Tottenham Hotspur might have lost in their first-ever Uefa Champions League final in Madrid to Liverpool FC in May 2019, but for its global principal partner, Hong Kong-based insurer AIA, which has its logo splashed across Spurs’ kit, it represents a win in earned media value with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the final worldwide.
The London-based club has also posted stellar results in the English Premier League for the past few seasons, consistently finishing in the top five and as high as second place in the 2016–17 season.
For AIA, which began sponsoring the club in 2013, Spurs’ performances meant that it is a ‘natural choice’ to support the club, says Ho Lee Yen, the chief customer and marketing officer at AIA in Singapore.
“As we are committed to enabling people to live healthier, longer and better lives, supporting the club in the capacity of a global principal partner is a natural choice for us, as Tottenham Hotspur is one of the top-ranked teams in the English Premier League with millions of fans in Asia,” Ho explains to The Drum.
“Our shared values of empowering the lives of the communities we’re engaged in makes our sponsorship with Spurs even more meaningful.”
Keeping in touch with its Asian roots, AIA recently worked together with Spurs, as well as own legendary Singapore footballer Nazri Nasir, in Singapore to launch “AIA Mission: Spurs – Celebrating Courage Over Adversity”, a campaign to inspire Singaporeans to overcome adversity and take charge of their health and future.
As part of the campaign, AIA also launched a social media contest to search for passionate Spurs fans in Singapore who overcame life’s challenges and have since adopted a healthy and active lifestyle.
Going a step further, AIA became the title sponsor of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) at the start of 2019, signing a two-year deal that will see its logo splashed across the back of the jerseys of all nine clubs in the SPL.
While the SPL has gone through troubled times in recent years and only recently rebranded, diminishing interest in the league continue as crowd attendance has not improved significantly.
Despite the high risks of its investment, Ho says it is important for AIA to be supporting teams and initiatives on a local level, on top of its global sponsorship of Spurs.
“Singaporeans love football. This partnership provides us with opportunities to connect with Singaporeans on a more relatable level so we can encourage them to stay active and healthy, and advocate the importance of being financially prepared against unfortunate and unpredictable events,” she explains.
“We also hope to inspire more young talents with a passion for sports and build a legacy for Singapore football through these partnerships and initiatives. More importantly, we want to encourage more people – young or old – to get active and live healthier, longer, better lives.”
For example, together with Spurs Global Development Coaches, the Football Association of Singapore will be supporting the insurer’s upcoming AIA Football Kids Camp with youth coaches onsite during the two-day camp, where more than 200 children will be trained on football skills, tactics, teamwork, among others.
“There will be more collaboration to look forward to in the coming months, as AIA Singapore and FAS work together to inspire our community, customers and their families to live healthier, longer, better lives,” adds Ho.
AIA has also become the first-ever presenting sponsor of the upcoming International Champions Cup in July, where Spurs, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Juventus will play each other at the Singapore National Stadium.
Off the pitch, AIA has also introduced health and lifestyle initiatives like the AIA Vitality Weekly Challenge, AIA Family Fest, Fitness Fest by AIA, and AIA Glow Festival.
According to Ho, these health and wellness initiatives, including football, have contributed to a shift in consumer perception, one that places a greater priority on preventive care and making real positive changes to health. This trend drives the demand for financial services that can help consumers achieve their health goals, she explains.
AIA is also keen to demonstrate that it places its customers at the heart of everything it does with these initiatives, going beyond the traditional insurance model by journeying with its customers through their health and wellness goals from the start, as well as meeting their health and financial needs.
“Active participation in sports plays a vital role in promoting a healthy lifestyle, making it a natural choice for us to invest in fitness and football initiatives,” explains Ho.
“More than a game, our shared love for sports is an incredibly powerful platform that connects people from all walks of life, and conveys the positive values of teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship to positively impact people’s lives.”
She continues: “The success of the health and wellness-centric events we’ve spearheaded in Singapore has been incredibly encouraging, allowing us to keep making investments in these initiatives, which are aligned with our commitment of making a positive impact on the lives of our customers to enable them to live healthier, longer, better lives.”
At the end of the day, Ho says consistently delivering upon a clear brand promise is essential to creating a successful and memorable brand. That is because customers would prefer to associate with brands that they can relate to in terms of their shared purpose and values, as well as a brand they can trust.
For AIA, she explains the insurer's brand promise makes a positive difference by enabling its customers to live healthier, longer, better lives.
“Having served millions of individuals and generations of families for the past century, we understand how best to support them in ensuring good health and financial security for every stage in life. To be a true-life partner, we needed to do more than just providing payouts when tragedy strikes,” she explains.
“To illustrate, our comprehensive healthcare proposition places a strong emphasis on encouraging healthier lifestyles and preventive care as well as journeying with them through a serious illness. It is in our best interest to be there for our customers to make real positive changes to their health, beyond just providing payouts in tough times.”
“Supporting health and wellness initiatives is a key platform to continuously engage with our customers, and to be there for them on their health journey, every step of the way.”
With 2019 marking AIA’s 100 years in Asia, the insurer is walking the talk of staying active and healthy in its golden years with its sports, health and lifestyle initiatives.