Purpose – Sponsorship can be an effective strategic marketing tool yet it attracts criticism as a corporate indulgence shaped by the personal interests of senior executives. While research into the outcomes of sponsorship is extensive, the practices involved in sponsorship selections have been largely ignored. Today, sponsorship selection in large corporations is recommended to be a formal process involving evaluation criteria aligned to corporate policy and strategic priorities. Yet, in reality, corporate culture influences sponsorship selection, as do sponsorship managers’ beliefs about sponsorship types and motivations. The purpose of this paper is to explore sponsorship selection practices and to consider the interplay between corporate culture and sponsorship managers’ beliefs about sponsorship types and their motivations. The findings provide not only new interpretation of the literature but also reveal a detailed picture of sponsorship selection. Design/methodology/approach – This exploratory qualitative study comprises in-depth interviews with senior sponsorship managers from eight large Australian companies that use sponsorship as a strategic marketing tactic. Findings – This study concludes that the sponsorship selection process is strongly influenced by corporate culture as well as the sponsorship manager’s beliefs about sponsorship types and their motivations. Originality/value – This study contributes to the sponsorship management research stream by providing important insights into under-researched factors that influence the sponsorship selection process.
Corporate Communications: An International Journal / Vol. 21, No. 4, pp.483-499