Member Insights: “When it comes to sports partnerships, brand awareness is our primary KPI”
By Ben Page | April 28, 2020
Longines last month announced a renewal of their partnership deal with the Commonwealth Games Federation for the next three editions of the games, so iSportconnect spoke to Matthieu Baumgartner, Vice President of Marketing for Longines about how they use sport as a marketing tool.
How key of a role does sport play in your marketing, does it provide the most relevant and effective tool as well as an access point to people?
For many years now, Longines has created a strong and long-lasting relationship with the world of sports. First, by providing its timekeeping expertise to countless sports events around the world. Second, by partnering with international sports federations, including the Commonwealth Games, the Fédération Equestre International, the Fédération Internationale de Ski, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique or the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
With a long history in sports timekeeping, dating back to the late 19th century already, sport is part of our brand’s DNA. Like watches, sport is all about passion and emotions. For Longines, it is a universal communication channel, as it allows the brand to connect with people attending sports events and to reach a worldwide audience through digital and traditional media.
For Longines, when you get involved in sponsoring sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games, is the main objective brand exposure?
For more than a century, Longines has been involved in numerous sports. Today, we are focusing on equestrian disciplines, ski, gymnastics, archery, as well as on the Commonwealth Games. Our brand can rely on a rich history in timekeeping and we are really proud to offer our expertise to the various disciplines we are partnering with. In this regard, we are not only a sponsor but an actual partner of these sports.
We really consider these different sports and competitions as part of our brand’s universe. The Commonwealth Games and their 24 disciplines make no exception, as they share some of our brand’s most important values: Tradition, Elegance and Performance. Longines was originally a partner of the Perth 1962 Commonwealth Games and renewed its partnership for Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018. For the three next Commonwealth Games, starting with Birmingham 2022, we are looking forward to perpetuating this history, together with athletes and sports fans from all over the globe.
What do you look for most when selecting sporting events, teams or athletes to partner with?
The activities we choose to get involved in must reflect our brand’s core values of Tradition, Elegance and Performance. Similarly, our Ambassadors embody Longines’ identity and image around the world. Therefore, it is crucial for us to select them very carefully and to build a strong and lasting collaboration. Among our Ambassadors from the sports universe, we are proud to have the multiple alpine ski world champion Mikaela Shiffrin, the rhythmic gymnastics world champions Arina and Dina Averina, the artistic gymnastics champions Kōhei Uchimura and Giulia Steingruber, the showjumping champion Jane Richard or the dressage’s prodigy Sönke Rothenberger.
From your perspective does social media now play the most key role in today’s market when activating partnerships?
It goes without saying that digital platforms, specifically social media are essential for brands. And with the importance of the fast-moving digital world, we are continuously rethinking our methods of communication. Over the past years, we have been constantly developing our digital communication and our presence on the different social media platforms.
Our Instagram feed (@Longines), for example, is dedicated to the elegance that is dear to the brand, featuring our watches and our sports commitments. Besides Facebook or YouTube, Longines has also two Twitter accounts: @Longines, the main one and @LonginesEq, a platform especially dedicated to our passion for equestrian sports. We are also present on local social media platforms in Asia, for example Weibo, Wechat or Line. All these touch points are crucial to activate our various partnerships in the best way possible.
How do you track the success of partnering with these events, do you have set KPIs and objectives you’re monitoring across platforms such as social media?
When it comes to sports partnerships, brand awareness is our primary KPI. Having said that, even if the branding is strong on physical sites and on the media, we still need to make sure people understand what Longines is about, by creating a link to our products. This association is made directly on the events’ locations, with traditional advertisements and prize giving ceremonies for example, as well as through our different digital platforms.