- TCS has signed a 6-year partnership with the
London Marathonas its title partnerwhere the organization will use technologyto enhance the overall experience of the event.
- Over the years, TCS has associated with some of the biggest running events in the world, events that are spread across 4 continents and 12 different cities.
- We speak to
Michelle Doti Taylor, Head of Global Sports Sponsorships at TCS who has been instrumental in making a lot of these associations a reality. Taylor tells us all there is to know about the London Marathon association and also tells us why sports marketing is a critical strategy for brand TCS.
TCS has developed the marathon’s official event app that allows participants and spectators, from anywhere in the world, to experience the marathon.
Over the years, TCS has associated with some of the biggest running events in the world, events that are spread across 4 continents and 12 different cities. Michelle Doti Taylor, Head of Global Sports Sponsorships at TCS has been instrumental in making a lot of these associations a reality. She currently overlooks a portfolio of 14 sponsorships. In a recent conversation with her, we tried to understand what the London Marathon partnership entails, why sports marketing is so crucial for TCS, how it has helped the organization build brand TCS into what it is today.
All about the London Marathon
TCS recently announced that it will become the title partner of the London Marathon from 2022, following this year’s race on October 3.
While the organization has been partnering with London Marathon as its
Talking about TCS’ new role as the title partner for the London Marathon, Taylor said, “TCS has been committed to running for years. We've been involved in global running events for over 10 years now, and a partner with London Marathon since 2016. We've had this relationship for a while where we have had the time to understand the event. We always had greater ambitions for the partnership and in running and in what running can do for the community and for TCS. So when this opportunity came about, we couldn't have been more excited to build on a lot of the work that we' had already been doing with the London Marathon and to take on a bigger role and see how we can grow and tell more of TCS’ story through marathoning and through this event.”
TCS has developed the official event app and in 2020, the app was updated to support participants in the first virtual London Marathon during the pandemic. This year too, TCS aims at making the overall experience more engaging for participants and spectators.
“The app has really being a game changer for the sport. In the past when spectators would come to a marathon event, you've got a 26.2 mile course with 1000’s of runners. Being able to see your person was always left on chance. But this technology helps track the runners which really changed the sport from not just the spectator standpoint, but also for the runners. To be able to hear cheers from their loved ones at the point where they needed it the most on the course to really rallying them across the finish line, it has really been amazing. That's going to continue to be our hero activation across London and we'll certainly continue to do more with it as technology evolves. We really want to enhance the experience.”
In 2020, TCS updated the app to support participants in the first virtual London Marathon during the pandemic. The plan is to use digital innovation to further enhance the event experience for all future races which will continue to be a hybrid of physical and virtual events. This year, around 50,000 runners will take part in the main physical event and a further 50,000 will participate in the virtual event.
“In 2020, when the pandemic hit and the whole world was trying to figure out how we're going to move forward, technology became the key across all industries on how we would progress and how we could still keep connected. And it was no different in sport and in marathon too. So TCS was able to work with all of our partners, in particular the London Marathon, to really pivot the live event to virtual and be able to deliver this incredible experience to people interested anywhere in the world. And that opened up the doors to making the marathon really more accessible. In the past, if you wanted to participate in the London Marathon, you had to have the means and funds to be able to travel to London, to be able to get an entry, which is also incredibly hard. And through this technology, we took the race to people while also giving them a taste of London where they were able to hear the sights and sounds of the city while they were running in their own neighborhoods. It was a really exciting experience in a really challenging time, to be able to connect runners globally and we're looking forward to continuing our work towards really personalizing the experience,” she added.
TCS and the sports marketing connect
Despite being a global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, TCS has a historic track record with major marathons across the world, including New York, Amsterdam, Singapore, and Mumbai. TCS even sponsors an F1 driver in Japan, through Nakajima Racing.
So what is TCS’ connect with sports? “Our chairman at the time was trying to improve his own health and he started his own walking and running routine. And when he saw how it really improved his quality of life, he said, ‘If this is so good for me, imagine how good it will be for all of our employees’. So TCS started Fit4Life, and our employees immediately jumped on that and started getting active themselves. Again TCS looked inside and said, ‘If this is doing such great things for our employees, what about our clients and the communities where we work and live?’ And that's where TCS started to pivot and look at sports sponsorships and look at how these sponsorships are giving communities an opportunity to get healthier and fit. Marathons are huge milestones for people but also, marathons give a huge platform to fundraising and charities across the board. In many ways, marathon is an analogy for life and we feel it’s a perfect alignment for us,” explained Taylor.
Fortifying Brand TCS
While there are many facets to building a brand, for TCS, its largest investment has been towards its expansive global portfolio of marathon sponsorships. In 2004, after TCS’ marketing department was formalized, it slowly started leveraging sports, not only to boost its brand but to also engage its stakeholders.
On how these associations have transformed brand TCS into what it is today, Taylor said, “I always say that TCS really has a soul. As a company, we believe in community. Through all these sporting partnerships, we started out with a shared purpose around community and improving people's lives. A lot of our race partners are very focused on improving people's lives through running and TCS believes in that as well. Our expertise is around technology so we just tap into our knowledge of technology to see how we can give back to the community and improve people's lives.”