Harlequins Big Game: 7 years of fresh consistency
I'm looking forward to what has become an annual fixture in the Taylor family festive season: the Harlequins Big Game. This involves Harlequins (the rugby team I support) booking Twickenham stadium to host a premiership rugby match, with lots of festive entertainment also on tap. This event is now its 7th year, and is a good example of creating an ownable activation property.
Rather than just put on a match each year with a different theme, Quins have created a distinctive property which is replicable. Rather than re-inventing their plans each year, Quins now know a year or more in advance what their major activation will be. This means they have created some memory stucture for The Big Game which helps build brand awareness and equity. Also, The Big Game has now started to be part of the Xmas festive season in London, with people commonly asking "Are you going to The Big Game this year"
2. Don't be afraid of consistency
Quins have been smart by not trying to change the naming of the activation each year. There is tempation to tamper and change brand properties, with a common excuse that consumers, or in this case supporters, will get bored. The results from The Big Game show this is not the case, with last year's Big Match 6 attracting almost 50% more people than Big Game 1, with a crowd of over 74,000. To put this in perspective, a typical Quins home game crowd is 12-13,000.
The Big Game execution has been failry consistent, with only 2 identities used in 7 years, one for Big Games 1-5, and another for Big Games 6-7 (the change followed a change in overall brand identity). However, looking at 7 years of execution does suggest the brand could be even more consistent in visual execution. The activation property has stayed the same, but the execution does seem to be re-invented each year.
3. Refresh to stay relevant
Brands need fresh consistency, not repetition. And Quins have done a great job of refreshing The Big Game each year. First, the team they play has been different each year, which adds some spice. Second, the entertainment on offer is also refreshed. Big Game 5 had boy band Lawson, Big Game 6 had X-Factor singers and this year there will be a DJ, Mark Wright, who has also been on Strictly Come Dancing and The Only Way is Essex (not sure about this myself). Finally, each year the club links with a charity to create a limited edition shirt, with this year's charity being Great Ormond Street Hospital.
In conclusion, Harlequins Big Game is a great example of an ownable, replicable activation property that has been amplified and refreshed over multiple years.
All that is left for me to say is… COME ON YOU QUINS!