Brand identity and Brexit to re-shape sponsorship portfolio

The world’s largest travel company, with annual revenues of £16bn, will be looking to strengthen its relationship with customers following the successful rebrand which brought Thomson under the TUI name in 2017. The changes were announced just 5 months after the appointment of CMO Katie McAlister, who replaced TUI’s Marketing & Customer Experience Director Jeremy Ellis following his 27-year tenure at the business.

TUI’s most recent brand TV campaign moved away from messaging concerned with “landing the TUI name”. It instead aims to “deepen the emotional connection” between brand and consumer by depicting the relationship between a mother and daughter – which is strengthened when they go on holiday together. 98% of the brand’s target ABC1 adult demographic saw the ad when it launched in the prime-time Saturday night spot during X Factor in October.

Portfolio review? With emotional connection front of mind, we’re anticipating a portfolio review as the brand seeks properties to bring its new positioning to life. Last year, it signed on for a channel-wide sponsorship of Sky One, a deal brokered by MediaCom and Sky Media, which will run until October 2018. While it’s currently unknown if the deal has been renewed for another year, we do know that any future partnerships will look to incorporate its new branding and digital positioning, as well as the brand’s key growth demographic of families and younger audiences.

Making headlines: The looming uncertainties of Brexit are likely to have a major influence on comms strategy for the year, with educational content on how leaving the EU will impact holiday-makers essential. Press visibility is key for TUI, with spend on press increasing 440% on 2017 in just the first 9 months of 2018 – this is likely to be followed by increased sponsorship spend. Partnerships that can provide a platform for this, while demonstrating the brand’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with its customers, are likely to be of interest. We anticipate Instagram will feature as the key social platform as an increasing number of consumers use it for travel inspiration.

Activating tech innovation: TUI has increased digital investment in recent months, adding services such as mobile check-ins and electronic boarding passes for both iOS and android devices. Sponsorship is likely to play a part in promoting its last digital innovations as it looks to widen appeal among families and younger demographics. Proposals should be based around promoting its recently released app and its constant innovations in the digital space, where last month it added a direct chat option so customers can contact reps while abroad.

Media Spend Q1-3 2018: £16,661,253

Partnerships: Channel-wide sponsorship of Sky One

Key decision-makers:

Head of Brand Activation Amanda Lakin - connect

Strategic Partnerships Manager James Nathan - connect