4 November 2015 | Team Tamar

RWC2015 Wrap-up: Which brands SCORED, who must TRY harder…?

During the Rugby World Cup, we thought we’d look not only at the countries who are involved, but also the brands. Brands pay an astronomical amount to sponsor sporting events, despite not always getting a return on their investment (ITV looked set to lose almost £1m per game when England got knocked out.)

So how did we measure the effectiveness of their sponsorship? Social media of course! We used our award-winning holistic social measurement tool Touchscore to measure whether the effectiveness of brands social media had increased after the Rugby World Cup had ended.

Touchscore measures five key ‘Touch’ components and produces an overall TouchScore, which is a weighted composite of each of the five components. The five components are: Visibility; Involvement; Participation; Advocacy; Commitment. Find out more about the five components and how Touchscore works here.

We looked at the 8 brands that had sponsored the Rugby World Cup and did a Touchscore on them before and then immediately after the World Cup finished. Here’s what we found. After the table, we’ll take a look at the big winners and losers, as well as speculating why they performed how they did…

Sponsor Before After
Land Rover 73 83
Coca Cola 84 83
MasterCard 80 82
Emirates 72 74
DHL 72 74
Toshiba 76 69
Heineken 68 68
Société Générale 64 68

Let’s take a more in-depth look at how the brands performed, starting with the two brands that came joint last.

Société Générale

Société Générale are probably the most unknown brand to be sponsoring the Rugby World Cup – especially if you’re not French. However, their sponsorship of rugby is well known in France and they often support other sporting activities – most notably as an official partner of the French Federation for Disabled Sports, or Fédération Française Handisport.

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Société Générale saw a good increase in their Touchscore, growing it from 64 to 68. They still rank last of all the brands that sponsored the event, but they’re joint last with Heineken, which isn’t bad for a relatively unknown brand.

Société Générale’s Touchscore increased in pretty much all areas, probably thanks to their exposure from the Rugby World Cup. Their Visiblity, Participation and Involvement scores all increased. Participation scores increase thanks to social following across the board, so it makes sense that Société Générale’s Participation score would increase as they benefited from the exposure.

Heineken

Heineken are a natural to sponsor sports events. After all, what do men who watch sports like? That’s right – beer.

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Heineken didn’t see a change in their Touchscore result – it stayed at a static 68. Of all the brands that sponsored the Rugby World Cup they now rank joint last with Société Générale.

Heineken didn’t see any changes to their score – indicating that they didn’t take full advantage of the opportunities that were presented to engage with fans on social.

Toshiba

Toshiba’s involvement with rugby stretches across many domains, supplying many of their products during the World Cup – including air conditioning, printers and medical imaging devices.

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Toshiba are one of two brands that saw a drop in their Touchscore – the other being Coca Cola. However, while Coca Cola saw a small drop of only 1, Toshiba saw a big drop. Their Touchscore fell from 76 to 69.

Toshiba is another brand that saw their Participation score increase, with their community size growing across most social media platforms. However, Toshiba’s Involvement score decreased – indicating that they, like MasterCard, did not properly engage with their community during the Rugby World Cup.

DHL

DHL are the current title sponsors for the major South African rugby teams Western Province and the Stormers, and have been for the past 3 years.

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DHL saw their Touchscore increase by 2, up from 72 to 74. This puts them exactly the same as Emirates, both in their physical Touchscore, and also how much it grew by.

DHL is another brand that benefited from an increase in Visibility – again, likely thanks to an increase in front page dominance from the brand. DHL also saw an increase in Involvement, probably through replying to their community and increasing their Tweet frequency.

Emirates

Emirates are a giant brand. They’re well known for their luxury flights through the Middle East, however they’re almost as well known for sponsoring sporting events. Many Arsenal fans will recognize them as the sponsors of the Arsenal home stadium – aptly named the Emirates Stadium.

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Before the world cup, Emirates scored a 72, but afterwards it had risen to 74. Not a great increase, but an increase nonetheless.

Emirates had only a slight increase, and it was in their Visibility score. Visibility scores are based on how visible both the site is, and the social channels for the brand – so in this case it’s likely that Visibility improved thanks to more official results being displayed on the front page of Google.

MasterCard

MasterCard are very notable for their involvement in supporting many major sporting events. They’re the main sponsors of the New Zealand All Blacks, among other sports such as Major League Baseball and the UEFA Champions League.

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MasterCard saw a similar level of growth to Emirates and DHL – their Touchscore increased by 2, from 80 to 82. After the World Cup ended, they ranked second only to Land Rover and are only 1 point behind.

MasterCard’s slight increase in TouchScore is due to two factors. While their Visibility score increased from 83 to 93, their Involvement score actually decreased from 89 to 77. This indicates that while they saw an increase of brand visibility, they missed out on a perfect opportunity to engage with their community.

Coca Cola

Coca Cola are well known for sponsoring sporting events, supplying not only soft drinks, but also water and sports drinks for the events.

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Coca Cola are one of two brands that saw a drop after the World Cup ended – their score fell from 84 to 83.

Interestingly Coca Cola saw a drop in their Visibility score – falling from 96 to 94. This is probably due to an increase in news articles relating to Coca Cola being pushed towards Page 1 of Google SERPs thanks to Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush programme. Tesco’s decision to ban Ribena also promoted articles about Coca Cola to the front page – asking why Ribena was banned but Coca Cola was not.

Land Rover

Land Rover are all about getting involved, and have been supporting rugby for more than 20 years, at both a grassroots level and at a major level – such as the Rugby World Cup.

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Land Rover also saw their score increase, going up to 83 from 73. Quite an impressive boost in a single month, and the highest we saw amongst all of the brands that took part.

When we look at the performance of Land Rover in more detail, we can see that their scores improved across the board. Their commitment score got a slight improvement, up from 99 to 100 – probably thanks to the increase in followers they gained as a result of their sponsorship of the games.

Land Rover’s visibility score also improved, as did their Involvement score. Land Rover, like Emirates, probably saw an increase in their Visibility score due to an increase in official pages on Page 1 of Google search results. Involvement measures how involved a brand is with their community. For Land Rover, this probably improved as they became more involved with their community, replying to fans on both Twitter and Facebook.

Summary

So was it worth sponsoring the Rugby World Cup? It’s hard to tell, especially given the flux we’ve seen with other, non-sponsoring brands during the same time period.

In some cases, we can see that brands didn’t properly capitalise on the exposure they gained from the Rugby World Cup, or that they aren’t particularly good at social media to begin with – which may explain why some Touchscore results have dropped.

But on the other hand, we can definitely see some brands that took the opportunities that were presented to them and used them to their full advantage, engaging with their communities and building new relationships through social with potential customers outside of their normal fanbase.

So while New Zealand won the coveted Webb Ellis Cup, Land Rover came out on top for us. Congratulations Land Rover, you managed to CONVERT the Rugby World Cup into a perfect opportunity to expand your community size and really take advantage of everything social has to offer.

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