Page 5: Driving brand awareness
Consumers often select brands because they are familiar. As a key element in the promotional mix, sponsorship is particularly effective in developing brand awareness and familiarity. Nationwide’s sponsorship of The Football League is a particularly effective way of increasing awareness by branding Nationwide to many more groups of targeted customer groupings. One method of assessing the success of a sponsorship strategy is to use a range of spontaneous interview techniques - finding out if individuals are becoming increasingly aware of a brand. Nationwide has built a three year strategy for its sponsorship:
Initially the plan was simply to make consumers aware that Nationwide was sponsoring The Football League.
The current strategy is to:
- continue to develop awareness of Nationwide
- begin to actively sell products through the same medium.
To continue as in Year Two, but less product activity will take place as ‘awareness’ needs to be embedded, and to have a more active participation with co-sponsors and the League.
The sponsorship of The Football League was launched under the banner “Wherever you find a Football League team, you’ll find a Nationwide Team”, reflecting the fact that where there is a League club, there is also a Nationwide branch. In fact, there are 630 branches within the catchment area of The League.
Initially, in May 1996, consumers were confused as to who the sponsors were. Many people believed that Carling, sponsor of the Premiership, also sponsored The Football League. In August 1996, 32% of consumers believed that Carling sponsored The Football League and only 5% had identified the role of Nationwide. By March 1997, however, the strategy had fundamentally changed consumer perceptions. Only 9% thought that Carling sponsored The Football League whereas 13% now identified Nationwide. In less than a year, the sponsorship strategy had drastically helped to improve Nationwide’s brand familiarity - i.e. the strategy had played an important part in promoting Nationwide as a Building Society and not just Nationwide as sponsor of The Football League. The combination of sponsorship, television, press and radio activity has led to spontaneous awareness levels of Nationwide increasing from 27% to 38% in one year.