Sponsorship primarily needs to be long-term

9. September 2019 Published by Raphael Doerr

The new soccer season got underway recently. And Gigaset is in the mix again as an official partner of FC Bayern Munich. Yet its familiar involvement is just one example among several of its sponsoring activities. Raphael Dörr, SVP Corporate Communications and Investor Relations and SVP Sponsoring, explains Gigaset’s sponsorship strategy.

How long has Gigaset been involved in sponsorship? What were the original motivating factors?

We originally started sponsoring for the reason why most companies probably do so: We wanted to enhance our company’s visibility. A lot of people know we make landline telephones, but we can do more to raise awareness about the fact that we also offer smartphones and smart home solutions. Admittedly, however, they are also different target groups we’re addressing in some cases – sponsorship is a good approach to reach out to them as part of our communication work. We can see, especially in social media, that our sponsorship of Bayern Munch has made us known among a completely different target group. We’ve supported the soccer club FC Bocholt since 2017 and are also a premium partner as of this season. What’s less known in Germany is that we’ve sponsored Ascot for many years, namely since 2015. We’ve also supported local activities in the past years, but that has tended to be occasional and not part of the kind of longer-term partnership we strive for in the field of soccer, for example.

Are there other reasons for Gigaset being involved in sponsorship?

Sponsorship is part of our CSR activities. We’re currently assessing them in detail and reorganizing them. We want to identify the areas we want to get involved in and what fits our company. There are already great initiatives and projects at many places in the company, such as the grass packaging for the GS195. It’s important for us to bring them all together under one roof so that they can also unfold their full impact. Such activities are effective only if you have a truly holistic approach. That’s a process that takes time, but it’s extremely important especially at present.

And then there’s naturally the clear effect that our employees benefit, especially from our local partnerships, as with FC Bocholt. Many of them are fans of the club and it will naturally be a very special feeling for them in particular to go and watch games in the Gigaset Arena. That obviously stokes pride in your own employer – at least that’s what it does for me. We’re not only a sponsor, but – together with FC Bocholt – also an ambassador here for our location Bocholt. I think we’ll establish a number of wonderful partnerships in the next few years. There are already a lot of ideas.

Why the focus on soccer?

Soccer is and will always be a popular sport, but what’s most important for us is the passion and emotion – if you’re a fan of a club, you normally remain so your whole life and don’t switch loyalties. We naturally want fans like that – and already have some like them. Anyone who has grown up with our landline phones can still often hear the familiar Gigaset ringtone in their own home. We’d like to transfer that experience to our other products. That’s because, as so often in life, our products also unfurl their maximum potential when they interact with each other.

The new season is just starting. What are you looking forward to the most?

That’s easy: The wonderful people I’ll probably be able to get to know this season, too. As you may be aware, we hold a ticket draw for every home game of FC Bayern Munich on our official Facebook page. Then there are the away games in the first division – where you keep on getting to know brilliant fans who are full of passion. It’s awesome! It’s also simply a pleasure to see how happy they are when they’re right up close to one of Bayern’s players, like the winners of our trips to Madrid, Paris or Istanbul experienced. Those are moments that make you happy, but also the stories we want to tell together with our partners. And, of course, I’m also looking forward to my first game in the Gigaset Arena.

What might the next steps in sponsoring be?

Basically, we always look at where we can get involved. We can well imagine other cultural sponsorships, especially at the local level. We’re open to talks on that, and to suggestions, for example, from our employees. It’s vital the the involvement is the right fit for us, our products and our target groups, but an important aspect is how far we can shape it ourselves. We want to step up our presence at FC Bocholt because that’s our home turf, as it were. We also want to contribute our expertise where it makes sense for FC Bocholt. As a company with a long tradition, there are doubtless a number of fields where we’ll enter into dialogue on concrete matters. And there are doubtless points where we can learn from FC Bocholt. Above all, we want a long-term presence, which is why we were able to successfully extend both partnerships. And we want to talk more about where and how we’re involved, since our partners can also benefit very clearly from that. For us, that’s also an aspect of sustainability.


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