Branding: Team Kansai Plascon and the Absa Cape Epic

During the Absa Cape Epic, one of the world’s most respected sporting events spectators have seen many familiar brands on board to support and sponsor various cycling teams on their eight-day epic adventure. It is not just brands directly linked to sport that is benefiting through sports branding – such brand as Kansai Plascon.

A few months ago Kansai Plascon was approached to sponsor a new pairing (Max Knox and Hector Leonardo Paez Leon) for the Cape Epic which could potentially challenge for a podium place. Knox is well-known as one of South Africa’s top mountain bikers, and Paez (from Colombia) has a solid reputation on the global stage as being one of the world’s best.

As Africa’s largest paint manufacturer, Kansai Plascon is the premium choice in retail, professional, industrial, furniture and automotive coatings markets across the continent.

The question is why a paint manufacturer would opt to get involved with a sporting event of this nature. Kansai Plascon recently launched a new brand positioning of “Designed for Life” and the brand felt that the Absa Cape Epic and the athletes were a great fit with their new ideology.

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For 128 years Plascon has been leading the way in the coatings industry. While we have always led from the front in innovation and industry it is not merely our scientific expertise that has given us this edge. Long before we take to the laboratory, our inspiration is derived from curiosity that gives us the insights to innovate and our relentless pursuit for excellence is never-ending. But this curiosity would be futile if it did not lead to the enhancement of human lives. Our aim is simple – to make people’s lives better throughout their life journeys. Our science and success are founded in emotion and enhancement. Plascon is Designed for Life,” says Zurita Moore, Corporate and Digital Communication Specialist at Kansai Plascon.

The Absa Cape Epic is about living life at 100%; it’s about being challenged and tested to breaking point, and drawing on sheer passion and determination to pull through the rough parts of the ride in the pursuit for excellence. In many ways, the Absa Cape Epic, and the athletes quest for sporting excellence, too is Designed for Life – which made the decision to get involved as a sponsor so much easier for Kansai Plascon.

Sponsorship in sport has always been an interesting topic, where many have debated the true value of putting money behind sporting teams and events in a bid to drive marketing efforts by a brand.

Often when brands get involved with sponsorship deals, it’s initiated and driven by one of their agency’s who are on the journey and ensure that all deliverables pertaining to the sponsorship are met – with regular updates to the client that their sponsorship is on track. This was not the case with Kansai Plascon – who handled the sponsorship themselves, and personally engaged and supported the athletes on the ground, from day one. They also had a dedicated photographer capturing each and every moment, to be shared with the team’s fans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the team’s blog. The Team Kansai Plascon management team were personally invested in this partnership from the word “go.”

For Kansai Plascon, this sponsorship was a way for the brand to personally get involved in supporting the professional aspirations of some of the world’s top athletes within the mountain bike space (what they are doing is Designed for Life.)

One of the biggest benefits of having sponsorship funding is that it allows athletes and organisations to focus more on the training and production of their sports, than looking for money to fund their efforts. Their energy is spent on what they’re good at – and in this case for Knox and Paez, it was on their racing. And it seems the sponsorship paid off. Team Kansai Plascon placed 4th in the 2017 Absa Cape Epic. Sure, a podium placement is always fantastic for a brand who’s put money behind an individual or team, but this does not always mean that a sponsorship was successful or worthwhile.

“A sponsorship is only as successful as a brand makes it. And for Kansai Plascon, it was most certainly valuable – thanks to people and passion.”