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Tour of Britain 2021: Strategy and Support

At the heart of the race

The Tour of Britain is the nation’s most prestigious bike race, and Brother UK occupies a position at its centre. The 2021 edition will see the Neutral Service p/b Brother UK in-race support crews make their debut, while our service as Official Print and Results partner enters its sixth year.

It’s hard to overstate the Tour of Britain’s impact. As an international event, it brings cycling superstars to British soil for eight days of wheel-to-wheel racing with the best British domestic teams. Hundreds of thousands of people line the route each day, while an audience of millions watches on live terrestrial television.

"The Tour of Britain places Brother UK before huge audiences, from spectators on the street, caught up in its colour and excitement, to dedicated followers of cycling."

Its value as a promotional tool for Brother UK is obvious. The Tour of Britain places our brand before huge audiences, ranging from spectators on the street, caught up in its colour and excitement, to dedicated followers of cycling making an active decision to tune in and enjoy the action. 

These different demographics serve separate aims for our marketing initiatives and deliver distinct outcomes. For the casual spectators who line the route and fill the start and finish towns, their engagement with Brother via roadside hoardings and the branding on our neutral service vehicles supports a strategy of ‘broad consideration’.

When they next purchase a print, scanning or labelling product, our company should occupy a position in their ‘top three box’ of brands to consider. They have gained awareness of Brother from exposure to our brand at the Tour of Britain: a positive association with the excitement of the race.

A more dedicated audience, watching the television coverage and perhaps following the @brothercycling social channels too, is likely to intersect with our key demographic of senior decision makers in large organisations. Our sponsorship of a sport they care about passionately delivers obvious value for Brother UK in their decision making.  

Branded car with bicycles on roof

Boosting local economies

Brother UK isn’t the only business to benefit. Companies trading in the towns, cities and villages that mark the route also receive an uplift. The Tour of Britain’s magnetic attraction for crowds increases footfall on shopping parades and encourages people into bars and restaurants. Local economies gain a much-needed boost.

Phil Jones MBE, Brother UK’s Managing Director, is the architect of the company’s cycling sponsorship portfolio. Further, he is a resident of Cheshire, through which the Tour of Britain passes this year on its fifth stage. His insights into its value for local economies and to Warrington specifically are worth sharing.  

"Lockdown has dramatically accelerated systemic trends like online shopping, placing once-thriving areas at risk of becoming ghost towns." 

“It’s absolutely massive. Unlike other events, perhaps even other SweetSpot portfolio events like The Tour Series, which tend to focus on one town, the Tour of Britain engages the whole country," Phil says. 

"It goes right through the spectrum, from school children to pensioners, who come to the side of the road to see the race. It’s a proper spectacle. That’s really, really good for all of the councils who get involved with the race because it really does put them on the map.

“Stage five this year finishes in Warrington, close to where I live. I know the town has just spent over one hundred million pounds on the regeneration of its shopping areas, including a brand new food court and cinema complex. They want to put a spotlight on that. What better way than to have a stage of the Tour of Britain finish with the town’s famous golden gates close by?

“Warrington will then be talked about as a thriving town, a good place to live, with a council investing in local amenities. On race day, tens of thousands of residents can come into Warrington, pack the bars and restaurants for the afternoon, and leave feeling good about their town. This is why councils are so keen to host the race.”

A council’s need to boost its local economy has increased exponentially since lockdown. Further, systemic trends like online shopping have accelerated dramatically, placing once-thriving areas at risk of becoming ghost towns.

Racing cyclists, city backdrop

A professional approach

Cheshire, despite its national reputation as an affluent county, boosted by the popularity of exclusive suburbs like Alderley Edge with a wealthy population of Premier League footballers, is likely to share the economic challenges facing the rest of the nation. The Tour of Britain’s visit could not be more timely, Phil says.

“All of the businesses along the route, through the ‘golden triangle’ of Cheshire, out into the Peak District and, ultimately, rolling quite close to where I live before turning into Warrington, will benefit. There will be hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets. That can only mean tills ringing for all the businesses along that route.”

"The 2021 Tour of Britain promises to be an epic edition. Brother UK will be at its side through every kilometre."

This is not to suggest that councils desperate to kickstart local economies are a soft touch for race organisers the SweetSpot Group. Faced with budgets reduced by austerity, even before the national emergency of Covid, local authorities must be extremely prudent, and so organisers must convince a raft of stakeholders.

Making a case for the Tour of Britain’s economic benefit is only one challenge. SweetSpot must also gain the consent of a county’s police force for the road closures essential for safe racing. The satisfaction of commercial and operational concerns creates a sporting canvas on which to draw the route.

It’s worth noting SweetSpot’s status as a successful commercial operation. Much of Brother UK’s investment in elite domestic road racing.The Tour of Britain, however, demands a professional approach. 

The 2021 Tour of Britain promises to be an epic edition. A gruelling route, starting in Penzance and passing through Devon, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, before finishing in Aberdeen, more than lives up to the billing. Brother UK will be at its side through every kilometre.


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