By Lukmon Oloyede and Nathaniel Udoh.
That Nigerians love football is no news. It is one sport that has become a religion. It unites our souls despite our differences in culture, norms and values. This is why most brand-owners often make different strategic attempts to emotionally trigger our interest towards their brands through the round leather game.
For many years, brands partnership and sponsorship has made the game bigger, better and more popular across the world.
[ad id=”187″]In Nigeria, there are many brands that have embarked on a strategic partnership with foreign football clubs with massive fans. Joining the long list of brands in such partnership, Manchester City last month entered into a three-year partnership with PZ Cussons Plc. The deal will see the PZ Cussons become the Club’s Official Partner in Nigeria while PZ Cussons will drive the partnership through some of its local homecare brands: Premier, Olympic and Robb.
Chi Limited last year signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Manchester United. Telecom giant, Etisalat Group few years ago renewed its partnership with FC Barcelona for another four years while Sterling Bank has a deal with Arsenal FC. Hitherto, GLO had a partnership deal with Manchester United while UBA, Malta Guinness and Airtel few years ago struck different deals with Arsenal FC.
READ ALSO 3 strategies for dealing with difficult clients
To some of these brands, their goal is to further deepen their affinity among their customers while another objective is to promote their goodwill or utilize the deal as a tool to remain more competitive in today’s constantly-changing marketplace.
The Head of Marketing, Chi Limited, Probal Bhattacharya, recently revealed that the huge customer loyalty derived from Chivita 100 per cent and Manchester United Football Club partnership was based on effective communication strategy deployed to publicise the partnership. According to him, “the publicity and goodwill generated around the recent partnership between the brand and Manchester United Football Club is a testament to how effective communication strategies have not only endeared consumers to the fruit juice, but also helped to increase sales. The partnership has created massive exposure and visibility for the Chivita 100 per cent brand through an effective online, television, print and out-doors campaign in recent times”.
For Sterling Bank Plc, the partnership with Arsenal underscores its positioning as the one-customer Bank. Abubakar Suleiman, chief financial officer of Sterling Bank Plc, while commenting on the deal said “We recognise our customer’s uniqueness and we develop tailor-made solutions that connect with their deepest passion and drive.”
But are those partnership/sponsorship deals really robbing off on mostof the Nigerian brands? Are the consumers really aware about these partnerships and the essence of it? Are brands efficiently harnessing the opportunities in the partnership?
Brand Intelligence embarked a quantitative method of research with one-on-one football lovers in Lagos State. Structured questionnaire was used as instrument of data collection with a sample size of 150 respondents who were randomly sampled in the A, B C D and E socio economic classes – male and female aged 15-45 and above. At the end of the exercise, the study came up with the following findings: On whether respondents have any knowledge of Nigerian brands in partnership with any foreign football club, 119 representing 79.33% said noas against 30 of them representing 20% said yes.
[ad id=”147″]On Nigerian brands and football club partnership respondents were most conversant with, Malta Guinness with Arsenal Football Club came top with 67 points representing 47%, followed by GLO with Manchester United Football Club with 25 points representing 16.67% other such partnerships had 13 point accounting for 8.67%.
Responding on communication channels respondents got to know about such partnerships, radio was the most mentioned with 55 points representing 33.67% followed by newspapers with 31 representing 20.65%. Television came third with 25 points representing 16.67%. On the fourth position was billboard with 21 points representing 14%. Other channels of communication accounted for 18 points representing 12%.
On the likes of a Nigerian brand with a foreign football club partnership, 85 of the respondents accounting for 56.65% said that such partnership encourages closer relationship between brand consumers and the club However, 35 of the respondents representing 23.33% said such helps to draw more fans to the club while 30 0f them representing 20% said it helps to draw the club closer to the brand.
READ ALSO Ecobank to roll out MasterCard payment solutions
On what respondents feel about foreign clubs in partnership with a Nigerian brands, 87 of the respondents representing 58% said such helps to increase the club value in Nigeria. 40 of the respondents representing 26.67% said such helps to create more awareness for the club while 23 of the respondents’ representing15.33% said such would help to strengthen their support for the club in Nigeria.
Responding to what they feel about a Nigerian brand in partnership with a foreign football club, 88 of the respondents representing 58.67% said such helps to create more awareness/visibility for the brand. 50 of them representing 33.33% said it would help to increase their loyalty to the brand while 30 of them representing 13.33% said it would make them to begin to show patronage to such brand.
Recently, eight lucky Etisalat GEM customers that were recently rewarded with an all-expense-paid trip to Barcelona to watch this year’s La-Liga final matches, between FC Barcelona and Deportivo De La Coruna on Sunday, May 24, 2015 at the Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain were not known.
[ad id=”169″]Chivita support of Principal Cup was not known either (GTBank support was their top of the mind recall). Airtel/Arsenal International Soccer Clinic which offered selected youngsters fromfive African countries namely: Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda with a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the ‘Arsenal Way of playing’ last year still remain fresh in the minds of many. Very little number of the respondents are also aware about the Sterling Arsenal Debit Card.
One of the consumers, Babatunde Alimi said what the partnership does not really determine is purchasing decision even though his favourite football club has a partnership with a brand. “I buy a product base on its ability to meet my needs even though I’m a diehard Manchester United fan. Though it somehow builds good reputation of the brands but I stick to my personal needs.”
Another respondent, Oluwasegun Ayinde stated that “beyond adverts, I don’t think I know of any activity of partnership with the foreign clubs. Maybe, the brands should help look into the development of our local league to redefine the game which currently has low followership”.