General Electric and the Beijing Olympics: Using a consumer sponsorship to build business-to-business benefits

Geoffrey Precourt

In 2004, the General Electric (GE) had 9% unaided brand awareness in China. "We were virtually unknown," Peter Foss, GE president/Olympic sponsorship and corporate sales, told the 2011 IEG 'Return on Engagement' sponsorship conference in Chicago.

What recognition the company had related to lightbulbs, appliances, and snippets of Thomas Edison's history. There was a story GE wanted-and needed-to tell to this key global market. It wanted the Chinese people-and their business leaders-to know of GE's capabilities in building infrastructure for cities, its expertise in the technology and manufacturing of jet engines, and its consuming passion for the health-care industry.