“Even though retail is struggling, cycling is still growing”

This article was written by Phil Jones MB, managing director of Brother UK.

It’s a partnership that’s vibrant, established, and reaps dividends for all involved. If you recognise our brand it is likely to be because you see our products in your everyday life. Brother UK supplies and supports a complete range of technology products and services across the business and consumer markets. We have invested in the cycling sector for more than six years, initially with the provision of neutral service vehicles to the domestic race scene, professionalising race support to the standard seen in many grand tours. But, you may well ask, why cycling? While 2017 has been a challenging year for many in the retail sector, interest in the sport continues to grow. This is a trend we expect to continue, particularly following Sport England’s commitment to invest £17 million in the sport from 2017 – 2021. And cycling is quickly becoming the leisure choice of senior management due to time pressures in their homes and professional lives – fitting in fitness is all about the convenience of doing something when schedules permit.

At Brother UK, we know there is a large crossover between decision-makers in business and those who ride road bikes at the weekend. Commercial research suggests that people are three times more likely to buy a product or service if your brand is associated with a sport in which they personally participate. Our sponsorship of elite cycling teams and the embedded nature of our involvement at major domestic events is a way of promoting our brand while associating ourselves with qualities central to cycling such as themes of efficiency, teamwork, collaboration, mobility and results. We use the sport as a metaphor to support our core technology and brand messaging.

We are actively interested in the sport and its development. Our company’s motto of ‘At Your Side’ comes to life as our neutral service vehicles support races or mass participation events. We’re there when you need us, which sits with our support philosophy as a business. Our association with a sport that’s becoming ever more popular brings with it a layer of vernacular and subculture understanding. To be seen to be part of a sport requires a focus on investing resource in brand activation as well as direct sponsorship. Our reasons for engaging with elite-level sport are multiple and aligned to our own brand positions. Learning about the sport over the last few years, I realised it heavily relies on sponsorship income for its business model. We are keen to see more brands come in and provide resources to see it thrive and create a sustainable business model and messaging platform.

Our company purpose is ‘to grow ourselves through growing others’ so we hope our presence as a major global brand in the sport amplifies the superb people, athletes, businesses and ecosystem that rely upon it for their livelihoods. 

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