WHETHER it’s the monopoly that many enjoy, poor understanding of the meaning of marketing or just taking the consumers for granted, most local corporate companies seem to underestimate the value of giving back to the community through sponsorship, which is a win-win situation.
Sorry to say this but a very good number of Rwanda’s corporate companies need to take a close look in the mirror and realize how stingy they’re or have been over the years to their faithful customers!
First, it’s imperative to understand exactly what sponsorship is. Sponsorship is the financial or in-kind support of an activity, used primarily to reach specified business goals. However, sponsorship is also very different from advertising.
In this way, sponsorship favours those organisations with a bit of profile, those that are better known in the community, or marketing boost to a company.
While firms enter into sponsorship arrangements for a variety of reasons, two of the most common are: (1) to increase brand awareness, and (2) to establish, strengthen, or change brand.
Normally, strategies aimed at increasing brand awareness are implemented using a multitude of promotional medium and are designed to have the sponsoring brand exposed to as many potential consumers as possible.
Bralirwa through its Primus brand have taken over the sponsorship of the national football league and MTN have the rights for the Peace Cup, so these two companies, in addition to their other advertising modes also spread their message to their customers inside football grounds across the country.
World over, football has become big business which means the less the investment the less the progress. The more money pumped in a league, cup competition or anything of the sort, the more competitive it becomes hence the greater reward to all parties involved which also include the sponsors.
As sponsors or provider of funds for the smooth running of the national league for the next three seasons, Bralirwa has created a relationship with the local football fraternity and in return they have full rights and association in that area that may be used for commercial advantage.
Frw335 millions is not a lot of money considering the length of time (three years) but at least it’s better than nothing. For the start, the football federation couldn’t have asked for more, and credit must go to the country’s largest brewery. Hoping other corporate companies are taking note.
A lot of corporate companies in Rwanda have so much to spend on things like sponsorship of sporting events and competitions but because most of them don’t have serious direct competitors, they don’t see the need to market their products. But for how long will status quo continue? Not for long, I’d assume.
The money that Bralirwa has poured into the national football league is just a drop in the ocean in terms of what is actually needed to make a meaningful impact on the country’s beautiful game needs far more than a couple of hundred millions to even get in second gear.
Besides the top flight league, there is the second division and women football both of which need funding to get going.
Women football particularly seems to be growing faster than anticipated and if only there was someone out with money to put into something worthwhile, why look further?
Bralirwa’s money alone can’t do much as far as improving the standards of Rwandan football is concerned.
There is an urgent need for other corporate companies to come out of their comfort zones and step on the plate to be counted.