Lloyds is harnessing the 2012 Games as a transformational opportunity


Sally Hancock sets out why Lloyds Banking Group became a partner of the 2012 Olympics

Q. What was your brand’s primary reason for being involved with the Games?

A. We became the first National Partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we wanted to provide a great opportunity for staff and their families to be inspired and take part in the Games, and feel pride in Lloyds Banking Group. 64 per cent are now proud we’re a partner, and 60 per cent believe our partnership is having a positive impact on our communities and customers.

Our partnership with London 2012 is a compelling reason for new customers to come and talk to us and for our existing customers to do more with us. We know already that customers aware of our partnership and our community activities, such as National School Sport Week, are more likely to consider us for their banking needs.

We knew that the 2012 Games would be good for business. We have been actively supporting businesses in the run up to London 2012, to ensure they are taking advantage of opportunities open to them. Lloyds has made available £1bn for firms looking to win London 2012 business, and is supporting one in three companies that have won contracts for the 2012 Games.

Our 2012 partnership and our approach to activation sets us apart from all other partners and our competitors. For example, as the exclusive ticket marketing partner, Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland branches were the only location offering official ticket guides to the Games and we are the only national presenting partner to both the Olympic Torch Relay and Paralympic Torch Relay.

Q. How did you structure the case for involvement to the Board?

A. We needed to show that this wasn’t just about a two week elite sports event, but a five year campaign, positioning Lloyds Banking Group at the heart of the community and adding value to our customers and the communities we work in.

Q. What was the hardest question or issue to reconcile in order to get Board approval?

A. Although the economy was in a very different position when we became the first London 2012 Partner in 2007, the board naturally wanted reassurance that the investment was justifiable and demonstrated sufficient return. Even today, the Group has never wavered in its belief that this partnership could be transformational for the organisation and indeed the Games themselves.

We still believe that the business case for the partnership with London 2012 is as strong as ever and we have a robust evaluation process in place to make sure all our activity delivers the expected return on investment.

Q. How have you structured your business to maximise Olympic opportunities?

A. Our partnership with London 2012 has developed and grown during the period since 2007. The agreement was signed prior to Lloyds TSB acquiring Bank of Scotland and becoming Lloyds Banking Group. Driving our partnership forward during a time of rebranding and repositioning has been a challenge, but we’ve been able to use it to help with the integration of the Bank of Scotland brand, enabling us to reach more communities in Scotland.

Q. which are the most crucial commercial opportunities for you and how will you be using these for maximum return?

A. We are measuring our return on investment against different strands, not only the commercial opportunities. Our partnership enables us to build deeper and stronger relationships with our customers, both individuals and businesses.

We also track the impact of our partnership on our brand and our customers’ perceptions of us, because we know this impacts their likelihood to do more business with us in the future. For example, 65 per cent of customers are spontaneously aware that Lloyds is an Olympic Games Partner and this awareness drives 20 per cent of those customers to be more likely to recommend us to other people as a result.

Around 1,000 athletes will have been helped on their journey to sporting success through our Local Heroes programme, and we have played a key role in encouraging increased sports participation in schools across the country through National School Sport Week.

Internally, 2012 helps to build stronger staff engagement. We‘ve provided lots of opportunities for staff to get involved, volunteer, take part in local activity, and next year a small number will benefit from winning tickets as a result of internal recognition programmes.

Sally Hancock is director of marketing and group sponsorship at Lloyds TSB.