22nd December 2014 | Ben

Branding, Marketing strategy, West Sussex

Glorious Goodwood is not so glorious any more… everything has its price

Wow! That was a bombshell… Glorious Goodwood is no longer ‘glorious’. Talk about undermining a brand! From 2015, this established annual promise in the horseracing calendar is going to be known as Qatar Goodwood Festival. Considerably less appealing, don’t you think?

I must say, I’m very surprised from a brand strategy perspective and rather irked as a local, for the following reasons:

  • Glorious Goodwood was labelled such due to its glorious situation. It is in a truly beautiful location and as a first-timer, its beauty takes your breath away
  • Glorious Goodwood is a well-established, quality brand, which until very recently has delivered on its brand promise. Everything has been done with quality, tradition and high-class in mind and it has now sold out to the power of corporate sponsorship
  • It’s all in the name and Glorious Goodwood is the name of the festival; Goodwood is merely the destination. So why not keep Glorious Goodwood (thereby keeping the promise) and simply attach Qatar as the sponsor on all material? Glorious Goodwood, powered by Qatar or even Qatar-Glorious Goodwood?

    Our mock-up of how the sponsorship positioning should look

As a brand strategist, I have grave concerns that this was the right decision… The power built up in the Glorious Goodwood brand is impressive and yet this one decision can undermine all that has gone before. The destination remains in the name, but the festival is lost. This is the wrong way round.

Hear me out. We have the Martell Grand National and the Vodafone Derby, known in the racing calendar as The Grand National and The Derby… The festivals remain and the sponsors’ labels don’t affect that.

But Glorious Goodwood is not known as The Goodwood. If anything, it’s known colloquially as ‘Glorious’ and yet, that is now lost… Where has its identity gone?

Cowdray Polo did it very well for the 20 year sponsorship of the Gold Cup by Veuve Cliquot. You see? The Gold Cup is the name of the festival; Veuve Cliquot was merely the sponsor.  Cowdray is simply where it took place. The new sponsor for 2015 is Jaeger-LeCoultre, so we now have the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup.

Is it the horsepower that matters?

This surprising move leads me to challenge: what’s next? With two other key events in the Goodwood calendar I ask the question if, truly, everything has its price…?

The local belief is that in the order of priority and personal passion for the Estate, Goodwood Festival of Speed is in pole position (forgive the pun), followed by Goodwood Revival and then Glorious Goodwood horseracing comes in last, on the final furlong… (I couldn’t help myself)

So, if there is a risk of us seeing sponsors of ‘Speed’ and ‘Revival’, I hope it is carried out a little more delicately: Mercedes Festival of Speed or Aston Martin Revival…

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