Racheal Lee
Sep 19, 2013

It is a partnership, not (merely) a sponsorship: Sports Matters panel

SINGAPORE - Brands have to be cautious when managing sponsorship initiatives, and like agency-client relationships, sponsorships should be treated as valuable partnerships, according to speakers on a panel discussion this morning at Sports Matters.

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“The Sports Matters brand panel” moderated by Campaign Asia-Pacific editorial director Atifa Silk, highlighted the view of brands engaged in sports, particularly sports marketing as a vehicle for greater consumer engagement and brand exposure, covering challenges and opportunities through examples.

According to Vipul Chawla, VP and CMO for Asia at Yum! Brands, the whole conversation on sponsorships will be affected by a brand’s concern about return on investment if they are not cautious. Yum! Brands manages sponsorships with an in-house team as well as through agencies.

Agencies still have an edge over in-house teams in term of experience and skills, according to Andres Gonzalez, VP of sponsorship, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, at MasterCard. “In-house teams are not able to generate deep engagement between brands and consumers, and there is opportunity for agencies,” he said.

Earlier, Gonzalez noted that different industries have different needs when it comes to sponsorship, and it is important to understand those needs to deliver value.

However, adidas sees sponsorships as partnerships rather than as sponsorships. “It is a partnership––for long term––and we are looking at mid- to long-term partnerships,” said Amit Dasgupta, director, brand at adidas Southeast Asia. “You will work with the people for long term and you need to activate and work with them. That is an opportunity to build advocacy and property.”

No matter whether it's sponsorship or partnership, brands have to plan advertising carefully when it comes to sponsorships, said Mike Rich, CEO at GroupM ESP.

The agency group, he said, will inform brands about the emotional connections sponsorship brings and it will be of long-term strategy. “The challenge is on how to make sponsorship relevant,” he added.

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