Lloyds TSB Scotland profile
Sponsorship is seen by many companies as a way of boosting brand awareness while also attracting the general public to a brand through a personal connection between the sponsored association, the brand and the target consumer.
Lloyds TSB spotted the potential of sponsoring a growing brand in the form of Scottish cricket, three years ago, the deal with the sport has recently been extended until December 2007, and sees Lloyds TSB involved right across cricket in Scotland, backing both, the men’s and women’s national sides, youth development and the National Cricket League. Although a lot of the brand’s marketing is done out of Scotland, Lloyds TSB Scotland has a strong relationship with Elaine Howie PR and Family in Edinburgh, who work across a lot of its deals.
Lisa Stephenson, marketing director for Lloyds TSB, explains why the relationship has been beneficial for both the bank and Scottish cricket over the years. “We got involved in cricket at a time when it was just starting to come through in Scotland. It had a very low profile and the team looked as though they were going to do great things but remained the underdogs.
“One of the things that we liked about this was that we felt that this, if we look at it in a business context, was a sport that needed some building. We saw ourselves, if you look at the history of Lloyds TSB in the Scottish marketplace – We were a very small bank more than five years ago, when we were perhaps seen as the fourth bank in Scotland. Over the last five years we’ve increased our market share, we’re now very much seen as the third bank in Scotland and we’re head to head on many deals in the retail, the corporate and the wealth management space.
“Our brand profile has changed significantly in the corporate world. So we saw an affinity between Lloyds and cricket. One of the business benefits has been that we have been able to take cricket through that transition period as our business has changed. We’ve been able to use it to promote strategic campaigns and to promote ourselves. We pride ourselves for being the only bank that focuses solely on the Scottish marketplace. With the changes that we have seen with the two bigger banks in Scotland, they are now more global players, whereas we focus on the Scottish marketplace. We’re then able to use cricket in Scotland to promote our campaigns, to promote our brands, to entertain clients and generally give something back to Scotland and the sport.
“We felt that great things were going to come from the cricket and it needed the support of someone who was prepared to do some leg work and not just throw a load of cash and slap a logo on. We firmly believe in the partnership.”
As part of its Scottish cricket sponsorship, Lloyds TSB backed the inaugural ECC women’s Academy, which saw women between the ages of 17-21 from Scotland, the Netherlands and Ireland, being coached and tested by professional coaches and specialists.
The brand’s commitment to the sport is unquestionable – as are the benefits that Lloyds TSB Scotland have gained – but it is still unclear as to whether Lloyds plans on continuing the relationship with the sport, although Stephenson’s insistence on the importance of succession planning and development allows you to draw your own conclusions.
“We firmly believe that we need to get behind the youth and behind the grass roots side of the game and sport, to look at the succession planning,” she adds. “It’s a bit like running a business, you need to look at where your succession plan is, where you’re looking for it to go and where the short term, medium and longer term plans are. The youth side of the game is very important and it’s nice to see more young people playing the game. The elitist side has been removed. All you need is a bat, a wicket and a ball.
“It’s not an expensive game to play. It’s getting played in more schools and with England winning the Ashes that gave the sport tremendous profile and has made the sport sexy, so more young people are looking at players as icons. It feels inspirational and kids look for role models in sport and there are some really good role models kicking around in cricket.”
However, despite playing a large part in Lloyds’ marketing activity, the sponsorship of Scottish cricket is not the financial company’s only investment in sponsorship.
“We are heavily committed to the performing arts,” says Stephenson. “Over the years we’ve become the National Gallery’s biggest corporate partner, we have been involved with the Book Festival historically, although we pulled out of that last year as we felt we’d run our course after six years.
“A big role for us this year was as a main sponsor for the Edinburgh International Festival. We put together a Lloyds TSB concert because the Festival is such a great tourist attraction; it’s such a great thing for Scotland. However, we felt that some of the concerts were a bit too elitist. We wanted to put together a series of concerts that could have massively wide appeal. We pulled a series of concert together for the Usher Hall, working with Brian McMaster – every ticket cost £10 a head, regardless where you sat, they were an hour long and it made the music accessible. We believe that we have got an accessible brand; more branches across the whole of the UK, more ATMs, and our opening hours are incredibly flexible – we are about accessibility for the consumer and we need to work with properties that portray the values of our brand too, and the Lloyds TSB Scotland concerts were all about accessibility.”
With so much going on in terms of sponsorship, Stephenson explains why she believes these opportunities are ideal to fix Lloyds TSB in the minds of the target audience: “I think it can really work effectively at lots of different levels. Generally with any sponsorship that we will do, we look at the brand piece, because it needs to fit with the values of the brand and with where you are looking to take your brand in a particular market. We also look at it from a purely business perspective. We want to know how we can line it up with a product promotion or to promote a specific part of our business. If you take the Pakistan or the Australian game last year [cricket], we specifically promoted our corporate side of the business alongside with a couple of above-the-line campaigns that we had at that particular time. It’s an opportunity to build a platform around the property, which we did with unique corporate hospitality.
“Our sponsorship activity has delivered great returns on investment,” continues Stephenson. “We tend to look at a return on investment which presents significant growth to the brand and to the product.
“The National Galleries, the partnership we’ve had with them over the years is very strong. We spend a lot of time before we enter into sponsorship evaluating what we want to do with it and looking at how it can fit and then we spend a long time making it work and really getting underneath the skin of it and looking at what the key performance indicators are, making sure we are tracking them. So if we are involved in something and it’s not quite doing it, we take stock, review what our activity plan is and realign our priorities.”
Continuing its relationship with Scottish organisations aimed at a youth market, Lloyds has also struck a deal with Young Scot. “We recently announced that we were Young Scot’s sole, financial partner. Young Scot is the agency that provides advice and guidance to all young people over the age of 11, right the way through to 25. We’re delighted to be their sole financial partner in that we’ll be working with them in developing the financial services offering to young people over the coming year and listening to young people about what they want to take from the banks.
“What we’ve actually done is sign an agreement with them which is a very fluid partnership agreement. We will work with them and evaluate the results and see where we go each step of the way.”
As to how important sponsorship is as an effective means of communication for Lloyds TSB, and delivering the brand message to the target consumer, Stephenson is adamant that it can be of benefit to any company if it chooses to back the correct events or organisations: “It’s important to do your research before hand and have a clear target market for the sponsorship and also be able to activate it from different levels. If you’re looking at something in the youth market, make sure it’s very much on a young person’s agenda. With Young Scot we’ve got radio advertising, press and flyers and stickers going into boutiques that young people will go into, as well as mailings in magazines that they read. It really is about knowing your target market and tailoring accordingly.
“I’m a passionate supporter of sponsorship and I think you have to use it effectively. One of the things you’ve got to be mindful of is what your internal investment is and to be very clear about why you’re doing this sponsorship. It’s not about just signing a check, slapping a logo on and just walking away.
“Marketers need to be incredibly commercial and be a strong business analyst too. It’s all about how you deliver a tangible return at the end of the day. I believe you need to put not just sponsorship money on the table, but you’ve got to put at least 50 percent of your sponsorship fee into activation and probably significantly more to bring the property to life.
“Sponsorship gives you the keys to activate the deal, but you’ve got to be creative to look at how it will work. What sponsorship allows you to do is bring a standard advertising message to life in a different, engaging way that makes consumers stand back and think ‘I quite like that, what’s that all about?’”