Why I Will Not Use You for My Campaign: The Relationship Between Brand Managers and Sportswomen: An Abstract
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Brands choose to sponsor a sportsperson as a way to reach out to their consumers. Sports personalities are considered as vehicles for advertisements or product endorsements, and athletes who carry symbolic messages can attract companies seeking effective endorsers. Athletes carry powerful images, have a mass international audience, and appeal to all classes. For the first time, Forbes’ list of the 100 top-earning athletes of 2018 contains no women. This list is an annual rich list of athletes around the world and consists of their earnings from endorsements, prize money, salaries and bonuses, and appearance fees.
This study acknowledges the role of brand managers and qualitatively explores their business decision with regard to selecting sportswomen as their brand ambassadors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted across the United Kingdom with 15 brand managers. Results indicated that brand managers are considering sportswomen for their media campaigns, they acknowledge that the demand for women sports is increasing; however, and there are still some challenges that need to be addressed. Brand managers acknowledge that there are prospects for sportswomen, but they are making a business decision based on the limited coverage and their appeal to their targeted audience.
Theoretically, this provides additional insight, albeit from the brand managers point to view to understand the challenges of sportswomen as brand ambassadors, it further adds to the discussion around the financial prospects of sportswomen and their ability to align with a brand’s value and cocreate a sense of meaning and attachment. Likewise, this study offers practical implications for brand managers and sportswomen managers. The awareness about women sports is rising, and it is vital for brands to join the movement and be a part of it. Brand managers are expected to take more creative risks as Nike was able to support Serena Williams after the French Opens raise concerns about her cloth; brands can do more by breaking the mold and engage with something unique and different, which sportswomen can offer.
Sportswomen do have a unique fan base, and they are seldom seen to cause any scandal, which could be an advantage to the brand. Besides, having a sportswoman as a brand ambassador seems to be a cheaper and economical option to have an endorsement. Moreover, given that consumers have demonstrated a positive attitude toward brands that sponsor a less conventionally popular sportsperson/team, there is an opportunity for more brands to sponsor sportswomen and their teams. Additionally, sportswomen offer brands a chance to reach new audiences, which, in turn, can lead to an increase in sales.