A Model of Image Creation and Image Transfer in Event Sponsorship

Powerful Essays
A model of image creation and image transfer in event sponsorship
Kevin Gwinner
School of Business, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, U S A
Introduction Due to the proliferation of leisure events in today’s society, the awareness and opportunity for corporate event sponsorship is at an all time high. Loosely defined, sponsorship “can be regarded as the provision of assistance either financial or in-kind to an activity [e.g., sport, musical event, festival, fair, or within the broad definition of the Arts] by a commercial organization for the purpose of achieving commercial objectives (Meenaghan, 1983, p. 9)”. Until the past decade the majority of firms have viewed event sponsorship as an obligation to the community (Catherwood and Van Kirk, 1992). Sponsorships had been placed on a level somewhere between charitable donations and public relation opportunities. Furthermore, the selection of which events to sponsor was often determined by the current pet project of the firm’s CEO (Meenaghan, 1991). Today, although still representing a small percentage of the overall promotional budget, the outlay of promotional dollars for sponsorship activities is growing rapidly (Parker, 1991; Sandler and Shani, 1989; Scott and Suchard, 1992). Not only are today’s sponsorships more sophisticated (i.e., more than simply the donation of cash for event production), but most firms are expecting a reasonable return on their sponsorship dollar in the form of increased sales (Catherwood and Van Kirk, 1992). While firms enter into sponsorship arrangements with a variety of goals, two of the most important are: to increase brand awareness; and to establish, strengthen, or change brand image (Crowley, 1991; Marshall and Cook, 1992; Meenaghan, 1991; Meerabeau et al ., 1991). Recently, these goals have been theorized to be important in the development of customer-based brand equity, defined as the differential effect of brand knowledge on the consumer’s purchase decision



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