Whether they’re watching on TV or coming to Doha to cheer in person, football fans from around the world are leaving for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM with a lasting impression on the brands Official Sponsors whose names regularly appear on the electronic boards surrounding each pitch.
Sports have become the preferred way for brands to connect with their audience: it is the global language of the world. And for brands looking to raise awareness and sales with a wide reach, sponsorships can be a surprisingly effective translator.
International events efficiently connect brands with new consumers in new markets. Even before Hisense became the Official Sponsor of the FIFA World CupTM, millions of fans know the brand, especially those who own its TVs, refrigerators, dishwashers, or air conditioners. And for millions more consumers in new markets, the brand is now familiar, and even top-of-mind, carrying positive associations with the sport they love.
And the data shows that sponsoring the top tournaments is working for Hisense. Major appliance brand awareness grew 6 percentage points around Hisense’s first FIFA World CupTM tour in 2018 and 4 points around UEFA EURO 2020. Between 2016 and 2021, Hisense almost doubled its brand awareness to 50%.
But sponsorship is not as easy as associating a brand with the most popular sport in the world. Creating strong and authentic connections with consumers doesn’t happen by accident. Like any team or athlete, the success of a sports marketing brand requires both careful strategy and extensive training periods. Through decades of exploration, Hisense has developed a unique path in sports marketing.
Game, Set, Match
A brand must first determine which sports, leagues, players, teams, arenas, and events will connect with the consumers they want to reach. That means making the right decisions about geographic and demographic targets, staying ahead of trends, and even deciding which opportunities to avoid—because the wrong partnership can damage a brand through to send the audience the wrong message.
Hisense has been playing in the field of sports marketing for 15 years. In 2008, when Hisense Australia saw an opportunity to secure the naming rights for the Australian Open tennis stadium in Melbourne, the brand considered the matter with caution.
All of Hisense’s analysis shows that sponsorship is the right move at the right time—and it is. In 2013, Hisense became the only Chinese brand to sponsor the Australian Open. With Hisense known to Australian tennis fans, the brand is now reaching more consumers in the region through other sports. In 2020, Hisense began a three-year sponsorship of Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL), the most popular sport in Australia and New Zealand.
Start Your Engines
Different markets bring different opportunities. In the world of motor racing, Formula 1 makes the most sense to reach European markets. But NASCAR is the right sport in the US
After sparking discussion as a sponsor of the Lotus F1 Team, Hisense jumped at an opportunity in 2015 to become a sponsor of the Red Bull Racing F1 Team, enhancing its brand image with technology and knowledge of high- end consumers.
In the same year, Hisense became the Official Partner of the Joe Gibbs Racing team in the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series. Sponsoring one of the most popular teams in the country’s second largest sports event has rapidly raised Hisense’s profile among potential US consumers. The NASCAR sponsorship helped Hisense quickly build broad name recognition, reflecting its localization strategy and belief in its tracks.
Reaching Young Fans
The results of Hisense’s strong bond with football are clear. After sponsoring Hisense in the first FIFA World CupTM tour, consumer purchase intent increased 33% for TVs over pre-tournament levels.
And the strategy works at the local level. Supporting football clubs Leeds United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Internazionale Milano helps increase consumer awareness and engagement with the clubs’ communities in the UK, France, and Italy.
Today, new audience goals are emerging, and a new sponsorship strategy is emerging with it. Hisense noted that consumers between 26 and 35 care more about price and more about value, and that they are rational and pragmatic consumers who seek advanced technology not for innovation. it but for the benefits it offers them. Given the characteristics and attributes of this demographic, e-sports represents a golden opportunity for Hisense to nurture its next generation of consumers.
While firmly established in China and South Korea, e-sports is making greater inroads into audiences in Europe and the US. To cater to this trend, Hisense chose Fnatic, an e-sports club based in the UK, as the best e-sports platform to relate forward-thinking innovation to aspiring consumers. of Fnatic product reviews, video collaborations, and game content such as the “BFF Challenge” video series.
Along with traditional sports and e-sports, the sponsorships help the Hisense brand learn about consumer demands that drive its heavy investment in research and development to improve TV technology. , such as enabling real-time frame filling, motion enhancement, and noise reduction, and stabilization and smoothing of high-speed screen action.
For Hisense, it is clear that a sports marketing strategy can be an effective help in building the brand. Fifteen years into Hisense’s sports-marketing strategy, the games, teams, players, and fans continue to grow, and its commitment to supporting them grows with it. The sports sponsorship strategy helps its brand keep pace with changing technology, continue to connect with new and established communities—and continue to win new fans every year.