Business PR Tips

What’s to learn from Wimbledon’s approach to marketing?

Posted by Deborah | June 25th, 2014 | No responses

It’s been a fixture on our sporting calendar for as long as any of us can remember, it attracts an audience from every corner of the globe and yet it started ‘doing its thing’ long before we regarded PR & marketing as an important business discipline in its own right.

Here’s 10 things we can learn about the marketing strategy adopted by Wimbledon.

Never compromise the brand

Too many brands find themselves at some point in danger of changing or repositioning their brand and messaging…just because.

You’ll note Wimbledon is crystal clear about what it is, & how it presents itself.

Etiquette and brand presentation is at the heart of what it does.

Even the insistence about white player outfits this year is a certain demonstration of that.

Know who you are. Portray it!

Remember your heritage

You’ll never find Wimbledon afraid to remind you of the tournament’s history and heroes.

This is refreshing and reassuring.

A brand that reminds you through its PR of its longevity breeds confidence.

Let the people do the talking

Every PR professional will tell a client that what really helps story potential, is the people behind the brand.

Wimbledon knows that its personalities – be they players or backroom staff – are critical to the way it captures intrigue and appetite.

We love the stories of the ball boys and girls, or the pop star keeping us entertained in the stands, as much as we do the stories of the players themselves.

Know your audience…but expect it to evolve

When you’ve been a brand for as long as Wimbledon has, clearly things are always going to be changing around you.

While it recognises part of its audience may still be an army of hardcore tennis fans, it also sees that the ages and social status of those who’ve engaged in the brand of Wimbledon have changed through time.

A good brand adopts marketing approaches accordingly and knows that every segment of customer is important.

Recognise there will be bad PR moments, but plan, prepare & respond

Having had the good fortune to work directly with the Wimbledon press office, I know how incredibly hard they work to prepare.

They know that the joys of our weather may mean an excessive demand on their time to spoon out sunstroke stats to journalists, or that social media is yet another channel for grumpy queuing spectators to vent.

Understanding the potential media-facing pitfalls, and always being ready to confront them, is the attitude of a clever and conscientious brand!

However old your brand, embrace the new and prepare for the future

Wimbledon may have been around a long time, but it is far from complacent or prehistoric.

This year, you’ll see its media team showing speedy activity on social media, continually updating its website, and adjusting its tone of voice with every new issue or opportunity that arises.

Evolve your delivery according to your changing environment and the brand continues to breath healthily.

Position appropriately 

You can’t imagine there’s a brand who wouldn’t want to consider a decent priced sponsorship deal with Wimbledon, given the reach.

However, you won’t see Wimbledon compromise with fast food labelling everywhere.

We’re used to seeing certain refreshing summery drinks aligned with the brand, and that’s highly unlikely to change.

Know where you sit in the marketplace and who you’d want to align with….no matter the potential price.

Be welcoming and warm

Again, from experience, I know the media relations side of the Wimbledon team to be ruthlessly efficient, but equally happy to help.

Having good frontline PR people helps the brand enormously….come rain or shine!

Don’t take it for granted they already know!

You might expect Wimbledon to feel it doesn’t have to work too hard at its marketing campaign because we all know it exists.

True, but no matter how well known any brand gets, strategic endeavours in PR & marketing are always to remain on the radar.

Wimbledon knows this only too well and places ample attention on its communications.

Celebrate and evaluate

When it’s all over and all you want to do is eat strawberries and drink the remaining glasses of Pimms…. That’s when you jolly well need to start picking your delivery to pieces and deciding what’s worked!

Okay, so you need to celebrate any marketing project’s success and rejoice at the brand’s great positioning, but never EVER compromise on evaluation, some self-criticism….and the journey to repeating it all again next time!


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