Page 2: Why sponsorship?
Most large companies advertise their range of products and services using a variety of media e.g. radio, television, press and direct mail. These are all part of a promotional mix designed to convey particular messages to particular audiences. However, in an increasingly competitive market it is also important to project a specific image of the company which differentiates it from all the others operating in the same field. This image is usually built upon a commitment to professionalism, integrity and ethical business practices - often called ‘brand values’ - and can be demonstrated by a company’s attitude to:
- customer service
- investment strategy
- the environment
- the local community
- staff, customers and shareholders, the so called ‘stakeholders’.
Sponsorship of particular events or causes can be used as a concrete way of showing a company’s commitment to any or all of these, building both brand recognition and reputation. Unfortunately, of all the forms of marketing, sponsorship has the greatest potential to send the wrong message to stakeholders. For example, a policyholder might be tempted to say that, were it not for a sponsorship, the premium for an insurance policy might be lower, or a member of staff might say that their salary could be higher were it not for the expenditure on a particular sponsorship.
Why embark on a sponsorship now?
Royal Insurance and Sun Alliance merged in July of 1996. Both companies were household names prior to the merger, but it was vital that the message that the companies had merged and that they were now operating as Royal & SunAlliance was communicated to existing and potential customers as soon as possible. It was also important that people understood the size, financial strength and truly international nature of the new Group.
Part of the strategy to achieve this involved an advertising campaign which ran on television and billboards across the United Kingdom. This campaign introduced the new strapline ‘Together We Serve You Better’, which was designed to convey the message that the merger would enable the Group to provide better products and services because of its increased size. However, it was also necessary to find a way of introducing the new company to a more international audience and of doing this in a way which gave them an understanding of Royal & SunAlliance’s aims and objectives.