SOURCE: CMO Council

CMO Council

September 27, 2010 08:30 ET

New Report on Foul Play in Sports Marketing Highlights Need for More Proactive Brand Protection and Property Rights Management

Latest CMO Council Study Shows That Optimism and Potential for Increased Spend Has Amplified Need to Get Brand Trespassers, Ambush Tactics and Scammers in Check as Online Channels Intensify Threats

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - September 27, 2010) - A new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council indicates many sports marketers and sponsors ignore or inadequately invest in brand protection programs even though they believe trademark violations and property rights issues are undermining brand value and assets. The marketer poll was part of the CMO Council's latest initiative, Doing Away With Foul Play in Sports Marketing (www.sportsbrandprotect.com), which aims to sensitize sports franchise owners, event hosts, marketers and sponsors to trademark trespassing, property rights violations and online scams, frauds and infringements.

Doing Away With Foul Play tapped into the insights of more than 225 senior level sports marketers across leading consumer market categories, compiling a comprehensive assessment of how brands safeguard themselves and whether these measures are effective. Sponsored by MarkMonitor, a global leader in enterprise brand protection, the study shows most sports marketers believe brand infection negatively impacts the value of their sponsorships and undermines brand trust. Unfortunately, many companies do not have brand protection programs, and many of those that do focus on the wrong threats. In an industry expected to see revenues of $141 billion by 2012 (PwC), this highlights the need for brands to wake up, understand the threats and learn how to better protect themselves.

Most sports marketers and property owners (72 percent) believe sports sponsorships are a valuable and effective way to brand while engaging customers. An additional 15 percent say sports sponsorships have always been a part of their marketing mix. Only nine percent plan on cutting back or eliminating their sports marketing spend.

However, while counterfeiting and knock-off merchandise may have been the biggest threat to brands in years past, the study reveals that marketers today have other concerns. Forty one percent of respondents list ambush marketing by competitors as the top issue in brand protection, well ahead of the 29 percent still focused on counterfeiting. Twenty seven percent say improper behavior by elite athletes and players is a top issue, and 26 percent focus on online brand hijacking, showing marketers' increasing sensitivity towards digital media.

To protect against these threats, the study reports sports marketers and property owners are employing a variety of new defenses. Thirty four percent run "genuine and authentic" marketing and merchandising programs to combat IP infringement, and 24 percent try to minimize the impact of these issues to reduce potential negative exposure. Almost as many marketers (23 percent) use third parties to gather intelligence on violations, and 20 percent actively pursue and prosecute counterfeiters. However, 26 percent do not participate in any brand protection programs at all.

"The brand protection issues that sponsors and sports properties must protect against are changing," noted Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, a global executive group representing some 5,500 marketers in nearly 100 countries. "Sports marketers are using the same strategies and tools to protect their brands and IP that they were using when knock-off merchandise was the only threat. But as the sports industry grows globally, and as fan bases go digital, not enough brands are adjusting to the new challenges."

Effective brand protection in a constantly evolving digitally connected, social media world is one of these new challenges. Fifty two percent of respondents report they track, monitor or measure the use of their brand in these new engagement channels, while 23 percent are developing a strategy to do so. Still, 25 percent do not have a brand protection plan for digital media.

"Digital media is a double edged sword for sports properties," said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor. "The level of engagement with consumers and fans is a huge opportunity for marketers to boost awareness and grow their brand. But they are also facing constantly evolving online threats and need to have a plan to protect themselves."

Detailed findings of the online consumer survey can be found by visiting http://www.cmocouncil.org/resources/form-foulplay.asp. The report outlines the biggest brand protection challenges facing sports marketers and property owners, along with detailed best practices accounts from executives from leading sports franchises and corporate sponsors.

About the CMO Council
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council's 5,500 members control more than $200 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include over 12,000 global executives across 100 countries in multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, LoyaltyLeaders.org, Online Marketing Performance Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). www.cmocouncil.org.

About MarkMonitor
MarkMonitor, the global leader in enterprise brand protection, offers comprehensive solutions and services that safeguard brands, reputation and revenue from online risks. With end-to-end solutions that address the growing threats of online fraud, brand abuse and unauthorized channels, MarkMonitor enables a secure Internet for businesses and their customers. The company's exclusive access to data combined with its patented real-time prevention, detection and response capabilities provide wide-ranging protection to the ever-changing online risks faced by brands today. For more information, visit www.markmonitor.com.

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