What brands should expect in partnerships

Wakefield Research Partners

With over 20 years of experience studying partnership effectiveness we can help brands understand what to expect as they execute and we measure performance reaching fans of the team. Working with dozens of major league teams and worldwide properties, we offer insight and comparative data (by league, competitors and brand category) for members of our research community.

What brand equity measures are tracked?

We measure brand asset values that predict and include brand usage by fans. Compared to two competitors in the same category, we report:

  • Brand regard: Do fans hold the brand in high esteem?
  • Brand relevance: Is the brand important/relevant to the lives of fans?
  • Brand differentiation: Do fans think the brand stands out from competitors? Is it unique, innovative, distinct and original?
  • Brand trust: Do fans believe the brand is reliable, honest and trustworthy?
  • Brand usage: Fans report if they (a) never use, (b) did use but not anymore, (c) use occasionally, or (d) use regularly or often.
  • Brand preference: Fans report their preference for using the brand in the future.

What partnership and asset recall measures are captured?

We display how the team’s partners communicate with fans using fixed signage, scoreboard & digital signage, promotions & events, TV & radio broadcasts, social media, websites, and use of marks & logo in campaigns. Fans are then asked:

  • Partner recall: Which of three (randomly displayed) brands uses these methods to reach the team’s fans? In addition to the partner’s brand, two head-to-head competitors from the same category are shown.
  • Asset recall: If the partner is correctly selected, fans check off those channels of communication they recognize in use by the brand.

The goal is to get more people to make the brand-team connection and recognize when the brand is communicating with them. Brand equity measures go up as fans recognize the channels the brand uses to communicate with them. The correlation (r) between partnership spend (rights fees) and asset recall is about .80, meaning we can predict about 64% of the change in asset recall by what the brand spends with the team. Exceptions exist when brands pay for but do not integrate the use of the assets in their overall marketing campaigns.

What recall rates should we expect?

Historically, across all categories, fans correctly identify the partner 40% of time. Good rules of thumb for performance are:

Recall Performance Analysis
60%+ Incredible Title sponsors of buildings may approach 80%. Gate and facility entitlements often obtain in the 70% range. Olympic Rings sponsors often hover around 50%. Reaching the majority of fans is rare.
40-59% Excellent Exclusive anchor partners with longer term deals and well-integrated activation strategies using marks typically achieve this level.
20-39% Good Typical of newer partners in highly competitive categories. Competitors are often partners of other properties aimed at fans.
<20% Concerning Typical when partner is new, is not exclusive, competitors are market leaders (league partners, local HQ, heavy ambushers), and the brand/category is infrequently considered by fans (insurance, banking, and health care services).

The data below represented aided recall rates (vs key competitors) across 8 NFL teams across 45 categories and 127 brands.

What brand actions should partners measure?

We measure four customized actions fans take on behalf of the brand. These should be things fans will do more if the partnership is effective.Typical examples are actions that lead to purchase (recall specific messages, follow on social media, visit website, visit store, consume/use in past six months) and may include loyalty. Knowing these lets the team and partner know if fans are taking the necessary steps to increase sales & revenue for the brand. Below is an example of what these look like on a survey.

To formulate these brand actions, the basic question is: What do brands want customers to think, feel or do as a result of the partnership? For measurement purposes, fans answer the question, “Does this apply to me?” and answers are yes or no. These must be comparable across competing brands. Ideally, these should not duplicate what we already measure: regard, relevance, differentiation, trust, partnership recall, frequent usage, or brand preference.

Summary

Brands should expect properties to help track progress toward achieving marketing goals. We track brand equity values using established, reliable, validated measures shown to predict profitability, market share and consumer choice. In turn we analyze the relative increase in brand equity among fans who recognize the partnership and the assets used to communicate the brand’s messages to them. We track specific behaviors important to the brand that show fans are making decisions in favor of their brand over competitors.

Below is a roadmap of the process from start to finish each season.

Still have questions? Email Kirk_Wakefield@baylor.edu.

 


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