Enhancing purchase intentions through sponsor entitativity: untangling the process
2015-11-26T16:43:36Z (GMT) by
Companies increasingly believe that sponsorship, and in particular sport sponsorship, can help them achieve their respective strategic objectives. Achieving sales objectives are especially important in the context of sport sponsorship, given that managers are under increasing pressure to justify their sponsorship expenditure, and that over two-thirds of all sponsorships are directed towards sports properties. However, isolating a sponsorship s contribution to a company s sales figures is difficult to accomplish, and even if this were possible, understanding the mechanisms behind consumers behavioural responses to that respective sponsorship would still constitute a challenge. Hence, understanding consumers behavioural purchase intentions, and what drives these intentions within sponsorship contexts, is of paramount importance. That said, little is known about what drives consumers purchase intentions in sponsorship settings. A greater understanding of consumers behavioural intentions within concurrent sponsorship settings is necessary. Concurrent sponsorships involve multiple brands sponsoring a property at the same time. As such, they are a more realistic and common sponsorship context than simple sponsor-sponsee dyads are. It is important to examine concurrent sponsorships because a collective is formed when multiple sponsors are involved. In turn, social psychology highlights that a collective is characterised by the degree to which its a priori members are perceived as a group. Groups are perceived qualitatively differently to dyads, and can also be perceived differently to the sum of their respective constituent parts. Moreover, the extent to which people perceive a collective as a group can impact upon their subsequent evaluations of that group and that group s actions. Consequently, consumers evaluations of a sponsee s concurrent sponsors and the sponsee itself may be affected by how concurrent sponsorships are perceived, which in turn may affect consumers behavioural intentions. Hence, it is imperative that concurrent sponsorship contexts are investigated. That said, there is scant literature investigating concurrent sponsorships, with sponsorship research historically focussing on sponsor-sponsee dyadic settings. This thesis contributes to our understanding of concurrent sponsorship settings of major sporting events by examining how people s perceptions of concurrent sponsors entitativity influence both their purchase intentions towards a focal concurrent sponsor and their sponsee equity evaluations. An online questionnaire, utilising sponsorship vignettes (scenarios) as part of a factorial survey design, was sent to respondents of a mid-sized UK-based university. Scenarios were used to manipulate respondents into perceiving two concurrent sponsorship settings: a concurrent official providers sponsorship setting and a concurrent official financers sponsorship setting. Hypotheses were tested through Lisrel 8.71 where confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) were performed. The results in both sponsorship contexts (concurrent official providers and concurrent official financers ) appear to be very similar. Specifically, the results suggest that people s entitativity perceptions are positively related to their sponsee equity evaluations, which in turn are positively associated with people s purchase intentions. Entitativity is also positively associated with consumers intentions to purchase from a concurrent sponsor but only when consumers attribute high levels of sincerity towards that sponsor. The one significant difference between the two sponsorship types (official providers and official financers) in the study concerns how sincerity affects the entitativity-sponsee equity relationship. People s attributions of sincerity moderate the relationship between entitativity and sponsee equity in the official provider concurrent sponsorship context, such that the entitativity-sponsee equity relationship becomes stronger. However, people s attributions of sponsor sincerity do not affect the entitativity-sponsee equity relationship in the official financer concurrent sponsorship context. A post-hoc examination of repondents entitativity ratings also suggests people perceive official providers as being significantly more entitative than they do official financers. This study makes a number of contributions to both theory and management practice. For example, the study demonstrates how the entitativity concept, found within social psychology, can be applied to concurrent sponsorship settings, such that people s behavioural intentions towards a sponsee and a concurrent sponsor, are influenced by their concurrent sponsor entitativity perceptions. Following this, concurrent sponsors and sponsee rights holders should consider how sponsors can foster people s entitativity perceptions whilst at the same time communicate sincere motives for their respective sponsee sponsorships, as sincerity perceptions are important too. This would not only help the sponsee s rights holder by increasing sponsee equity but the results also suggest that people are more likely to purchase from a concurrent sponsor. That said, this may lead to further difficulties between sponsors and sponsees rights holders. For example, sponsees rights holders may be perceived as needing sponsorships as opposed to being able to command them, which in turn could lead to difficult sponsorship negotiations between rights holders and potential sponsors. Second, the business and marketing acumens of sponsees rights holders are generally regarded to be lower than that of sponsors . In fact, sponsors often act independently of sponsees rights holders when making sponsorship leveraging decisions and investments, and this is partly because sponsees rights holders are not proactive enough in working with the sponsors. Therefore, if sponsees rights holders do not have the capabilities to help sponsors foster entitative and sincere sponsorship contexts, sponsors may be unwilling to renew their sponsorship deals or even set up their own events.