As the UK anticipates the 136th edition of the globally recognised tennis tournament, we turn our heads towards the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
Wimbledon has been a well established sports event that is deep rooted in UK tradition.
It's an age old event that goes beyond sport - symbolising tradition and excellence. It's also become it's very own brand.
Wimbledon's origin lies with the croquet lawns of the All England Croquet Club. Held in 1877, the tournament thanks it's popularity (and it's name) to the successful beginnings of the sport that took place in the London Borough of Wimbledon.
This popularity snowballed into what is now the biggest tennis tournament in the world.
At it's core, Wimbledon is successful because it feeds a sense of nostalgia to its followers. It's brand identity is strong and memorable because of this.
But how did it get there? Here's how we can keep score of Wimbledon's branding techniques to influence our own businesses.
What key lessons can we learn from Wimbledon's branding and digital marketing?
- Keeping aesthetics consistent throughout the lifetime of the brand
- Using nostalgic content is powerful
- Integrate modern technologies like AI
- Keep a well rounded social presence
- Consider user generated content and interactive medias
- Striking the balance between keeping the brand tradition and exploring new directions
Wimbledon symbolises the regal, prestige and luxury. Some might even argue that it's a luxury brand.
It shouts high-class. Why? Because it always has. It's high-class aesthetics and careful elements are a reflection of it's roots. Whether you're a live audience member, or you're watching on a screen - viewers always expect to see crisp white clothing, pristinely presented courts and well tended grass.
The brand guidelines read:
'Royal patronage, the grass courts, the predominantly white rule for competitors, the ticket ballot, and the daily queue of loyal fans have become key attributes of Wimbledon’s unique character.'
(Wimbledon Merchandising Brand Guidelines).
Every year, Wimbledon's greens, whites and purples are always the same. This consistent palette upkeeps it's heritage and satisfies the expectations of it's loyal followers. It becomes a kind of club in itself.
Even the logo has pretty much remained the same for over 100 years. It seldom changes, with marketers ensuring the purple and green colours and imagery are kept consistent with only a subtle shift in font.
It's likely that this choice to keep things consistent is to appeal to a generation who remember this. Wimbledon attempts to keep things timeless, appealing to a generation who have lived through many Wimbledon's in their lifetime.
Integrating modern technologies
That being said, Wimbledon has integrated a range of modern technologies into it's practises. The sport is filmed using state-of-the-art Hawk Eye cameras, and covered with interactive social media highlights. They're even using AI generated commentary for the 2023 tournament.
This year, Wimbledon team up with IBM to create AI highlights which produce automated captions to fill in the audio blanks, for matches that don't have human commentary.
A strong social presence
Wimbledon's social media strategy follows a similar format for most large scale events. Keeping relevant throughout the year, then going ham with the online presence as the event creeps closer. Then when the event kicks off, creating excitement and sparking conversations with live time posting during the event itself.
Upholding anticipation with reels of reruns, posted to 3.8 million Instagram followers all around the world. Extends the global reach outside of the pristine London courts, all the way to the other side of the world.
Wimbledon keeps heads turning by covering all social media content platforms.
- Wimbledon App
- Twitter: emojis
- Instagram: takeovers, reels, highlights
- Snapchat: Live stories
- YouTube: Live @ Wimbledon TV
- Pinterest: Wimbledon-themed boards
- Google: real-time trends
This well rounded social presence makes it accessible for a wide reach of audiences, on multiple platforms. It's readily available for everyone to take part in online communities.
This social media versatility also makes highlights accessible to viewers who can't access the match internationally, and relays the highlights to re-anchor interest even after the event is over. This creates that element of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) which not only strengthens it's outreach to new audiences, but gains more attraction from new audiences.
Striking the balance between old and new
Wimbledon's 2023 motto, 'Always Like Never Before' strikes the balance between traditional Tennis and 21st Century innovation.
For the old and the young audiences, Wimbledon maintains a universal reach to many different streams of audiences.
Whether you're a tennis fan or not, all businesses can learn a lot from Wimbledon's marketing strategies and marketing execution.
Your business doesn't have to be 100 years old to connect with audiences, and you don't have to make live-time content every single day across every social platform that exists.
But attention to aesthetic keeps your brand loyal to expectation, while exploring new innovative directions keeps your marketing fresh.
Wimbledon's roots anchor the brand. But it's awareness of time and continuous focus on innovation is what keeps it going. It helps reach out to a range of audiences. This technique to extend the brand to an extremely broad outreach is both admirable and tactical. What used to adhere to a very limited audience has grown into variety of personas, young and old.
It is of course, an approach that keeps rolling a conveyor belt of audiences for generations to come - and it's something we can all learn from.