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Wimbledon
Jul 17 2019

On the surface, little has changed at Wimbledon since Fred Perry first strolled on to the manicured lawns, but behind the scenes, it’s rebooting its image.

Wimbledon loves playing hard-to-get. No court-side sponsorship and an all-white dress code means the big brands behind Federer and friends keep their logos a subtle three inches square or less. Off the court, sponsorship is limited to those providing essential services – like clocks and computers and, of course, champagne.

So why do sponsors clamour to hand over money for so little in return? The answer is prestige. Wimbledon’s the best of the best and they’ve discovered that less is more. By keeping the ball firmly in its own court, Wimbledon has developed into a brand that, in many ways, needs its sponsors less than its sponsors need it. 

That’s why the list of official sponsors is so impressive: Rolex (time please!), IBM, Lanson, American Express, HSBC, Pimms (surprise, surprise), Jaguar Land Rover (is that backdrop racing green?), Ralph Lauren (check out the designer gear of the court officials, ball girls and boys if you can).

New brand, please!

But despite this, Wimbledon has decided to start serving up a new treat. Don’t worry, the strawberries and cream and the mint-filled Pimms are still on the menu, but the image of the brand itself is changing. Wimbledon is dragging itself slowly but ever so surely into the modern world.

It’s an interesting decision. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” goes the axiom, but in today’s disrupted digital world brands, even those as well-established as Wimbledon, can no longer afford to stand still. When it comes to offering viewers hours of screen-based entertainment, those digital and global streaming companies, for example, produce a very mean service.

Across its communications, Wimbledon has started to create a very different tone of voice. Forget the tones of privilege and exclusivity; think more of a democratic twang of diversity and inclusivity. This has certainly helped to make the tournament feel more modern and appealing to a younger audience. 

The tournament’s graphics – from the venue itself to the all TV activity – are changing and so is the language used on the website, the match-day programmes and the information booklets handed out around the grounds. Evolution rather than revolution, it is part of a bid to shift the way fans perceive the tournament and reach a wider audience.

Wimbledon – blending the old and the new

The major content campaign, #JoinTheStory, launched with a 60-second film, ‘The Story Continues‘, which links Wimbledon headlines to famous news events. We see Amelia Earhart as the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic and Billie Jean King’s role in leading the fight for equality in tennis. 

“The story of Wimbledon began in 1877 and we’ve been making headlines ever since,” says James Ralley, the AELTC’s head of commercial and brand. “While our greatest moments have shared the front page with two world wars, the moon landings and the invention of the Internet, each tournament creates new heroes and new stories.”

The choice of subject, however, also helps to establish the brand’s modern point of view. Female heroes are to be celebrated. Women’s rights are to be promoted. It’s relevant and inclusive. Wimbledon, the new message goes, is not a minority sport played by millionaires in front of millionaires in an affluent south-west London suburb. It is a vital and living part of our social fabric. 

Wimbledon – a social event

The fusty old tennis tournament is even trying to get social media buzzing. A documentary podcast mini-series under the #JointheStory banner looks at some of the more colourful moments it has witnessed. Who can forget the Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe rivalry in the early 1980s and the super-brat’s antics? “You cannot be serious!” A second assesses Andy Murray’s outspoken comments in 2016, the year of the EU Referendum. 

It wants to set social media buzzing. Whoever thought Wimbledon would court controversy? “We realized we didn’t want to get 10 years down the line and people don’t watch TV anymore and therefore nobody is interacting or watching Wimbledon,” Alexandra Willis, the AELTC’s head of communications, content and digital, told Marketing Week

“We have to bring in the younger demographic now. Originally the way we wrote was very formal – almost like being a schoolmaster [talking to] school children. Wimbledon is not this ivory tower, exclusive only for the privileged event, it has something for everyone.”At Paragon we also enjoy the challenge of telling corporate stories in a fresh and compelling way. If you would like to talk to us about updating or refreshing your content strategy, we would love to help you. Why not contact our team?

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When it comes to content, size matters

May 1 2019

In today’s digital world, small is beautiful. Information is delivered in nuggets and bullets, listicles and soundbites, and tweets and snaps. Notifications buzz on our devices and divert us long enough to click and perhaps even like. But what if that moment of communication is just that… a superficial moment? Can bite-size content really do the job if we want to deliver authoritative and nuanced information? Read more…

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The “Final Four” Tips for Business PR

Apr 8 2019

Whether you’re a lifelong college basketball fan or just looking to test your luck with some friendly office competition, March Madness is an exciting change-up to your daily routine. We’ve seen some unexpected upsets this year heading into the ‘Final Four,’ and I can’t help but think about how each team’s journey to reach this point reflects startups rise to the top within their industries.

While we’re in the spirit of the game, here’s a look at how PR can help businesses go from an unknown to a thriving team to reckon with in the media. Read more…

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A blast from the past: Nostalgia marketing is taking us back to the future

Jan 30 2019

My wife is not a fan of washing up, but for a few short weeks, she simply couldn’t resist standing at the kitchen sink, pulling on the Marigolds and plunging her hands into the hot bubbly water. Then, Procter & Gamble stopped producing its limited edition “vintage” bottle of Fairy Liquid – a white cylinder with green and red branding – and sadly, normal service resumed.

On the local high street, a new supermarket opened for business. With a new but very old logo. Intriguingly, after a root and review of its branding, the Co-operative Group has returned to the logo that adorned its stores half a century ago. Graphically, it’s fantastic – a blend of funky typography and minimalism – but it also elicits an emotional response. I almost felt like a boy again, off to buy some R White’s lemonade and a bag of Golden Wonder salt ‘n’ vinegar crisps.

Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool. It can encourage us all to remember our rose-tinted pasts and to bathe in the warm glow of the good old days when the world was simpler and the sun always shone. It creates an emotional connection between brand and consumer. And it’s beguilingly effective. A simple change in a product’s packaging can turn a daily chore like washing up – into a moment of pleasure. It can make supermarket shopping feel like a trip down memory lane. Read more…

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Brand activism – is it the future?

Nov 27 2018

How political should a company or brand be in today’s post-truth world? After backing American footballer Colin Kaepernick, who famously knelt during the national anthem before a game as a protest against racial injustice, Nike has no doubt. “Believe in something,” demands the latest version of its long-running ‘Just Do It’ campaign. “Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Read more…

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The Ryder Cup – a sporting and marketing phenomenon

Sep 27 2018

(Image: GETTY)

The four annual golf majors are fantastic sporting occasions but the Ryder Cup, which takes place at Le Golf National in France this weekend, is bigger and better, attracting millions of golf fans, sports fans and even non-fans. The three-day event dominates the headlines – both news and sports – and sends social media into a frenzy of sharing. For a competition that was once only supported by a few die-hards, it is a remarkable renaissance. What lessons can we learn from the success of this iconic contest?

Read more…

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Specialist PR firms make more sense

Sep 20 2018

If you’re thinking about hiring a public relations agency, choose carefully. Hiring a global firm with thousands of employees can be enticing, but know what you’ll be paying for. With a specialist PR agency, your money primarily goes towards the talent that supports you; not on a legacy operating model.

Specialist PR firms are ideally suited to this modern world of communications. Here are a few reasons why.

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Quirky Football Unveilings – Evolving use of Social Media

Aug 23 2018

With the memories of the World Cup still fresh in our minds, the football (soccer) season is back underway with most top-tier European leagues having already played their first week of matches.

Lots of transfer business occurs every summer and winter, with football clubs – particularly in Europe – spending vast amounts on new players. Since last summer’s transfer window (the window opening in May and closing in August, whereby clubs have the chance to sell and purchase players ahead of the new season) following the world record £200 million ($263m) sale of Brazilian star Neymar from F.C Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), the market has skyrocketed and players are now routinely going for sums that several years ago would be close to record-breaking. Read more…

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Be heard – opinions matter

Aug 20 2018

Corporate communications can be risk-averse and consequently unchallenging, but the objective should often be the opposite – to engage your audience by being thought-provoking and inspirational. Risky, even. By injecting your writing with honest views, spiced with character – and a well-pitched level of controversy – you can engage your readers at a much more fundamental level.

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A Perfect Pitch: Music to My Ears

Jul 30 2018

Everyone has that one song they can’t skip. The type of track that you can play on repeat and never get sick of listening to. As a hip-hop enthusiast, I have quite a few, but each one has something timeless that keeps me invested. Pitching clients to reporters is a bit like writing a song. Think about the four components of a hip-hop song: an intro, a hook, verses, and a beat.

Here’s how the basic structure of a song can make for a perfect pitch:

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