Leah Kathleen Donlan at the University of Central Lancashire, School of Sport, Tourism, and The Outdoors wanted to determine if and how sponsorships of events are effective in building brands, both new and well-known.
Using self-administered questionnaires about brand equity, data was taken at two sporting events, one hosted by a new brand sponsor and the other by a well-known brand sponsor. The questionnaires were distributed before or during breaks of the sporting events. This way, the data offered a good representation of instances in which consumers were exposed to a brand while also being exposed to other activity.
The results of this study revealed a strong link between event and sponsor. The newer brand sponsor had higher brand awareness than the comparison, though a significant number of respondents could not recall the brand of either sponsor.
Overall, the results “suggest that sponsorship can be a driver of brand awareness for new brands.” Additionally, the study found that “there is evidence that sponsorship contributed to the development of product category associations for the new brand.”
To read the full text of the study: Donlan, L. K. (2013). The role of brand knowledge in determining sponsorship effectiveness. Journal of Promotion Management, 19(2), 241-264.