IT’S not everyday that you get to transform Hampden Park (Scotland’s National Stadium) into a branded haze of Orange & Black.
As a marketer, the decision to sponsor massive sporting events like the Scottish League Cup is a no-brainer.
The exposure is massive, the press potential is huge and there’s no bigger sport that can achieve a mass-market presence in Scotland than football.
When I arrived at the doors of QTS, I was tasked with creating a marketing strategy that directly appealed to our target market.
As one of the UKs leading rail-engineering contractors, the sporting industry immediately jumped out as the ideal area to target.
In a snapshot, QTS seeks to support the wider UK sporting industry by creating strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial for both parties.
We create partnerships!
The local community is extremely important to QTS, and our strategic partnership with the Scottish Premiership football club, Kilmarnock, has seen us support some local heroes.
As the club’s main sponsor we are heavily involved in the success of the club and team.
We turn up to the games, becoming loyal supporters. You want to see the best in your team because the partnership works better for us both if we can work together well.
You need to become part of the team, and work together to mutually promote each other’s brand messages.
As an UK-wide company, we also have a very strong partnership with Derby County FC, one of the top teams in the English Championship. They also just happen to be situated very closely to our southern HQ.
At the heart of every community is the local football team.
Whether they play in a local, regional cup or a junior ranking league, these teams really matter to their local communities. We have found that providing these teams with something as simple as some new, branded kit can make the world of difference.
We may not be hitting TV or national press, but the locals remember you helped.
We have a fine mix of sports sponsorship, all unique and all with a positivity that in many cases will reach a lot further than just TV audiences.
You invest in local communities, which adds value to your brand.
As a very honest and hard-working company, we like to show that these values are instilled throughout every area of our operations and sponsorship activity.
Our Emerging Sporting Stars campaign sees us support young, emerging athletes in many different sporting disciplines.
These include athletes in rallying, skiing, snowboarding, tennis, golf, cycling and football.
Our approaches to supporting the UK sporting industry has allowed us to strengthen our brand and actively give something back to the local and wider community.
Not without saying that we have identified real talent that can ‘make it’ with our support.
This investment in them is calculated and measured.
The reason we decided to support these articles was simple.
We want to get businesses talking about investing in sport and we want to see sports organisations open the door to these businesses, and ensure that both parties work together for the greater good of each partner, the athletes and fans alike.
We have a very direct marketing strategy that clearly identifies sporting disciplines and athletes we would endeavor to help with investment.
Our emerging sport stars program is an example where we target one athlete that shows great promise in their chosen discipline with the ultimate goal that with our help, they could go on to become one of the best in their chosen sport.
By supporting one athlete in each discipline, this allows us to cover a vast array of sporting disciplines. Dedicating our full attention solely to them in their chosen specialty.
We hope that these articles will inspire other businesses to join us and support the athletes and sporting organisations throughout the UK.
I can safely say that not a week goes by where numerous sponsorship opportunities don’t present themselves to me.
It’s heartbreaking to say that, commercially, we just can’t support every single one.
At QTS we do our part, and we stick by our partners.
I’ve spoken to many businesses that assume sponsoring a sporting event or athlete is easy work. You give them money, put your feet up, sit back and reap the benefits of mass media exposure. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
If you want sports sponsorship to work for your brand, then you need to be willing to invest time, effort and some cold hard cash to ensure that you get the best out of any partnership.
You must remember that you can never forget the fans! They can be your closest allies and worst enemies in the sports industry. Listen to them, engage with them and never ignore them. At the end of the day, fans will play a massive part in the success or failure of any sporting activity.
You want everyone to associate a successful sporting event with a successful brand.
Any investment from businesses should always help you create a memorable experience.
Each Know How article targets a different sports marketing conundrum.
Read them, enjoy them and learn from them.
It goes with out saying that we owe thanks to the fantastic industry experts (Matt Gaudry, Brian Facer, Kenny Kemp, Mark Woods, Ardi Kolah, Catherine Hawkins, Michele Dite and Martin Reynolds) who contributed some really insightful pieces that provided food for thought.
We also owe thanks to Mike Wilson at allmediascotland.com and Gordon Ritchie for their pivotal help putting everything together.
We hope this inspired you to consider just how effectively you manage your sponsorship potential.
Don’t be afraid to approach businesses. Make sure you present a partnership opportunity that clearly identifies benefits for both parties.
The comic book geek within has to finish by saying that most super heroes have super-sonic hearing; sadly, that doesn’t exist! Always be open to asking for help. You never know what business heroes may come to your rescue.
We at QTS are passionate about business and passionate about sport.
The common aim is ‘to be the best”. Athletes and teams have to train and work hard to achieve their goals.
We hope our business can help make that a little easier.
Gregg McEwan is marketing manager at QTS Group.