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The New Tennis Canada: An interview with CMO Mark Healy

Mar 01, 2015
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada
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As Tennis Canada unveils its new brand campaign, we asked Mark Healy, the organization’s chief marketing officer, to tell us the story behind the rebrand. Here are his thoughts on the change and what it will mean for Canadian tennis fans.

What can Canadians expect from the new Tennis Canada?

Healy is quick to point out that this initiative is more than a change in logo: “Many organizations re-brand for the sake of rebranding,” he says. “In our case, this represents a huge shift for our organization on a number of fronts: in how we position ourselves as a part the Canadian tennis community, how we will reach new audiences in ways that we never have before and, most visibly, across digital, social and traditional channels through our new Live the Moment campaign.”

In the coming weeks, Tennis Canada will be unveiling a new identity that sets a direction for colour, language, photography and and the values that characterize the organization. The rebranding will be supported by a fully integrated campaign that aims to humanize tennis. “We want to lay the foundation of a deeply emotive and human brand here,” Healy explains. “We want this journey to be one that our fans take with us, and in order to do that we need to connect on a more human level.”

Canadian tennis is in a period of tremendous positive transformation and change. The interest in, and support for, Canadian players is unprecedented. The talent of up and coming players is unmatched in Canadian tennis history. As an organization, Tennis Canada has brought in new leadership and is investing heavily in creating its own transformation to help amplify this momentum. The rebranding effort is a public signal of this change.

Talking to Canadians from coast to coast

“In order for us to be successful, we knew it was important to talk to Canadian tennis fans,” says Healy. “In my first few months as CMO, I visited every Canadian province, talking to Provincial Tennis Associations, coaches, players, parents and fans to understand how they viewed the sport, and how each province contributes to the fabric of Canadian tennis in its own way.”

Healy’s coast-to-coast tour was inspired by data. Annual surveys revealed that many Canadians know little about Tennis Canada, its 125-year history, or its mandate to grow the game and improve the lives of Canadians through tennis. “The role of marketing is to support the organization in achieving its objectives,” Healy says. “As I spoke to people across the country, I heard clearly that this is truly a values-based sport, and that tennis reveals a lot about your character as a person.” For Healy, it also became clear that the values so frequently associated with the sport of tennis, such as grace, honour, discipline and resilience, are also deeply-held Canadian values. “That’s when we knew we had our direction for this campaign,” he says.

Live The Moment

33110-EXHALTBANNERSTAND_FINAL_TC_PospisilTennis is about those moments that test you and strengthen you – the moments when true character is revealed. Will you respond with grace? With perseverance? With excellence? With sportsmanship? For Healy and his team, these are the moments that define Canadian tennis, and define who we are as players and fans.

“The Live the Moment campaign is about the nuanced moments that make up the game, and what those moments mean to different people,” explains Healy. “In the coming months, we will be asking Canadians to share their moments with us, and I hope that means connecting with us and with each other in ways that they haven’t before.”

Reaching new tennis players and fans

Healy is also hoping that this campaign will reach new audiences such as families, kids, seniors and those with an interest in fitness and active living. “To maintain the success of Canadian tennis, we need to get more racquets in more hands, and show tennis in a more human and accessible way.”

This ambition will be supported by a new tenniscanada.com website that will offer content for parents, those new to tennis and exclusive content for dedicated Canadian tennis fans. Healy and his team are also planning to ramp up their social media efforts to engage more meaningfully with Canadian tennis players and fans. “We have been blown away by the passion of these folks on social media,” says Healy. “Tennis fans are fiercely proud of their sport, and are eager to share their passion with us. We want to be supporting them at every step.”

If the rebranding effort is successful, Healy expects to see an immediate change in perception about the organization and the sport of tennis in Canada. “If we’re right about this direction we’ll see more people interested in and playing tennis across all demographics,” explains Healy. “The Tennis Canada brand and the Canadian tennis brand need to be one in the same, and that brand needs to be human and accessible in order to resonate with people.”

This is only the beginning for Healy and his team. A new Rogers Cup website, identity and new apps for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup are all planned for this year.

To learn more about the campaign, or to see the moments that Canadian tennis fans are sharing, check out the Live the Moment campaign.