CHICAGO: Aon, a company specialising in managing risk and talent, has developed its sponsorship tie-up with Manchester United Football Club from focusing on awareness to driving "understanding and preference".
The firm's logo has featured on Manchester United's famous red shirts since 2010, but will be replaced by that of Chevrolet later this year.
Patrick Pierce, Aon's director/global marketing and communications, told delegates at IEG's 2014 Sponsorship Conference that its website traffic jumped by 66% upon announcing its original tie-up with the football team.
"What we found, it was amazing … the performance of the club: it really drives traffic to our site," said Pierce. (For more, including how Aon is seeking to drive sales among other club sponsor, read Warc's exclusive report: Looking beyond the logo: Aon redefines its sponsorship of Manchester United
More importantly, awareness among business decision-makers – Aon's core target audience –also rose to over 50%.
However, Pierce suggested that this total was starting to reach a peak, meaning that a shift in emphasis promised to provide a stronger return on investment.
"We're not going to generate incremental awareness over the next seven years if they win a treble and all that stuff. We're probably going to still be in the mid-50s no matter what," said Pierce.
Drilling down into its data offered a guide as to how Aon's strategy could be evolved to beneficial effect, as the business leaders aware of its relationship with Manchester United tended to give it higher favourability scores.
"This is the halo effect," said Pierce. "This was kind of our big 'Aha' – awareness is great, but when they know about what we're doing, and they experience it, they become a lot more favourable."
As a result, Aon and Manchester United formulated "a solution, not just a sponsorship" as they revamped their affiliation.
While Aon's logo is no longer featured on Manchester United's kit, the firm's sponsorship of the club's training complex and other assets has been translated into opportunities to generate both content and revenue.
Data sourced from Warc