The image management function of sponsorship: a general theoretical framework

Kihan Kim

Seoul National University

Patricia A. Stout

University of Texas at Austin

Yunjae Cheong

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Sponsorship is understood as ‘an investment, in cash or in kind, in an activity, in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential associated with that activity’ (Meenaghan 1991, p. 36). Originating from a true philanthropic activity, corporate sponsorship has evolved into an objective-driven marketing communications strategy of many firms (Cornwell 1995; Meenaghan 1998; Herrmann et al. 2011). Of various objectives, both scholars and practitioners have recognised the importance of sponsorship as a means to manage the image of the sponsors (Cornwell & Maignan 1998; Walliser 2003; Copeland et al. 1996). Accordingly, the popularity of academic research on the image management function of sponsorship has been especially impressive, accounting for the majority of the academic research examining sponsorship effectiveness (Cornwell & Maignan 1998; Walliser 2003).