Wimbledon – how to serve a first class brand experience
A truly iconic brand is defined by its ability to transcend the product it offers or the service it provides. Nike doesn’t just make trendy sports leggings – it’s a lifestyle brand, empowering anyone to be the best athlete they can be. Apple doesn’t just manufacture consumer electronics – it has redefined how we communicate and connect with the world around us.
We’ve seen already this week that Wimbledon is more than just a sporting event – it’s an iconic expression of English character. The all-white clothing policy; strawberries and cream; the Hill; seeing Sue Barker everyday – and reading Kipling’s words, “If you can meet triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same”, emblazoned above players as they enter the majestic Centre Court. Wimbledon transcends tennis.
Ensuring an iconic brand like Wimbledon remains a crown jewel in an increasingly congested sports calendar, and collaborating with broadcast channels that work tirelessly to provide the best footage and commentary of The Championships, is a challenge. And it’s one that the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), alongside Wimbledon’s official information technology supplier IBM, embraces every year.
It’s a challenge we’re also very familiar with at The Frameworks. For the last two years we’ve supported the AELTC and IBM to create communications that promote their long-standing relationship and the unique effort that goes into powering the Fortnight every year – those magical two weeks when SW19 becomes a bustling hub of English etiquette.
This year, we worked closely with the AELTC to produce three 30-second adverts to be broadcast across television channels globally in the run-up to – and during – Wimbledon. Each advert focuses on how the AELTC strives to improve the fan experience of The Championships.
The next best thing to being there
It all begins with Wimbledon’s owned digital channels, which are integral to communicating the brand. They are, after all, some of the main places where Wimbledon can truly control the expression of its brand. Fans visiting any digital channel owned by Wimbledon will receive near real-time analysis of action on court, with unique insights and stories that enrich the fan experience. The AELTC appreciates that competition for tickets to SW19 is fierce – and that in order to satisfy Wimbledon’s global audience, the organisation has to deliver the next best thing to being there via its digital properties.
IBM helps make this possible, recruiting and training up to 48 skilled tennis players to capture match stats from the side of the court to watch every forehand, backhand, volley, serve and lob and powering stats and insights that are used to update millions of digital devices around the globe in under four seconds.
Social Grand Slam
It doesn’t stop there. Wimbledon wants to engage in a two-way dialogue with its fanbase. The data and insights are intended to spark conversation among tennis enthusiasts and encourage people to get involved. That’s where social media comes in. Wimbledon creates bespoke social content every year to provide unparalleled access to the Fortnight, allowing fans to join a conversation and feel part of the action – whether they’re at the grounds or not.
The Wimbledon Social Command Centre from IBM acts as a hub by leveraging the social data to listen to and understand what content the fans want in real time. This means Wimbledon can offer a differentiated experience over social media, tailored to what the fans want to hear.
Bringing Wimbledon to life
Encouraging fans to engage with these multiple channels is the focus of two adverts we produced with the AELTC. See them for yourself below.
To complement these adverts, we also produced a brand-focused advert – to remind fans around the globe how unique Wimbledon really is. A leading question positioned at the end of the advert has encouraged engagement across all social platforms.
The partnership with Wimbledon is an important one for IBM, as my colleague James has already discussed. Communicating the breadth of the service IBM provides, and how that can translate into a business environment, can be a challenge. We work with IBM to ensure the story of the partnership is told in a way that provides a high-level overview, while encouraging people to find out more. “Just four seconds” was a great success in 2014, with nearly 16,000 views on YouTube.
This year’s animation, “I am the data”, further develops the story of data and how IBM leverages it to power The Championships for fans around the world.
I stocked up on the Pimm’s and pinned up my Union Jack flag, ready to cheer on Andy Murray yesterday. It’s my favourite time of the year – and I engage with it more than any other sporting event in the world. I’m not a huge sports fanatic – I’ll only watch tennis or rugby (don’t even try to put me in front of football). But there’s something magical about The Championships that draws a whole range of people in, and that’s what makes it special. There’s no other event like it.
So next time you’re on the edge of your seat, screaming at Centre Court, take a second (or four) to remember how much work goes into getting The Championships ready for you every year.
Megan has left The Frameworks.
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