What brand experience lessons can the Wimbledon Championships serve to small businesses?

In the tennis world, the Wimbledon Championships is widely acknowledged as being the most prestigious event in its field.  With ‘favourite tournament’ plaudits from players such as Roger Federer and Martina Navratilova and hundreds of millions tuning in to watch each June, it’s a stand-out global sports event.

But how did the Wimbledon brand acquire this special place in the hearts and minds of players and fans?  And what lessons can Wimbledon teach us when it comes to building our own small business brand experience?

Play To Your Advantage

When compared to the other Grand Slam tournaments such as the US, French and Australian Opens, Wimbledon has carved out a unique position for itself.  For example, it’s the only tournament that is still played on grass at this level.  Around the courts edge, you’ll notice a visible absence of sponsor advertising.  Its royal patronage and strict adherence to a ‘whites only’ player dress code also combine to create a event brand position that is distinctive and that has an added sense of class.  By keeping allegiance to its 140-year heritage and not falling for modern practices at every point, it’s held on to a sense of authenticity that players and spectators love.  The lesson here for small businesses is to hold true to your points of difference and values if you want to develop a strong and memorable brand experience.


Adapt Your Game

In 2007, Wimbledon realized they needed to keep up with the times and decided to equalize the prize money awarded to men and women in the singles tournaments.  In 2015 and again this year, the tournament has also had a start date change to give players more time to recover from the French Open. Sometimes holding on to tradition will cause disgruntlement in the marketplace so it’s important to update and move with the times when the market demands.

Ace Your Stakeholder Experience

Back in 1993, Wimbledon took a long-term view about improving the quality of the event for spectators, players, officials and their local neighbours.  This plan was rolled out over three stages and has included building new courts, player facilities and club staff housing and taking care to build new courts and throughways that do not inconvenience the locals.  From a sustainable resource management perspective, 95% of Wimbledon waste is now diverted from landfill and 95% of all water used at Wimbledon is recycled.

Pro-active businesses such as Wimbledon realise that long term planning is key if you want to create an unsurpassed customer experience.  They also understand that a triple bottom line approach (profit, people and planet) that meets the needs of all their business stakeholders is the best way to stay at the top of your game.

If you’d like to develop a strategy to improve your brand’s customer experience then please get in touch with Susanne Currid for a free exploratory chat.

This article was first published by Susanne Currid on www.lgba.co.uk in June 2017.