I was reading the sports section in The Star yesterday when my eyes caught the article titled ‘It’s Lofty days at Loftus’. Hey, what is the relationship between sports and business? Well, maybe Ananda can be one of the respectable people to answer this question. Queen Park Rangers or QPR is little known in Asia, so in Malaysia. However it is big in England and one of the biggest clubs in BPL. Since the buyout from Tony Fernandes, the owner of Malaysian low cost airline, AirAsia Bhd, there are much hype in the soccer arena.
It was Saturday Oct 15, when the match between QPR and Balckburn had ended with a draw of 1-1. It was in Loftus Road where QPR sits and the atmosphere there is just like in Kelantan’s stadium if not more. QPR supporters and fans are flocking in and QPR shirts are fast leaving the shelves. MAS and AirAsia, which were fierce rivals before are joining hand right now to sponsor the club. MAS is given the honour to sponsor the home games while AirAsia sponsors the away games. With 38 matches, MAS will get exposure in about 30 matches. That is a huge branding campaign considering that they will play against big clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Machester City and Liverpool!
It was also reported that, as soon as MAS had confirmed their sponsor for QPR, two corporate clients decided to make MAS as their favoured airline. One of the bosses is a QPR fan!
Owning a football club and sponsoring them is a huge milestone for Malaysian company in adopting effective branding strategy. PETRONAS was a pioneer in sponsoring F1 Team as a method of branding and nowadays they are renowned around the world. Many bashers which are mind-boggled by the short term gain are likely the one to oppose these strategies.
I believe that we need to be bold enough to practice the unconventional method of branding. Many Malaysian companies are known to produce world-class product, but they are visibly unknown in other part of the world. Some even remain to be the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) for other companies that have good brands.
I hope to see more PETRONAS, AirAsia and MAS alike in the future. For Felda and Sime Darby, it is a challenge for them to put their name in the global branding scene. We do not want to see ‘jaguh kampung’ which is only big in Malaysia but small in the world landscape.