Sports and celebrity marketing in Asia
Why are Asian sporting events and Asian stars popular? Why should sponsors pay attention to regional events or stars? What has changed?
Sport stars and athletes world over are bankable endorsers as sports as an event gains immense following and popularity amongst people around the world. With globalization, Asian sports and sporting events have gained immense momentum. The rise in sporting events has coincided with a population that has more disposable income and is willing to indulge in products and services beyond basic necessities. The combination of these two factors has resulted in increased sport sponsorships.
More over with developing economies, booming employment, a population of over 3 billion and an increased awareness to events across the world, Asian consumers have become more discerning and have developed their own sense of identity. Asian consumers can relate more closely to Asian sport celebrities such as Yao Ming, Sachin Tendulkar and others.
As outlined in Asian Brand Strategy, for brands to leverage celebrity endorsements to the hilt, there are ten basic guidelines. They are:
1. Consistency and long term commitment
2. Three prerequisites to selecting celebrities
3. Celebrity-brand match
4. Constant monitoring
5. Selecting unique endorsers
7. Brand over endorser
8. Celebrity endorsement is just a channel
9. Celebrity ROI
10. Trademark and legal contracts
Most of these are self-explanatory, but three issues are important:
Brand celebrity match: If a brand wants to extract the maximum out of its association with a celebrity, it has to match the celebrity to the brand's identity and personality and the association has to compliment the brand. If the brand is in one category and the celebrity in a sport/profession that has no connection to the said industry, then the match may not be hugely successful.
Three prerequisites to selecting celebrities: Brands that sign in celebrities must ensure that the celebrity has these three qualities - the celebrity is an expert in his field, the celebrity is attractive and the celebrity must have a positive image in the society to recommend something to the public.
Celebrity endorsement is just a channel: Brands must realize that a mere association with a celebrity cannot build the brand. But rather it merely supports the brand in its quest to build strong personality in the market. Therefore brands must practice branding in its totality and use endorsements to support the basic activities.
A brand's association with any sport will have to match the brand's identity and personality. An association with any sport or celebrity will only reiterate the already existing personality of the brand.
When Nike wanted to venture into the premium golf segment, it was only natural for a brand built on sports to enter another sports segment. Nike teamed up with the ultimate golfer Tiger Woods and the association has proved to be highly successful to Nike. Michelle Wie is another example of a sports celebrity whom is determined to change the game. Therefore, the basic premise is the match between the brand and the association.