According to Qondisa Ngwenya, Octagon South Africa Managing Director, following the emotional connections sports fans have with players is a key to marketing success in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
That finding was revealed in the latest wave of Passion Drivers® research, conducted in Brazil, the ascending capital of global sports, by leading worldwide sports and entertainment marketing firm Octagon.
The study of Brazil's avid fans of football, the Olympic Games, basketball, volleyball and tennis, gives Octagon a new and proprietary understanding of the nation's sports fans as consumers. It also dramatically enhances the expanded capabilities the agency gained via the recent acquisition of veteran Brazil sports marketing firm B2S.
"This is exciting news," said Octagon Brazil President, Alexandre Leitao. "It is the first time anyone has quantified the WHY behind the mystery of fans' passions for the sports they love. Knowing why fans feel the way they do about a particular sport enables sponsors to develop strategies and activation plans that connect their brands to these previously unknown emotional relationships in ways that truly influence consumers," Leitao explained.
Simon Wardle, Octagon's Executive Vice President of Insights and Strategy, and the creator of the Passion Drivers® research initiative, said the Brazil research allows Octagon to know why fans follow a sport based on a hierarchy of 12 passion factors.
Somewhat revealing to researchers was the role played by various player-related factors which connect Brazil fans to football, tennis, basketball and volleyball to a greater degree than they do in other countries studied, according to Wardle.
Research identifies different fan types for each sport
"What also makes this research "breakthrough" is the revelation of distinct fan types for the same sport that go deeper than demographic distinctions, proving that fans do follow the same sport for different reasons," Wardle explained.
Citing the example of distinct Brazil fan types who follow football, Wardle said, "You may think that team devotion, defined as an obsessive loyalty to a team, would rank highest for most fan types in Brazil as it does across Europe, but you would be wrong."
The four Brazil football fan types revealed in Octagon's research include:
Club Members (33%): The largest segment of the fan base comprised of young, single males who emphasise team devotion, gloating and intense action as their driving factors
TV Bandwagon (30%): The least avid of the types who are drawn to football via TV viewership of both Brazilian club teams and European leagues
Player-Camaraderie (25%): Their primary passion point is the sense of belonging to like-minded fans
Tribal Fanatics (12%): The smallest and most avid type who consume football through multiple touch points and for whom team devotion is not a key passion driver
Leitao said understanding these differences can positively impact the way marketers use football as a brand platform leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. "The ways in which football sponsors activate in Brazil should be significantly different than the ways they activate in other mature soccer markets," Leitao said.
For now, social interaction is driving passion for the 2016 Olympic Games
By contrast, the story of Brazil fans' passions for the Olympic Games is still emerging.
Wardle said the research found the relationship between Brazil sports fans and the Olympic Games to be very different to other markets studied including the UK, the US and China where the connection is typically characterised by an affinity for national teams, their athletes and the Olympic Games themselves.
"Currently, in Brazil, the Olympic Games are more a source of the Talk & Socializing factor, defined as emotional connections with the Olympic Games driven by social interactions," Wardle said.
Leitao agreed saying, "It would appear that the full story of the relationship between Brazilian consumers and the Rio 2016 Games has yet to be written. We will be watching the evolution of the fans' connection points to the Games as well as those for all of the sports we studied and counsel our clients accordingly."
Passion Drivers® insights help marketers think like fans
Octagon clients are using the Passion Drivers® insights to "think like a fan." Armed with the "why" behind fan passion, marketers now have a fully-dimensionalised model of the sports fan as consumer, insight critical to developing and implementing effective sponsorship activation programs.
Octagon has conducted Passion Drivers® research across sports, entertainment and cause-related issues, studying more than 50,000 fans in 10 countries, including 2,000 sports fans in Brazil.
Octagon (IPG: NYSE) is the world's largest sports & entertainment sponsorship consulting practice and a pioneer and leader in athlete & personality representation & management. With more than 800 employees worldwide, Octagon works with hundreds of blue-chip corporate clients, more than 800 athlete & personality clients and manages more than 13,400 events per year. Octagon has client service experience at every FIFA World Cup tournament since 1990. For the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Octagon activated sponsorships for more World Cup sponsors than any other agency. Since 1992, Octagon has worked for more than 30 corporate sponsors of the Olympic Games. Octagon represents Olympians Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Hannah Teter and Apolo Anton Ohno. Following a successful event in Vancouver, Octagon is activating for corporate sponsors of both the 2012 and 2014 Olympic Games. To learn more, visit: www.octagon.com.