Author: James Parrish,


Much of the talk as the 2013 F1 challengers are launched is about which car can compete with ‘genius’ designer Adrian Newey’s latest masterpiece, but for everyone at Rush this week is all about the car launches and sponsorship announcements.

In the next week or so we will start to find out which businesses see Formula 1 as the platform to develop their business. While new sponsors such as Burn and [potentially] Honeywell gain much of the wider media attention there will always be a vast number of sponsorship renewal announcements. The number of renewals, often multi-year deals, is a testament to the success of Formula 1 in building global brands and developing new business opportunities.

This week we have already seen a number of renewals including Nova Chemicals, Hublot, Kaspersky Lab, and TNT to add to Oerlikon and Infiniti that made announcements just before the New Year. So how do these brands know the sponsorship is worth renewing or upgrading?

The wrong way.

Very recently I was informed that one Formula 1 sponsor, a brand many of you will have heard of, was evaluating their sponsorship solely on the basis of measured seconds of brand exposure – The most basic form of sponsorship measurement. I sincerely hope you never see any businesses renewing sponsorship on this basis. This is because brand exposure alone it is far from being a valid reason to renew sponsorship activity.

Why seconds of brand exposure alone means very little

What we can’t establish from the data gathered is its wider context: Whether the brand was even noticed by the viewer. Whether the viewer has brand recall. Whether it is seen positively or negatively and whether the viewer is more likely to purchase the brands products. Measuring seconds of brand exposure gives no insight into the impact the sponsorship has on consumers.

What makes this model of measurement even worse is that it creates a mindset fixated on developing a greater total number of seconds, and not on rights that can drive real business value and effect bottom line results.

Beginning to justify renewal

There are a number of methods providing reliable data to highlight the impact the sponsorship and surrounding marketing activity (Activation) has on the business.

Surveys and Audits

  • Fan Survey – highlights the improved perception of the brand, call-out of key brand attributes, the likelihood of product purchase and actual product purchase among that sports fans
  • Brand Audit – tracking a brands health pre and post sponsorship term provides a barometer as to how the sponsorship has effected the brands market position
  • Customer surveys – tailored questions that relate to the sponsorship provides a more cost-effective insight into customer awareness, perception and propensity to act

Sales Tracking

  • Consumer sales tracking – comparing sales during a sponsorship promotion vs. a standard promotion
  • Business-to-Business sales tracking – measuring sales won due to relationships built in or around the sponsorship e.g. developing a client relationship at a Grand Prix

The ROO Model

I am very much a fan of the ROO (Return On Objectives) model of sponsorship measurement. This allows a business to have a clear strategy for sponsorship success. KPIs based on key business value drivers will help the brand achieve larger business objectives such as to attain the #1 position in the market or reach an annual sales target.

The ROO model of sponsorship measurement will inevitably require more investment than measuring seconds of brand exposure. But to be able to turn round to the CEO or shareholders and say… “we reached our sales objective because the targeted introductions we made within the Formula 1 paddock contributed $XYZm.”

This – as far as I’m concerned – is the way to justify a sponsorship renewal in 2013. I know some sponsors are doing this, and I hope more do in the coming year!