ISMF 2009: Keeping sponsorship at the top of the tree – TNS’ Richard Brinkman

Speaking at the second edition of the Indian Sports Marketing Forum (ISMF) in Delhi on October 30, 2009, Richard Brinkman, who heads TNS Sports, made a strong case for measuring ROI in sports sponsorship and how sponsorship was a fantastic way to make products.

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: Nov 2, 2009 7:25 AM
ISMF 2009: Keeping sponsorship at the top of the tree – TNS’ Richard Brinkman

The Indian Sports Marketing Forum (ISMF) 2009 got underway in Delhi on October 30 with a presentation by UK-based Richard Brinkman, who heads TNS Sports, a part of TNS Media. ISMF is being organised by the exchange4media Group in association with T10 Gully Cricket and Powered by TAM Sports.

Having worked with various international sports federations and sports organisations, including Manchester United, and clients such as Barclays and Coca-Cola, Brinkman provided what he said he would – food for thought for the audience that comprised various stakeholders from the sports domain – marketers, federations and sports enthusiasts.

Brinkman started off by saying that 64 per cent of industry business professionals expected sponsorship activities to increase by the year end, however, sponsorship revenues for 2009 were down 8 per cent, as compared to last year.

He observed, “With the Commonwealth Games coming up, the Asian Games and various other properties across the world, wherever you go, there is a sentiment of sports, but the bad news is that the value of the deals and the volume of deals are down. Marketers are either cutting back on sponsorship events or sponsorships all together. However, brand owners and federations are saying to us that there is a difference in the way we are building brands and selling products, and that is the opportunity of sponsorship. Sponsorship is a fantastic way to make products.”

Citing the example of Tata Nano and the difference that an idea like that made to the automobile sector, Brinkman spoke on how every sector would see repositioning of brands, and similarly, sports would have its own lessons to offer to entertainment and lifestyle properties.

He took the audience through the reasons to sponsor and stated that the perennial issue with sponsorships was that the massive strength of the medium made it difficult to measure. “Measuring the return on investments can be very daunting as there are so many different areas of investigation. What tends to happen is that many get to the first stage, which is the very foundation of ROI. So, you see how many viewed the sport and hence, the brand, what was that worth and so on, but that is only the beginning of the story, not the story itself. But people often get there and stop. There is much further that one needs to go to keep sponsorship at the top of the tree,” Brinkman stressed.

While comprehensive measurement of the medium is a must, Brinkman also outlined the immediate challenge in ROI in sponsorship and the need to be able to measure value and impact. He spoke on the sponsorship research framework that TNS has, which includes points like sponsorship fit, value, recall and effect that directly correlated to interest, participation audience and purchase at the end, leading to a multi-faceted research programme.

Brinkman concluded his presentation by saying, “The real key is asking the right questions and getting the right framework around it.” Following this, exchange4media Group’s Chief Editor, Pradyuman Maheshwari, engaged Brinkman in a brief conversation, where the duo discussed the importance of India’s performance from the advertiser point of view on high-end properties like cricket and the impact that a regulatory code could have on sports as a genre.

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