May 10, 2011 at 01:44 PM
written by Michael Munson

Questioning the Importance of Brand “Fit”

When I first began to review the academic research done on sponsorship marketing, one of the accepted norms was to make sure the theme of the property matched the brand. If the brand was about endurance, sponsoring a triathalon might make sense. If it were about providing financial security, an air show sponsorship would be passed over. As someone new to the field, it made sense and I didn’t question it. Now, it’s been over a dozen years, and this idea of brand fit in sponsorships needs to be challenged a bit.

If Massengil could sponsor UFC and increase its sales as a result, who is going to argue the “fit” of the sponsorship? No, it doesn’t seem appropriate for a feminine hygiene product to be associated with people beating the crap out of each other. But what if it produced results? Would there be a hue and cry about it? How about if Mattel sponsored a PGA tour event and put together an activation that increased its sales as a result? No, children’s toys and professional golf don’t seem like they go together, but what if they do?

This of course begs the question: What is “fit” anyway? Is it when a property and a brand share a certain theme? Is it realized when a brand and property support the same objectives or share similar values? Is it when the characteristics of the brand seem to be shared by the property in some way? Is it when a property reaches the audience a brand serves? Could a good fit be defined by whatever property can drive sales for a sponsoring brand or company, or must there be some kind of “just because we can make money with this relationship, it doesn’t mean we should because it doesn’t fit our brand” mentality?

What do you think?

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