Marketing Revolution: Product Branding For A Great Event

By D’Arcy Rahming

IrnBru by Barr is a type of soda that I had never heard of prior to coming to the Commonwealth Games Village. After a week of drinking their sugar-free orange, I have begun to wonder if this drink is a European thing, a Scottish thing, or something formulated especially for the Games Village. Fact is, I liked the taste from the start. And itis a good thing, too, because it is the only brand of soft drink available in a Village that feeds several thousand people daily from over 70 different territories and countries.

That is the power from introducing a brand to a group of captive consumers. I bet the makers of IrnBru had to pay a pretty hefty price to be involved with the Commonwealth Games. And all of these drinks have been free. At least free to the athletes who are consuming them. Because, as we all know, nothing in life is ever free. Exclusive consumption is a powerful way to move your brand forward.

One of my first jobs after leaving Northwestern University was to manage the computer laboratories in the business school. This involved getting the latest and greatest computers. I remember brands such as Zenith, Compaq and Unysis because the companies donated them to the university or provided them at a very low price. They knew that by having future managers work on these brands, when these managers finally graduated they would be in decision-making jobs. They were thus likely to recommend the products and services they were exposed to in business school.

This remains a clever strategy, and one businesses should think about when approached to sponsor an event. Rather than giving money, give services or products. For example, in sport you will be sure to attract certain crowds. Judo is a family sport, so at a judo competition the crowd will normally consist of people supporting their athletes. Whereas at a reggae concert, the crowd will probably be younger. For a sporting event, a product such as water or a service like ‘back to school’ health examinations would be ideal. Whereas at a concert an alcoholic beverage would be a more suitable sponsor.

Sponsors can win big if people associate their products positively with a good time. That is the idea. The more your product or service can have a direct tie in to the event, the better. But indirect also works if you plan it correctly. You may actually be amazed at how your generous sponsorship can reap huge benefits for your company.

• NB: D’Arcy Rahming holds an MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. A lecturer at the College of the Bahamas, Mr Rahming has clients in general insurance, retail, the health and medical fields, sports federations and financial services. He is also treasurer of the Bahamas Olympic Committee. To contact him he can be reached at DArcyRahmingsr@gmail.com


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