Will music and movies muscle in on an overcrowded sporting world?

Marketers looking to build a brand are steering clear of the over-developed sporting world and concentrating on other lifestyle areas, says Ben Pincus

Building credible brand association with sports, music and film has proved to be one of the most powerful ways to build a direct link with consumers and influence their buying patterns.

But the world of sports sponsorship is becoming an increasingly challenging environment in which to make any real impact because of its cluttered nature and commercial over-development. So there can be little surprise that a growing number of brands are taking the route of lifestyle media such as music and film.

Brands are also trying harder than ever to make their marketing stand out. They bombard consumers through waves of advertising, sales promotions, direct mailings and numerous other marketing initiatives as they struggle to find any channel that makes a positive impact with their target market.

While no one disputes the value of these tried-and-tested marketing methods, they struggle to deliver beyond the short term. Brands need to focus further on what directly influences consumers’ lifestyles as they grow and mature, then how, within that framework, they can position their brand credibly to add value and enhance the consumer experience.

A recent study carried out by Research Now for The Works London demonstrates the effective association of a brand with a consumer’s lifestyle choices and passions leading directly to its adoption.

Through this research, we are charting the growth and lifestyle choices of different age groups within our society. The results show that the main influences can be broken down into four categories: where you are from in the country; the sports you play and watch; the music you listen to and the films that you watch.

But why should brands spend time, resources and a sizeable chunk of their budget integrating their identity into these areas of consumer behaviour? Using the example of music, the study shows that 64 per cent of a cross section of 14- to 25-year-olds claim that music is the biggest influence for purchasing non-music brands. The research shows that brands associating themselves credibly with one of these four main influences will be adopted by early trendsetters and purchased by its followers.

Despite the fragmentation of modern media, these core influences are highly visible within society. From the music influence of today’s youth – with the most visible examples being fans of 50 Cent and Jay-Z wearing replica clothing of their favourite stars – through to the country coming to a standstill when the England football team plays an important game.

The real opportunity in sponsorship and association for many brands is through music and film, while building links with target consumers in a way that is non-intrusive adds value and leads to brands being adopted by consumers in the long term.

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