A COMPANY that brings together high profile brands with grass roots sport to help clubs earn free kit has turned to creative agency Milk & Tweed to help it grow.
Since 2013 Gift of Kit has been helping national brands such a Deliveroo, Sky Sports and HelloFresh promote themselves to the 28,000 sports teams on its register by providing free kit. Founder Jonathan Green, who lives in Calne, Wiltshire, said: “We are providing a value exchange between the brand and the club, which means both sides are benefitting from the partnership.
“We can provide a tangible business result for the brand because in order to get the kit the teams have to do something to earn it. We had a deal with HelloFresh where the teams got a discount code and the more food boxes that were ordered with that code, the more kits they could order.”
Interested clubs register with Gift of Kit and are then matched with companies looking to promote themselves by taking part in a kit giveaway scheme. Mr Green managed a Nike Teamwear dealership selling kit and equipment to professional sports teams such as Saracens and Bristol Rugby. They were approached to work with building supplier Tradepoint on a free kit promotion where customers earned kit vouchers by buying more products.
“It was a huge incentive for builders to switch to them and it worked, we generated £11 million in incremental sales and gave away 800 kits,” said Mr Green. “After that I decided providing free sponsored kit is a lot easier than selling it and benefits both big brands and grassroots clubs.”
He founded Wiltshire-based Gift of Kit and launched a website that soon attracted clubs from the north of Scotland to Penzance. “We had a pretty good idea of the size of the market and we also knew teams were struggling to raise money to buy kit,” said Mr Green.
“We also understood that there are a lot of brands who spend a great deal of money in sport, but the majority of it is at the elite end. Around 95 per cent of the investment goes there whereas 98 per cent of the people who play sport in this country are at the other end.”
The company has turned to Wiltshire creative agency Milk & Tweed to revamp its marketing. “The brief to them is growth,” said Mr Green. “We’ve come a long way but I have seen how Milk & Tweed has worked with other companies I know and played a major role in their growth.
“They will initially be providing targeted content to attract more people to our website and in the longer term revamping the site and working on our social media. They have been great to work with because they understand what our challenges are and by taking on our marketing they are allowing me to concentrate on developing the business.”
Most of the promotions Gift of Kit runs is for football but it has also run promotions with Land Rover in Rugby, Kia in cricket and every sport from bowls to darts with the Peoples Postcode Lottery – including senior walking football teams.
“We work with the brand’s cost per acquisition spending and a bit of their budgets for marketing, social media or corporate social responsibility to deliver the promotion,” said Mr Green.
“We want partners who want to support grass roots sport and then we’ll work out what the right demographic is for them. We design a strategy for them to reach their target demographic. We have a very good understanding of who plays what sport and which sectors would most suit each brand.
“The teams love having a well-known brand on their shirts and we see hundreds of posts on social media from clubs thanking us and our partners for the support. We’ve even seen some holding mock press conferences on social media to unveil their sponsor.”
The company has been inundated with inquiries since England’s Lionesses won the European Championships this summer. “We’ve had agencies saying that their clients want to do something in grass roots women’s football, which is really encouraging and we are expecting to see a lot more support for women’s sport,” said Mr Green.
He believes more agencies representing major brands will begin to appreciate the value of partnering their brands with grass roots sport. “It has been seen as very difficult but because they don’t know how to reach clubs at that level,” said Mr Green. “But we are becoming known as an easy solution because we have access to all of these clubs with hundreds of thousands of players.
“Having Milk & Tweed on board can only help us continue to grow because they can help us focus our marketing and tell all these great stories about the clubs we have helped.”
Wiltshire-based Milk & Tweed creative director Jake Jeffries said: “We’re delighted to be working with Jonathan and his unique business. Many of us here have played sport at junior and senior level and know what a vital role sponsors have to play. We are looking forward to using our expertise to continue Gift of Kit’s growth.”
Find out more about the company at giftofkit.com and about Milk & Tweed at milkandtweed.com.
Pictured: Gift of Kit founder Jonathan Green with Milk & Tweed marketing executive Meg Fenner-Jamieson