Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Keurig Brews Sponsorship to Reach Next Generation of Customers

Textbook sponsorship strategy entails selecting and activating a sport property sponsorship in pursuit of business objectives. After all, a sponsorship should do something, whether it is increase brand awareness, shape brand image, attract new customers, or grow sales. This given is often overlooked as companies enter into sponsorships without clearly stated expectations or objectives. If you want a glimpse of how sponsorship should mesh with business strategy, look to Keurig's new college sports sponsorship initiative. The maker of coffee machines and owner of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters signed a deal with IMG College to have a presence on 25 campuses across prominent conferences including Florida, Georgia, Pittsburgh, and Texas.

Clear Objectives
What is most notable about Keurig's deal with IMG College is its intentions to use the partnership to achieve crucial marketing objectives. In a recent Sports Business Daily article, Green Mountain senior vice president of marketing Dwight Brown touts the deal as a way to reach the next generation of coffee drinkers. Moreover, Keurig has a need to influence a particular behavior, brewing and drinking one cup of coffee at a time versus brewing a pot of coffee. Another strategic consideration is that Keurig is interested in expanding its market presence in Texas and California, relying on sponsorship of Texas and UCLA, respectively, to support that objective. Finally, Keurig has rights to make officially licensed coffee makers for 11 schools, providing another platform for selling machines to fans who wish to own a coffee maker branded with their favorite college sports team.

Now What?
What is not discussed in the SBD article is most intriguing about the Keurig-IMG College partnership: How Keurig will activate its new asset. The possibilities seem limitless for Keurig to create campaigns around the college sponsorship program. Can you see the following in the coming months:
  • Keurig or Green Mountain branded experiences at sporting events
  • Cause marketing promotions with partner institutions
  • Social media contests
  • In-game promotions
and much more. Keurig seems to have a great deal of creative leeway in developing activation programs to maximize the association with their collegiate partners. What would you recommend Keurig do to market its college sponsorship?