Changes in De Vere Group’s sponsorship strategy

By: December 20, 2012

Recently I heard that Katherine Grainger (she was selected as one of the 5 athlete ambassadors for promoting the key messages of Team GB – the 2012 Olympic Team; 6 times world champion) and Gavin Hastings are partnering with De Vere Group (UK’s leading luxury golf resort chain). Let me put it in different way, they are the new faces of the De Vere Group.

De Vere ambassadors Katherine Grainger and Gavin Hastings

Sponsorship is about strategy and the objectives you have for the brand. It’s got to align with your target audience. It is also about positioning your brand. Sponsorship can also be a higly targeted means of communicating with groups of consumers that other media might find difficult to reach, in order to reinforce brand values and messages. This is the theory part. Now let's get to details:

What does this sponsorship tells to us? It seems to me De Vere Group would like to attract successful, well off people in the age group of 35+ who are more likely to afford to pay high green fees and golf course membership fees. By selecting two illustrious athletes to be their brand ambassador they would like to convey that their golf courses are as good as Katherine Graining and Gavin Hastings in sport. Here I would like to note that in traditional markets (e.g. UK) customers are expecting from luxury marketers (also golf course operators and owners) the followings:

  • Quality,
  • Innovation,
  • Service,
  • CRM,
  • Exclusivity,
  • Shopping Experience,
  • Direct interaction.

I've got 2 remarks regarding De Vere Group's brand ambassador selection.

Albeit Katherine has outstanding personal traits that can help many brands (e.g. Gatorade, Adidas etc.), however I do not see connection between she and golf courses of the De Vere Group. Gavin Hastings is much better choice since his a keen golfer with 5-handicap. I do not whether they selected two Scottish athletes intentionally or accidentally.

I think these two sportsmen can only help to convey quality. Quality should be taken for granted in case of a luxury golf resort. The other expectations will be harder to demonstrate to us by these sportsmen since they are so personal.