FEATURE31 July 2012

The names of the Games

EDF Energy, Lloyds TSB, BT, Cisco and Heineken have spent a lot of money sponsoring the Olympics. Joe Fernandez finds out how they are using research to get the best return on their investment.


EDF Energy

EDF is the official electricity supplier. Insight into both its customers and it employees underpins its entire sponsorship strategy, says head of brand Cameron Hughes.

Since EDF became a sponsor of London 2012 a lot of work has gone into understanding consumers’ expectations. Consumer insight shaped the initial strategy, which fed into the creative development of our communications.

Various iterations of pre-testing helped us to refine the creative used in our activation campaigns. Ongoing tracking allows us to measure the impact of our campaigns on our target audiences, enabling us to adapt our activity to ensure the best results possible.

Sponsoring the Olympics is a unique opportunity for EDF, not only from a brand perspective but also in terms of consumer insight. We have been able to gain in-depth understanding of consumers’ knowledge of events sponsorship, their expectations of sponsors generally, and more specifically of an energy company that will power such a prestigious international event.

We have an extensive research programme in place which is designed to maximise our understanding of the impact our association with the Games has on the perception of our brand and any potential issues or opportunities so that we can adapt our communications accordingly.

We are also setting up a specific research programme to run during the Games itself, which will involve a variety of methodologies, including field polling, mobile research, online surveys and ethnographic interviews.

Lloyds TSB

Lloyds TSB is the official banking and insurance partner. It has invested significantly in research to measure the effect of its sponsorship on its business, says a spokesman.

Lloyds Banking Group gathers customer insight across existing research channels, specific campaign-focused research and through broader national studies to review the impact of the London 2012 partnership against our original objectives. We adopt different research approaches for each of our audiences, based on the relationship we have with them and their proximity to our London 2012 activation campaigns.

The core ongoing research tracker we’ve used for our customers is from Hall & Partners. This monthly tracker enables us to determine awareness of different elements of our partnership programme, in isolation and against other brands in the market. We can assess customers’ attitudes towards the overall partnership and individual programmes and also the extent to which our audience understands our reasoning.

It has given us a steer on what is most important to our customers and enabled us to adjust our focus accordingly. Cross-referenced over time and against what our customers like or don’t like and how they feel towards the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are able to prioritise the communications around different aspects of the partnership accordingly.

We test our communications through focus groups to determine the most appropriate language, messaging and visual representations to ensure that we communicate effectively to the target audience.

Not all of the research we do is in-depth qualitative analysis and we quantify success differently across each of our core programmes in order to give us a clear benchmark of our achievement.

Click here for an extended interview with Lloyds TSB


BT is the official communications services partner. It has paid particular attention to gathering insights on employee engagement, a spokesman explains.

When we became a partner, the first audience we focused on was BT’s own people. We wanted them to understand why we are doing this and to be proud from the very first months. That early engagement has paid off.

We’ve run many different internal engagement programmes based on London 2012, including the use of tickets as incentives for accelerating delivery of key business targets. We’ve also offered employees the opportunity to buy hard-to-find Olympic and Paralympic tickets at face value from our allocation through a series
of internal ballots.

We ran a very successful programme in which employees could nominate their most inspiring colleagues to find BT’s 70 Olympic Torchbearers, attracting almost 2,000 participants. We’ve also produced a series of films, booklets and resources based on our London 2012 partnership.

Through employee surveys we’re closely measuring how pride and engagement are improving as a direct result of our London 2012 partnership. These metrics have been showing a steady and sustained rise across the period, and we expect this to continue during the Games and beyond.


Cisco is the official network infrastructure provider. It is using insight to shape its Games messaging and legacy, says Ian Symes, marketing director for Cisco UK and Ireland.

We continuously gather data on our audiences, including forums such as our global customer advisory board, which is made up of senior representatives from some of our largest global customers and meets twice a year, our global CIO conference programme and ongoing customer interactions.

We also tested our messaging for London 2012 advertising through focus groups and used the results to refine our messaging and experiences for Cisco House [the company’s business showcase in the Olympic Park]. These and in-depth one-to-ones are the most revealing with a B2B audience, where we focus on CXO, business and technical decision-makers.

It hasn’t only helped us understand the prioritisation of our messaging among different audiences to demonstrate our relevance. Insight has also ensured we don’t forget about the fun of our association with London 2012.

We will be using quantitative research on our advertising, London 2012 data on awareness of our sponsorship, surveys for customers visiting Cisco House and those visiting our on-park marketing activation as one of LOCOG’s Sustainability Partners.

We are focused on our business legacy from London 2012 which we see as the starting gun, not the finish, including the Out of the Blocks STEM programme we are running with secondary schools throughout the UK, the 30 new Cisco Network Academies we will set up in East London, the National Virtual Incubator we are setting up to bring R&D, entrepreneurs and investors together and the five-year BIG Awards programme to stimulate technology start-ups in the UK.


Heineken is the official lager supplier. It is using research to ensure it champions responsible drinking during the Games, says Cyril Charzat, senior director of the global Heineken brand.

There is no bigger or more spectacular event than the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. We selected this opportunity as it reflects Heineken’s global brand position. It also provides a wonderful platform for the promotion of responsible drinking.

We have an extensive research programme in place designed to maximise our understanding of the impact our association with the Games has on the perception of our brand among various target audiences.

Already our adverts have shown a switch from talking about Heineken to talking about the drinker so we could engage with our target audience emotionally. We wanted to be much more innovative, and this has come together as a very clear vision. We will use strong insight during London 2012 to ensure this continues.

Our market research providers will undertake a number of different fieldwork approaches to ensure that we are providing the right messages to visitors and that any marcomms activity supporting this also presents the right image across all media platforms. Ongoing tracking will allow us to measure the impact of our campaigns on our target audiences, and enable us to adapt our activity to ensure the best results possible.