Consumer buying behaviour and brand recognition, brand recall and consumer perception.

Summary

The descriptive quantitative findings from the study can be viewed in relation to the research questions set out for this study to suggest possible answers for them.

What strategies companies use for entering into partnerships with motorsports?

The discussion of the strategies used by companies for maintaining brand association with motorsports clearly suggest that companies do their branding through this medium to mainly attract young audiences (Keller 2003). The impact of such branding strategies is in the form of shaping the attitude and behaviour of audiences that provoke more sales of products (Cliffe and Motion 2005). Individuals tend to relate themselves with the nature of motorsports (Bennett 1999), and frequent exposures to brands which are displayed on the vehicles generate commitment and loyalty amongst followers of motorsports Roy and Cornwell 2004).

What are the effects of such strategic partnerships on the brand awareness for these companies?

The findings from the primary research and its subsequent analysis clearly indicate that brand partnerships with motorsports have positive implications for brand awareness. This is consistent with the findings of Aaker (1997) and Koo, Quarterman and Flynn (2006). It has been observed that brand partnerships lead to regular followership of teams or players involved in motorsports and brands displayed by them which eventually lead to higher levels of brand recognition and brand recall.

What are the effects of such brand awareness on shaping up consumer behaviour and their buying decisions?

Furthermore, the primary findings also suggest that once brands are able to generate a feeling of attachment amongst consumers by positively affecting their view regarding the brand and its product then brand awareness becomes a major contributor to increased levels of buying patterns observed amongst individuals. This is consistent with the findings of Gwinner and Swanson (2003) and Barrand (2006).

Conclusions and Recommendations

Introduction

The present study primarily aims at investigation the role of brand partnerships with motorsports on shaping up consumers’ perception regarding a brand / product which leads to greater brand awareness amongst consumers. It is also set that once brands are able to achieve generate positive sentiments amongst consumers regarding a brand and they experience higher levels of brand awareness, this would eventually lead to positive buying trend amongst consumers’ purchases. The present study not only examined various elements of branding and strategies that companies use for promoting their brands by entering into partnerships with motorsports. Based on the theories of personal construct and attribution theory related to the outcome of branding approach, companies continue to influence consumers’ behaviour by shaping up their perceptions regarding the nature of the product and its characteristics.

Branding through sports has been practiced worldwide by companies sponsoring teams and players. This is considered valuable as companies are able to generate higher financial value for their brands and products. These partnerships therefore, tend to have significant impact on business of both sides. This also comes in the form of higher level of attraction and commitment by individuals or followers of motorsports. Different branding models have been discussed in this study, which clearly suggest that the branding associations with motorsports are able to influence consumer perceptions regarding products and engage them in higher buying trends. The present study is based on the conceptual framework that is derived on the basis of findings of studies by Aaker (1997), Koo, Quarterman and Flynn (2006), Gwinner and Swanson (2003), and Barrand (2006).

The research methodology adopted in this study is descriptive based on quantitative methods. The findings from the present study are investigated to analyse four relationships which contribute towards achieving conclusions regarding the research hypotheses. The analysis of these relationships is carried out using SPSS and linear regression and Pearson Correlation Model have been performed to determine the correlation between dependent and independent variables identified for the study. These are provided below in the table:

Description Outcome
Brand associations vs. Brand recognition Positive
Brand associations vs. Brand recall Positive
Brand associations vs. Consumer perceptions Positive
Brand association vs. Consumer buying behaviour Positive

Table 14: Outcome of Relationships.

The outcome of the linear regression is in the form of linear equations which highlight the direction of the relationships and significance of the variations observed in the study.

Validation of Research Hypotheses

The present study has used a systematic approach to deriving conclusions regarding the research hypotheses set out in this report by examining components of brand awareness and factors affect the buying behaviour of individuals who are targeted in the branding strategies of companies related to motorsports. Brand awareness has been evaluated for its two components – brand recognition and brand recall whereas consumer buying behaviour is based on the consumers’ views regarding the product. After identifying four relationships between brand awareness, consumer perceptions and buying behaviour (dependent variables) and brand partnerships (independent variables) the following conclusions can be made regarding two research hypotheses set out for the study in light of the literature provided in this report.

H1: Partnership of brands and motorsports provide a way of advertising that contributes to brand awareness.

The findings from the primary research and their analysis clearly indicate that there is a positive relationship between brand partnerships with motorsports and brand awareness i.e. brand recognition and brand recall. The impact of brand partnerships is evaluated using responses collected for statements “You follow a particular motorsports team or player” and “You actively follow brand which promote your team or player”. From the linear regression, it could be suggested that for increased level of followership by individuals of a particular team or player and brand associated is likely to increase the brand awareness of respondents. This is consistent with the considerations regarding brand personality and its impact on the brand awareness as suggested by Aaker (1997).

H2: Brand association with motorsport increases positive evaluation and acceptance of the brand and increases consumption and customer base.

This research hypothesis is based on the findings of the primary research conducted in this study that analyses the impact of consumers’ followership of a particular brand that is associated with their favourite team or player in motorsports. Furthermore, the consolidated impact of consumer perception and brand awareness on buying behaviour of individuals. The outcome of the study indicates a positive relationship between all variables identified for studying these relationships. From this, it could be inferred that the brand associations with motorsports are likely to have positive implication on the perceived views of consumers and eventually on the buying behaviour of individuals. This supports the discussion provided in the literature review of this report which suggests that increased exposure of brands to individuals affects individuals’ view of the brand personality which in turn leads to establishment of long term affiliation with the product sold under the brand name and therefore, it leads to regular purchase of the product or brand.

Recommendations for Businesses

This section entails various recommendations that could be considered by companies and other participants of motorsports.

  • Brand partnerships with motorsports are generally viewed to be target at younger audiences. The findings of this study show that individuals view branding of addictive products such as alcoholic beverages and cigarettes to have negative impact on the behaviours of younger audiences. Increase in social pressures could affect the long term association of brands with motorsports. In order to respond to these social calls the companies having these products and authorities of motorsports must engage in activities that are targeted at educating audiences and highlight the controlled use of these products.
  • Brand partnerships are also viewed to be excessively done by companies having similar products. This is in line with the nature of sports where products of similar types are associated with motorsports. Therefore, it is important for companies to bring in differentiation in their approaches and other support activities that could help individuals distinguish between brands on the basis of characteristics of the products.

Scope of Study

The scope of study is limited to the responses collected through the primary research and the views of individuals who took part in the survey questionnaire. Furthermore, the scope of the study is limited to the research questions that have been laid down for this study however, it should be clearly understood that this list of questions is not exhaustive and the findings from the present study must not considered as exhaustive. There could be alternative conclusions to the same research based on a different set of sample population and different questions inquired from respondents. Therefore, the scope of the present study is limited to the understanding of the subject and ability of the researcher to collect data and perform statistical testing to achieve the desired objectives of the study.

Recommendation for Future Studies

The present study has focused on the brand associations with motorsports and their impact on brand awareness and consumer perceptions and buying trends. However, it seemed to have left out consumer perceptions deriving from the use of these products. Product quality and perceived characteristics tend to have profound on the consumers behaviour and affiliation with a brand. This has not been evaluated in this study and therefore, any future study that may be carried out may take this into account by addressing the issues related to the perceived quality and features of products that are promoted via brand associations with motorsports. Furthermore, the study could also be extended by comparing views of individuals from Oman which is a developing country to those residing in developed countries where branding practices are much more developed and mature.

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Appendix I: Survey Questionnaire

Survey Questionnaire

This survey is being undertaken as an essential part of the dissertation that I am currently required to be completed for my full time MBA at UNIVERSITY NAME.

The primary objective of my dissertation is to investigate motorsports partnerships to evaluate how such brand affiliations with motorsports can actually assist in increasing brand awareness that implies both recognition and recall of the brand by customers. This will be evaluated how customers’ buying decisions are affected by such brand partnerships with motorsports. The outcome of the study will highlight if there is a positive relationship between motorsports partnership and individuals buying particular product(s)/services(s).

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact the researcher on his given details below. Likert Scale Rating is provided below

Likert Scale Rating

Important Terms:

  • Brand partnership: Partnership between different companies and motorsports for display and promotion of their brands
  • Brand Recognition: Recognizing brand that an individual has seen somewhere.
  • Brand Recall: Recalling a brand that an individual has seen somewhere and has already purchased it in the past.
  • Furthermore, if you wish to withdraw your responses at any time from the survey then please inform the researcher.

STUDENT NAME____________________________

COURSE TITLE_____________________________

INSTITUTION NAME _________________________

EMAIL____________________________

TELEPHONE____________________________

Name: _______________________________________

Age:_______________________________________

Gender:

  • Male
  • Female

Income _______________________________________

Are you a regular follower of motorsports?

  •  Yes
  • No
  • Do you watch motorsports on TV or live on racing tracks?
    • TV
    • Racing Tacks
  • You see many brands on vehicles used in motorsports
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brand partnerships with motorsports are common
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Partnerships between brands and particular teams of motorsports are common
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brands of similar products are commonly seen on vehicles used in motorsports
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • You follow a particular motorsports team or player
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • You actively follow brand which promote your team or player
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brand partnerships make it easy to recognize brands when you go for shopping
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brands display affects your view on that particular product
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brand partnerships make it easy to recall brands when you go for shopping
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brands display positively affects your buying decision
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brands-motorsports partnerships are a way of raising funds for promoting sports. Do you think they display of brands on cars is excessively done? Please give your opinion._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Motorsports are followed by individuals of all age groups. Do you think that certain products and their brands such as cigarettes must not be allowed to be displayed?_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THANK YOU