Latin America & Caribbean (English)

Why Sports? FedEx on Brand Values and the Win-Win in Sports Marketing

Leinster v Munster - Heineken Cup Semi-Final

MIAMI, DECEMBER 2007 - Large corporations spend tens of millions of dollars of their marketing budget on sports sponsorships, and there is no slow-down in that kind of spending anywhere in sight.
Why? Clearly, visual association with international sports events brings a sponsoring company high visibility and brand exposure. When done right, these initiatives create a win-win scenario for the company, the sport itself and the communities of fans, and therein lies the recipe for successful sports marketing.

For corporations, the decision to sponsor a sports event should arise from the identification of shared brand values with the sport, an attempt to pinpoint a mainstream or specific market segment, or a desire to more deeply immerse the company into the cultural nuance of the communities where the sport is practiced. Ideally, it will be based on all three.

The best sponsorships also add value to the sport itself, help it grow and mature in front of audiences captivated by these encounters. Whether by driving awareness to rising stars or by actively supporting the complex operations which make sports events a reality, growing the sport itself is a surefire way to engage fans and identify with them on an emotional level.

Last but not least, sports drive and incite passions in their audiences. They are often deeply ingrained into the psyches and social habits of entire societies. Cultural, regional and even national identities and values are often wrapped up and expressed in a team’s particular style of play, and audiences respond to this type of identification. Sponsoring a specific team, for example, can be a geographically smart, targeted tactical move.

Like many multinational corporations, FedEx sponsors and associates with several sports that share its attributes of speed, reliability, precision, teamwork and flawless execution. For FedEx, working together with global sports stars is a natural extension of its drive to bridge borders and connect people all over the world.

There are many good examples of how a company can help develop a sport, reach out to a community and meet its business goals all at the same time. Smart sports marketing can only be met favorably by its multitudes of fans, driving brand awareness and increasing effective exposure before an audience that is almost certain to already be captivated and engaged.

About the Author

Rajesh Subramaniam, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications, FedEx Services

Rajesh Subramaniam is the Senior Vice President of International Marketing of FedEx Services. His leadership has been key to developing and executing successful strategies for revenue growth, profitability, brand awareness and corporate reputation building in the United States, Asia and Canada. He serves on the Conference Board of Canada, the Board of the Toronto Film Festival and the Advisory Board for the American Chamber of Commerce.