Directors BoardThe RBN’s new partner, office hardware specialists easycopiers, work with clubs across a diverse range of sports.  We spoke to their marketing manager, Matthew Fincher, about their refreshing model for sports sponsorship.

How did easycopiers get into sports?

Entering sports sponsorship wasn’t a deliberate business move for us as it came about through our existing relationship with MK Dons.  Around ten years ago, we started supplying them with office equipment and, as we got on well, we approached them about hospitality.  Things progressed from there and we are now official sponsors of the club.

In return for sponsorship, they give us tickets on a regular basis.  Some of our staff go along to games and really enjoy it, we occasionally take clients, which works really well, and we sometimes donate the tickets to charity raffles, schools, etc.

How did you measure the value?

Due to the nature of the sponsorship, we didn’t need to worry about ROI, but we were certainly happy with the relationship.  Our staff, clients and the local community all benefitted, so it was clearly overwhelmingly positive.

Did you look to expand your involvement?

slamFrom our first experience of sports sponsorship, it was clear it was something we wanted to do long-term.  As before, our priority was benefitting the local community rather than simply looking for the best value rights, so we also starting working with Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.

Along with more of the same benefits we enjoyed with the football, the increased exposure helped to grow our brand.

We invited local basketball team Leicester Riders along to the cricket and they asked us if we could help them, initially just with office hardware.  They were part of our local community and we were in a position to help, so we did.

We’ll continue to work with those clubs and would consider any approaches we get in the future too.

What was the strategy behind that increase in spend?

As a company, we have never been bought out or bought anyone else to expand, so we wanted to reflect that organic nature in the way we went about sponsorship.

We still don’t spend any time worrying about ROI as it’s something we feel we should do and it unquestionably offers benefits to many aspects of our company.

For webWhat led you to partner with the RBN?

Our first rugby sponsorship was with London Welsh.  We loved working with the guys there and the extremely family-friendly atmosphere of rugby was something we felt was a huge positive when taking people to games.  Unfortunately, they lost literally every game that year and it made it hard for staff and clients to make the emotional investment required to keep going.

Despite the results, it was clear that rugby sponsorship would sit well with our brand and we looked to deepen ties with the sport.

The Rugby Business Network fitted our model very well, as we’re a B to B company and it has the Life After Rugby programme that helps former players.  If we’re going to benefit from being involved in a sport, it’s nice to know our investment goes to helping those within that sport.

Seeing as you’re now helping us, how can we help you?

We’ll be attending events and hopefully meeting a lot of interesting folk.  We supply all sorts of office machinery, from copiers and printer to projectors and franking machines, so we’d love to hear from anyone who is involved in that area and who would appreciate working with a family orientated company who pride themselves on value and service.

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