DHL Activates Leicester City Sponsorship Via SME B2B ‘Win Global Exposure’ Competition

DHL Leciester City FC 1DHL Leciester City FC 2DHL Leciester City FC 3DHL Leciester City FC 4

DHL took an inventive approach to its Leicester City Football Club sponsorship when, instead of directly using its rights for its own purposes it created a B2B campaign based around a competition for small and media sized enterprises to win those rights for themselves.

 

The two-year B2B campaign, developed in harness with Brand Brewery and Something Big, ran between August and December 2017.

 

The campaign is reported to have cost as little as around £60,000 and the rights themselves cost around £500,000.

 

Thus the DHL UK ‘Win Global Exposure with DHL and Leicester City’, saw the global logistics giant use LCFC as a platform to tell a story of global ambition and rapid expansion.

 

UK SMEs were offered the opportunity to ‘loan’ DHL’s sponsorship assets at Leicester City, giving these brands the chance to reach the Premier League’s enormous global audience.

 

DHL wanted to find ecommerce businesses with global potential and then use its logistics expertise, ecommerce experience and advertising assets to help promote them to ‘the Premier League’.

 

See the full campaign case study video here.

 

With ‘Win Global Exposure with DHL and Leicester City’, DHL sought to use LCFC as a platform to tell a story of global ambition and rapid expansion.

 

As everyone knows, Leicester City have experienced a meteoric rise to prominence in recent years. In 2014 they were playing in English football’s second tier.

 

In May 2016 they won the Premier League, defying 3000-1 odds. By 2017 the club was facing European giants in the UEFA Champions League!

 

As DHL is all about encouraging global ambition, we see Leicester City as a source of inspiration for our business customers.

 

The rise of international ecommerce has allowed businesses from ‘local’ to ‘global’ almost overnight.

 

Many of DHL’s biggest shippers in 2017 didn’t even exist in 2007!

 

Our customer Gymshark, founded in 2012, is a great example of this. In July 2015, the brand partnered with DHL to offer express delivery for the very first time. Within a year their average monthly orders had grown from 17,000 to 30,000.

 

In 2017 Gymshark.com sold more products in one week (20-27 November) than they had in the whole of 2015!

 

The business objectives were to:

• To engage British internet retailers by offering a unique opportunity to reach consumers around the world
• To communicate DHL’s key message: we can support companies of all sizes to take their products overseas and consider new export destinations.
• To produce tangible business benefits for the 3 winners
• To produce tangible business benefits for for DHL Express UK.

 

In other words, we wanted to find ecommerce businesses with the potential to be ‘the new Gymshark’, develop relationships with their key people and use our assets to promote them to ‘the Premier League’.

 

UK SMEs were offered the opportunity to ‘loan’ DHL’s sponsorship assets at Leicester City, giving these brands the chance to reach the Premier League’s enormous global audience.

 

An extensive prize package was headlined by pitchside LED advertising at King Power Stadium.

 

LCFC star Christian Fuchs and former club icon and England striker Emile Heskey were chosen to front the campaign.

 

A popular and charismatic player, Christian is also an authentic voice in the ecommerce world.

 

Indeed, he operates NoFuchsGiven.com, an online fashion business. His profile and background generated news stories in target titles such as Internet Retailing and the Leicester Mercury.

 

 

The prize period covered 4 Premier League matches taking place across November and December 2017.

 

This timing was deliberately chosen to coincide with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping – tapping into natural peaks in online shopping.

 

DHL received strong applications from all sorts of online stores – from decorating supplies to water sports equipment.

 

Ultimately the panel of judges selected 3 winners from the British fashion industry; a sector we know has great cache internationally:

1. www.artifactsapparel.co.uk is an online retailer offering premium menswear of selected brands at accessible prices.

2. www.shuperb.com is an award winning Leicester-based retailer which offers the best choice of comfort and fashion footwear.

3. www.versaforma.com offers ‘Technical Sportswear, designed for an Active Lifestyle’

 

Once the winners had been selected, DHL and our design agency Brand Brewery worked with each of the brands to design LED pitchside adverts, video content for the King Power Stadium big screen and a match programme advert.

 

The advertising assets were displayed at LCFC’s fixtures against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

 

 

The first two matches were broadcast internationally on channels such as NBC (US), SuperSports (Sub-Saharan Africa) and Star Sports (Asia).

 

The Crystal Palace game was shown live on Sky Sports in the UK.

 

Artifacts, Shuperb and Versa Forma brands were all featured on BBC’s Match of the Day highlights during the month, allowing them to reach an audience of approximately 7 million.

 

Alongside the matchday advertising DHL and LCFC worked with the businesses to tell their story online.

 

 

All 3 companies offered LCFC supporters exclusive discounts, promoted to the club’s digital audiences through email, Facebook and Twitter.

 

The video telling Shuperb’s story achieved particularly strong engagement online.

 

The DHL marketing team captured the moment they emerged from the players’ tunnel at the King Power to see their brand all around the stadium.

 

Along with the strong links to the area, it’s easy to see why this piece of content achieved a reach of hundreds of thousands on Facebook, exceeding all previous benchmarks for DHL/LCFC social content.

 

To engage British internet retailers by offering a unique opportunity to reach consumers around the world

 

The campaign received great engagement, generating hundreds of entries from both prospects and existing DHL account holders. Many applicants couldn’t believe we were offering such a ‘money can’t buy’ opportunity!

 

To communicate DHL’s key message: we can support companies of all sizes to take their products overseas and consider new export destinations.

 

The glamour provided by Premier League football allowed us to communicate our message to a huge audience, and to bring that message to life in an interesting and eye-catching way.

 

While the brands are B2C focused, DHL was of course keen to tell this story on B2B platforms such as LinkedIn.

 

Following the first match Shuperb’s Director of Ecommerce Safraz Ibrahim published an unprompted post on LinkedIn. His father had started the business with a single store in Leicester, and now it was being seen around the world.

 

The emotional, personal message he wrote communicates DHL’s message more authentically than any marketing material we could produce!

 

Comment:

 

In terms of results, all three winning businesses benefited from their global exposure.

 

“As Artifacts is a relatively young company much of my focus is on opening new relationships with fashion brands we’d like to stock. The exposure we received thanks to DHL has really helped me with this. It’s an amazing conversation starter and has given the business instant credibility.,” said Dave Patel, Director of Central Trading Limited t/a Artifacts Apparel

 

“Christmas 2017 was Shuperb’s strongest period of online sales ever, with shipments during the prize period up 150% against the previous month. We worked with DHL to ship our products to destinations across Western Europe, the United States and Australia. It’s no co-incidence that those regions have strong Premier League followings too! ” commented Safraz Ibrahim, Director of WBYS Limited t/a Shuperb

 

“Versa Forma received unreal brand exposure thanks to Wilfried Zaha scoring exactly as we were being advertised! On a more transactional level, the promotional email sent on Black Friday was extremely impactful. Sales were up 30% compared to an average day and purchases from Australia, Germany and Gibraltar tracked directly from the campaign,” explained Nathan Miles, Director of Versa Movement Ltd
From a DHL perspective the campaign produced great benefits also.

 

At its most basic, many (but not all) of the companies shipments were carried by DHL Express, and therefore generated additional revenue. DHL’s relationships with those customers were greatly strengthened through working so closely together and offering a service no competitor could match.

 

Internally the campaign was well received, right up to Board level.

 

Shannon Diett, DHL’s Vice President of Marketing said: “The success of ‘Win Global Exposure’ was down to a genuine collaboration of Marketing, Sales and Ecommerce. The business focus of this campaign also demonstrated the true potential of DHL’s sponsorships to our senior decision makers, offering returns far beyond brand exposure and supporter engagement.

 

The campaign concept has attracted interest within the DHL global network, too. Marketing and Ecommerce colleagues from Hong Kong, Israel and Ireland have travelled to London to find out how they could apply similar campaigns to their domestic partnerships in rugby, basketball and fashion.”

 

In future seasons a potential area for development would be opening applications to ecommerce businesses around the world.

 

This could begin with English speaking markets with large Premier League fanbases such as the US, South Africa and Australia.

 

More ambitiously, the team could seek to engage with companies in Thailand and Japan – mature ecommerce markets with strong links to Leicester City.

 

Links:

 

DHL UK

https://www.logistics.dhl/gb-en/home.html

https://parcel.dhl.co.uk

https://dhlguide.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/dhlexpressuk

https://www.facebook.com/dhl/

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhl

 

Leicester City FC

https://www.lcfc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lcfc

https://twitter.com/lcfc

https://www.youtube.com/user/LCFCOfficial

https://www.instagram.com/lcfc

 

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