Sponsorships have become an integral component of organization’s marketing strategy.
This is because sponsorship creates the potential to reach beyond short-term sales to build a brand’s identity.
Research has shown that brand strength contributes 60 to 80 percent of overall sales, making this benefit critical for sustained, long-term sales growth. An analysis of various brand attributes that each sponsorship property supports will be able to make brand marketers determine which sponsorships are reinforcing a common brand theme.
Kenya prides itself in having produced some of the world beaters across the globe.
This has been as a result of joint efforts between various players that include government agencies and the corporate world. From football, basketball, volley ball, swimming, hockey, chess, rugby, boxing, athletics and taekwondo among others, we have seen increased interest in developing these disciplines across the country.
Currently, our sporting scene is enjoying unprecedented support from corporate companies, as corporates try to connect with sports fans at their points of passion.
As stakeholders in the sports industry, it has always been our desire to see more corporates come forward to support various sports across the country as we seek to nurture young talent as well as develop the sporting facilities situated in various parts of the country.
As a sports stakeholder, I feel delighted seeing such efforts being rewarded. In the recent past, we have seen brands like Equity Bank, KCB, SportPesa, Barclays Bank, Kenya Ports Authority, Co-operative Bank amongst others sponsoring teams in top flight leagues with the respective teams emerging as power houses in various league categories.
The teams have also been able to represent Kenya in regional tournaments which has in turn greatly contributed to raising the profiles of both the sponsors and the players simultaneously.
One team that deserves special mention is the Equity Basketball team, “Equity Hawks” who have proved that they are a true definition of what resilience is.
The ladies shocked pundits, when, during their maiden appearance in top flight league, they managed to emerge the winners of the 2016 Kenya Basketball Federation Women’s Premier League.
The team’s superb performance continues to replicate itself on the regional front when they qualified for the Fiba Africa Champions Cup that took place in Angola this month.
From experience, one common denominator that has replicated itself across the teams being sponsored is that they have been able to exhibit that universal appeal that sports possesses amongst its fans and sports enthusiasts at large.
One of the reasons why corporates have continued to sponsor these teams is the fact that sports sponsorship is represented by the most trusted and influential messengers in the world- sporting icons who have gone ahead and had a unique power to initiate social change through their endeavours.
We also need to be alive to the fact that there is need for corporates to get involved in how their teams are performing so as to get value for their investment.
As we all know, involvement in an investment leads to its success. One yardstick that needs to be adopted by a brand is that an organization needs to have focus, interest, involvement and investment to truly make a success of projects which fall into the social responsibility arena.
Kenyan corporates must also realize that when they invest in local sports, they do themselves a world of good.
Sponsoring domestic sports must be seen as a business imperative; a means of survival and not merely corporate social responsibility.
In the most progressive countries both the public and private sectors invest heavily in sports because of their unique power to engage populations: create jobs, inspire achievement, engender camaraderie and unity, ingrain a culture of healthy living, reduce crime and arouse national pride on the international stage.
The writer is the head coach of the Equity Bank women’s basketball team