The effects of socio sponsorships in different levels of reputation: the role of communication channel
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- Master Thesis 
By en engaging in socio sponsorships, companies can not only generate favorable consumer attitudes and enhance purchase intention, but in a long term perspective, they can build company image and strong stakeholder relationships. However, consumers’ low awareness of and critical attributions towards the sponsorship activity still remain impediment in companies’ attempt to benefit from the sponsorship, emphasizing a need for companies to communicate sponsorship more effectively to consumers. In order to fill a gap in sponsorship literature, this thesis examines how the choice of message channel might enhance trust and purchase intentions for low and high reputation sponsors in socio sponsorship, and whether the effects are mediated by persuasion knowledge, sincerity and fit. The findings indicated that low reputation companies are better off communicating with advertisement, whilst high reputation companies proved to create more favorable consumer outcomes with PR. Socio sponsors want to balance commercial and altruistic motives because the support of a good cause might trigger skepticism make extrinsic motives more salient. As low reputation companies are perceived as less sincere, communication through third party sources might create a contrast effect that increases suspicion and perception of dishonest intentions. As such, low reputation companies are better off communicating through advertisement that is more transparent and direct in its form. Sponsors with a high brand reputation, however, will generate higher consumer outcomes by using third party communication. Consequently, sponsors ought to communicate through PR, historically known for generating sponsor trust and credibility (e.g. Ries & Ries; Yoon et al 2006). Moreover the study showed that a high reputation will have a positive effect on consumer’s perception of sponsorship congruency. The findings are similar to what Roy & Cornwell (2004) found in their study on event sponsorships.