Andy Murray

Customer experience lessons from Wimbledon


Social media data on Wimbledon 2023 has revealed which players, brands, and issues have got Brits talking – but what can this teach us about customer experience?

13th Jul 2023

With the most prestigious tournament on the tennis circuit drawing to a close, a dashboard has captured data from across the competition to provide insights on what has enthralled and entertained fans throughout.

Created by Sprinklr, real-time data from Twitter, Instagram, and the News has been collected and aggregated to provide an overview of the most discussed topics amongst UK fans and customers at Wimbledon 2023, with the competition receiving well over a million mentions so far.

But what do the key findings reveal, and how can understanding fan and customer habits help your CX strategies?

Which brands are winning the conversation?

As with any major sporting event across the globe, branding and sponsorship are ever-present – with Wimbledon being no exception.

Where the All England Lawn Tennis Championship does differ from many of its peers is the restrictions it places on tournament sponsors, whose logos are barely visible on the hoardings around the playing court in an attempt to not overtly commercialise the grounds.

This means that in order to get value for their sponsorship investments, brands are having to get creative.

Barclays, which replaced HSBC this year as the official banking partner of Wimbledon, has launched several on-site initiatives to engage and interest fans.

These include the Barclays Clubhouse, a space that will feature a ‘Take on Tiafoe’ simulator, which gives fans the chance to try to return a serve from the men’s world number 10, who is a Barclays ambassador.

Inside the grounds, the Barclays Fanzone will feature exclusive appearances and Q&As with tennis stars, while the Barclays Clubhouse Parkside provides an opportunity for the bank’s customers to win prizes.

The initiatives brought in by Barclays have clearly paid dividends, with the brand being comfortably the most discussed of all the tournament sponsors, garnering over 8000 mentions at the time of writing. 

Graph showing the number of mentions each Wimbledon sponsor has received

Although being a Wimbledon sponsor may feel like a very unrelatable scenario to the majority of businesses and brands, there are universal CX lessons to be learned.

When faced with a scenario in which traditional marketing methods could not be applied, the bank sought to provide existing and potential customers with fresh experiences and talking points.

The customer is undoubtedly at the heart of each of Barclays’ initiatives. And their focus on providing a unique and engaging experience has clearly resonated with the British public.

Of course, most budgets won’t stretch to accommodate a tennis serving simulator, but the basic CX principles of customer-centricity and rewarding customer loyalty can be easily and affordably incorporated. 

More sizzle, less steak

Wimbledon is more than a sporting tournament – it’s an event. And it is this distinctive, quintessentially British environment that is piquing the public’s interest.

If you asked 100 people on the street about Wimbledon, a handful may be able to name a few tennis players outside of the top 10. But for the majority, it invokes images of strawberries and cream, Pimm’s, and celeb-spotting.

And the data certainly seems to support this assertion, with Wimbledon’s traditional food and drink offerings receiving plenty of attention, alongside that other staple of British summertime – the rain.

Another popular topic of discussion amongst the British public has been the array of celebrities and royals popping up at Centre Court, with the Princess of Wales being indisputably the most discussed – receiving over 40,000 mentions.

Other notable names topping the list include David Beckham; Tom Cruise; and everybody’s favourite Derry Girl, Nicola Coughlan.

Graph showing the number of mentions that celebrities and royals have received throughout Wimbledon

The enduring popularity of Wimbledon’s distinctive atmosphere and traditions can provide CX leaders with two lessons:

  1. Be unique: this is a classic example of easier said than done. But as a business, if you can offer anything that differentiates you from your rivals, it will get people noticing. Wimbledon’s unique traditions transcend the sport of tennis, inviting in an entirely new audience/customer base.
  2. Embrace your strengths: again, this may appear a little obvious on the surface. But in the search for new customers, many organisations often fall into the trap of neglecting what it is that attracted their customer base in the first place.

    It would have been very easy for Wimbledon to start distancing itself from its reputation as an elitist playground for the rich and famous. But in doing so it would have cut off a huge portion of that casual customer base. 

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

For all of the successes of Barclays’ innovative marketing and Wimbledon’s traditional charm, there have also been some notable struggles.

In an attempt to attract a younger audience, Wimbledon launched two collaborations with Fortnite and Roblox. The former provides gamers with the chance to play a ‘Race to Wimbledon’ campaign, with players who beat Andy Murray’s time being entered into a prize draw for a VIP experience at Wimbledon in 2024.

However, these efforts have produced meagre results, with the collaborations achieving combined mentions of less than 800.

Why is Wimbledon struggling to attract younger customers?

But why have these attempted collaborations fallen so short?

Unfortunately for Wimbledon, it finds itself in a difficult position when it comes to attracting younger audiences, as one of its major appeals – the traditional, celebrity hotspot environment – could be driving that demographic away.

The data highlighting the number of mentions that members of the Royal family received is a good example of this.

Whereas spotting Royals in attendance, and the prestigious pomp and ceremony of the event are clearly of interest to existing fans and customers, data from Statista shows that most British 18-24-year-olds are opposed to the idea of a monarchy.

Graph showing age demographics of UK people who support a monarchy

The lesson for CX leaders here is perhaps one of due diligence and subtlety. While collaborating with a popular video game – a hobby primarily associated with younger people – appears, on paper, to be a shrewd move, it may be a case of too big too soon.

Merely being associated with a video game does not mean players of the game will automatically interact with the event, particularly when its traditional, elitist veneer is so at odds with the general opinions of the demographic.

CX leaders who are looking to engage younger customers should focus on refining a more subtle marketing strategy and highlighting ways in which they can make their business/product more in keeping with the ideals of their target audience – making baby steps rather than one big leap.

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