Olympic sponsors see benefits in China

25 July 2012

BEIJING: Companies based in China that are sponsoring the Olympic Games have seen consumer perceptions improve on a number of different metrics in their home market, a study has found.

Ipsos, the research firm, discovered in a survey that the brand reputation scores of Chinese corporations boasting an official affiliation with the Olympics had increased by at least 10% as a result.

More specifically, Yili, the dairy group, posted a 22% lift on this metric, ahead of Anta, the sportswear manufacturer, on 21%, and Heng Yuan Xiang, the wool producer, on 18%.

"Event marketing has proven to be a very effective marketing method for many Chinese enterprises, particularly that of the world's most famous sports event," Wang Qiang, manager of Ipsos Digital Research in Greater China, told the China Daily.

"The Olympic Games has proved delivery of significant value for the promotion and sales of brands, which has attracted more Chinese enterprises wishing to promote themselves by becoming Olympic sponsors," Wang said.

In an attendant trend, 91% of those polled agreed they would be willing to purchase goods or services from Sina, the web portal, upon learning of its tie-up with the Olympics.

This total was 16% higher than that registered by consumers not made aware of this fact, the study showed.

"Most people are more willing to buy things from sponsors than non-sponsors because they believe [the] product quality of the Olympic sponsors is guaranteed," said Wang.

Alongside trustworthiness, the firms formally involved with the Games also saw ratings strengthen in terms of brand awareness, being socially responsible and having an international appeal.

"Chinese products were often associated with poor quality in the world market in the past, but as more Chinese companies appeared as sponsors in the international sports events, the situation has gradually improved," said Wang.

When assessing awareness levels of all the Olympic sponsors, however, Coca-Cola logged the best returns on 70%, compared with Yili, the strongest Chinese operator in this area, on 33%.

"Brand marketing is a long-term thing. Chinese companies cannot expect to rely solely on the sponsorship of several sports events to enhance their reputation at home or abroad," said Chen Yongjun, a business professor at Renmin University.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff