There is a slight difference between sponsorship these days and past sponsorships. Studies haveÂ shown that past sponsorships were primarily focused on awareness building, strategies, and hadÂ ignored brand image issues.
As a result, little guidance is available for firms that seek to use sponsorship opportunities as aid in brand positioning.
Overtime however, events, sponsorship, promotions and place branding have become major criteria with which brands target the heart of existing or prospective customers.
For this, reasons have been advanced why firms enter into sponsorship activities, which excuses areÂ to increase brand awareness, establish, change or strengthen brand image or loyalty.
This explains why for many years companies fall over themselves to partake in major events like football fiestas, awards, lectures, musical concerts, cultural festivals and carnivals.
In Nigeria today, top companies see sponsorship as a mechanism to drive their brands. The story of MTN and Coca-cola,GLO, as the official telecommunication company and the official drink for the 2010 world cup nad the Nigeria premier league respectively explains the rational behind sponsorships.
Beyond sports, brands that have both the global and local appeal have also began to invest in the sponsorship of cultural activities. While sports appeals to elites, cultural activities, carnivals are used to connect the grassroot.
In what seems like a response to this global trend, UBA in collaboration with the Bayelsa State government have joined the league of brands that queue for sponsorship as a major tool to connect consumers and or attract tourist as the case may be with Bayelsa State government.
A brand Analyst, had once said that with sponsorship, sponsoring brands are exposed to many potential consumers and possible trade partners.
Accordingly , a brand that key to an activity that involves itâ€™s target audience is likely to leverage on such sponsorship to win consumers loyalty.
He also said that ifÂ a brand supports the youth market; it is natural for it to attract many football enthusiasts, he noted.
However, in 2008, UBA signed what was described as a mega deal to become the lead sponsor of AMAA. The three years deal, referred to as a mouth watering investment by investors in the movie industry was a plan to take AMAA to the next level.
â€œWe are proud to say our bank is a proudly African brand with presence in major economic centres of the continent. As a major corporate sponsor of AMAA , we are ready to make film makers and others top African celebrities and the diaspora to experience the joy of coming to Bayelsa State in Nigeria.â€
Continuing, he said, â€œUBA will remain a pillar of support to the entertainment and culture industry in Africa, stated Mr. Charles Ayigbe, Corporate Communications Manager of the bank at the 2010 and sixth edition of the award.
With well over 16 branches in Africa, Ayigbe stated that UBA as Africanâ€™s global bank, itâ€™s ideals were to encourage and facilitate growth in Africa, stressing that the bank sees AMAA as a platform to facilitate development.
â€œThere is Joy in recognition and AMAA recognises movie practitioners and encourage them to do more , and we have not fully tapped the impact in cinema and movies in Africa. We see movies as an opportunity for Africa to tell the African story the way we would like the world to know and hear about it. We are Afro- centric in our positioning and we see AMAA as a platform that aligns with those ideal, Ayigbe observed.
He noted further that the bank had gained tremendous value from the sponsoring of the award for three years and we are indeed happy for the continuos support, he added.
In the same vein, Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief. Timipreye Sylva said thatÂ the production ofÂ movies that propagate the positive aspects of African culture rather than the negatives will go long way to shore up the African dream and image.
He noted also that beyond the talents discovered, AfricaÂ will build on itÂ to correct the wrong impression about the African continent.