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Impact of sponsorship on a major public arts event

As part of Durham’s City of Culture bid, a festival of light called Lumiere took place in Durham in 2009. This research study was to gauge perceptions of the sponsors’ involvement and determine whether they could position themselves as a leading enabler of public art and public participation in the arts in addition to evaluating the sponsor. Over 800 face to face interviews were conducted and the results identified a positive outcome towards the sponsor and an opportunity to achieve a high profile in the market place.

Key benefits:

  • Sources of successful awareness identified
  • Opportunity to increase profile in the market place associated with sponsorship and the arts
  • Positive response for sponsor with regards to the arts

Our Assigment

As part of Durham’s City of Culture bid, a festival of light called Lumiere took place in Durham in November 2009. NEMS Market Research were commissioned to evaluate the sponsorship. In addition, the research was to gauge perceptions of the sponsors’ involvement and determine whether they could position themselves as a leading enabler of public art and public participation in the arts.

Results

The event was high profile and over 75,000 people attended the event. Of those surveyed over 8 in 10 had heard of the event and even 70% of the non-attendees had heard of Lumiere.
Although awareness of sponsorship was low, the sponsor was top of mind when prompted.
10 out of 11 statements about the sponsor of Lumiere were rated positively by all respondents and all 11 statements were rated positively by attendees.
In terms of positioning statements most applicable to the sponsor, the top three achieved a mean score above 7 (scored out of 10).

Benefits

This survey identified two main sources of awareness; media and word-of-mouth and being able to harness the power of the latter mechanism could be key to unlocking the value of future sponsorship campaigns.
As spontaneous awareness of organisations associated with the arts was low, this highlights a gap in the market place and creates an opportunity for the sponsor to increase its awareness within this market.
The sponsorship achieved some significant goals; people think positively about the sponsor with regards to the arts and it has engaged with the local community which has been appreciative of the sponsors involvement.

Our Approach

The survey comprised of two samples; those who visited the Lumiere festival and those who did not. This enabled comparisons to be made among those exposed to the sponsorship and those who were not, each of approximately 400 interviews. Interviews were completed in various locations around Durham City and conducted at dusk / in the dark. A loose quota was set to ensure that the sample was not skewed by a particular subset of the population.

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