||BP Tops Off Sponsorship Portfolio with New Local Ties
BP America Places More Focus on Using Sponsorship as a Platform to Build Relations with Trade Partners
BP America Inc. is placing more emphasis on local and regional sponsorships as a platform to engage consumers and drive traffic to independent dealers that market gasoline under the BP brand.
The initiative marks new ground for the fuel giant. While BP has used sponsorship to tout new gasoline brands and it's AM/PM convenience store chain, it has not actively used sponsorship to engage trade partners.
But that is starting to change: BP this year has signed new partnerships with the MLB Cleveland Indians and mall developer Glimcher Realty Trust, both of which it is using to engage jobbers.
The deals build on several existing sponsorships including the NFL New York Giants and MLB Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
The crux of the initiative: consumer engagement.
"We absolutely use sponsorship to engage consumers. Our goal is to connect with them emotionally and use that relationship as a venue to tell them about our fuels and brand promise," said Adam Glauberman, marketing programs coordinator, who manages sponsorship, local marketing platforms and PR initiatives for the BP retail brand.
The company markets gasoline under the BP brand east of the Rocky Mountains and the ARCO brand in the west.
Using consumer engagement as the hook, BP uses sponsorship to create promotional platforms that drive retail traffic and to support its dealers' community outreach initiatives.
For example, BP is leveraging its Glimcher relationship with Englefield Oil Co., the operator of the Duke/Duchess Shoppe convenience store chain. The chain sells BP-branded gasoline.
The tie affords co-presenting status of Earning for Learning, a back-to-school promotion that raises money for local schools. Consumers raise money by submitting receipts from merchants at Glimcher's three malls in Columbus, Ohio and Englefield's roughly 40 local retail outlets.
"Englefield does great things in the community, and we want to support those initiatives," said Glauberman.
The partnership affords exposure in radio ads, on point-of-purchase marketing material and other collateral, said Gerritt Smith, Glimcher's senior manager of partnership marketing.
Smith initiated the relationship at IEG's 2011 conference. "Adam mentioned that BP was focusing marketing attention on Columbus. We have seven malls in Ohio with three in Columbus, so the relationship made sense."
On the pro sports front, BP activated the Cleveland Indians with an in-store sweeps that dangled free tickets to consumers that filled up their gasoline tank five or more times.
"The best part of the sponsorship is providing value at the pump," said Glauberman.
BP jobbers this year also have signed several new deals. Those include the MLB Baltimore Orioles and NFL Chicago Bears.
"The common marketing thread that ties these sponsorships together is the value proposition and message to the consumer. At the end of the day we want consumers to know that their local BP station has a lot to offer them."
Mike Joiner, BP America's consumer marketing manager, oversees the company's consumer-facing marketing activities including advertising, digital strategy and retail promotions.
On the international front, BP in early 2010 inked official energy partner status with the U.S. Olympic Committee, a tie that affords sponsorship of the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. The company is using the tie as a platform to promote sustainable energy production and consumption.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 09/12/11)
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