For 12 years, 180 Kingsday banked on just one client, sports equipment giant, Adidas. Then one fine day, in 2010, Adidas left the agency.
Still, the sky did not come falling down upon the agency. Because thanks to its decade long association with Adidas, 180 Kingsday had built up a strong expertise in the business of sports.
The global interest in sports has grown by leaps and bounds says Al Moseley, international president, 180 Kingsday in a talk straight from the heart at Spikes Asia 2017.
He said that the kit sponsorship of Premier League teams has grown from a 75 million pounds in 2010 to nearly 300 million pounds this year.
He said this rapid growth was giving agencies like 180 Kingsday to bring their knowledge to the heart of sports sponsorships. For most brands, sports sponsorships means putting a badge on the sporting brand and that's not the answer, he said. "It's all about relevance and not real estate," stressed Moseley.
Taking an example of how a logistics provider DHL logistics, could not just make a relevant association with sports but also add an incremental revenue of $ 3 billion since 2011, he said that it was about finding meaningful associations and stories. In the case of DHL, the sporting story was that they were the company that was moving formula one around the world. So it was not a sponsorship but partnership. In the case of Manchester United, DHL looked after the logistics of ticket sales. Using its logistics expertise, DHL took football around the world, opening newer avenues for clubs like a Bayern Munich fan shop in China. "It created infratsructure that resulted in a $ 3 billion increase in revenue since 2011. When partnerships relevant they can work," says Moseley.
Another example was Qatar Airways and its association with Barcelona FC, which was a coup because the football club till then had never had a commercial sponsor. It was a task of uncovering deep insights about fans and treading carefully so that it could create a strong brand platform that would align with the club, he says. The airline engaged with the fans so much that it even used social media channel to cast for the commercial.
The icing on the cake was when the Barceona Museum took an exhibit from the commercial and when Qatar could hold a tournament in Africa to help the carrier enter Sub-Saharan Africa.
Qatar Airways would soon become the biggest airline on Facebook, on the same wavelength as the football club's fans.
Giving an example of finding a brand's shared voice, he cited the case of PlayStation which found an opportunity to give its users an opportunity to take part in large footballl tourneys by creating the
world's biggest football club, PS FC.
For all those brand managers who ask the "what's in it for me" question often, Moseley had a diffferent advice. In sports sponsorships, one way to succeed was to give and not take. In the case of Western Union, the brand used the European League to create an engaging platform and promote the cause of education in developing nations.
In another example from apparel maker, Replay, it was about making your own rules. When other coaches are spotted in formal attire during the game, the coach of Barcelona was seen in a green Replay jacket during tthe game. In another case, it got the entire team to sport a denim creation by Replay.
For computer maker HP, it was an experiment with the community of e-sports enthusiasts, when it created the Omen challenge in an e-sport league and got a live broadcast of the event on Twitch, a leading video platform and community for gamers.
In a twist to the story, HP actually put gamers through a torture test while they were playing, thus building even more engagement with the viewers.
Speaking about applying the principles of engaging with communities on a different field, Moseley took the example of match day during the presidential elections, when Boost Mobile got the poorest districts to vote by taking the pooling booth to Boost retail outlets. The principles of building communities in sports was taken to the political field.