The LTA is responsible for tennis in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man yet many people were unaware that the LTA even existed and those that did know, did not understand its role and/or had negative feelings about it.
The main challenge was to change perceptions of tennis from being an elite sport with men in blazers, ‘posh’ tennis clubs and Pimm’s drinking, and of the LTA as an antiquated body that wasted money.
To do this, we needed to take a fresh look at the vision for British Tennis and the role of the LTA in delivering that vision, with values to drive it.
It was necessary to establish a clear direction and culture which would embody the vision and values and harness the power of not only the LTA colleagues but crucially the 25,00 volunteers across the country.
Luckily for us, this drive for change was led from the top with an understanding that visions need to be built from the ground up.
We love this case study as it demonstrates the use of one of our favourite brand strategy structures, the VMOST – Vision, Mission, Objectives and Strategies and shows how an organisation can totally transform itself if it truly believes it can and follows some clear ‘rules’.
Lead from the top
Build from the ground up
Have a clear, single-minded vision based on insight from customers, potential customers, colleagues and stakeholder as well as an understanding of the market.
Establish single-minded objectives, strategies and tactics solely based on the vision
Align the colleague and customer experience to those strategies
The Definition Approach
Reviewed over 65 existing research documents, conducted interviews with the Board and Executive Team, ran focus groups with staff and volunteers in clubs across the country, and interviewed professionals from the Tennis Foundation.
This allowed us to get to know the business and understand the starting position, opportunities, potential barriers and critical success factors.
We gained insight to guide the vision including: the current state and the future of British tennis, perceptions of the LTA, and views on its roles and responsibilities now and in the future.
The output was a report on the current state and potential territories for the brand vision to be developed and tested.
We used this insight as the basis for a visioning day with the board and executive team at which 7 possible directions for the vision were developed.
Once again we conducted interviews with the Board and Executive Team and ran focus groups with tennis coaches, colleagues, players, fans and LTA councillors alongside interviewing external experts.
We gained an understanding of the attitudes to sport, tennis and the LTA alongside testing the seven visions with related purposes.
With all the insight from the Exploring and Visioning stage, we were able to develop a final vision for tennis in Britain which, informed by insight, would be motivating, credible and distinctive.
Working with the LTA over several workshops, we developed this into a VMOST (vision, mission, objectives & strategies) so that it could be used by everyone in the organisation to guide behaviour and strategic and tactical decision making.
Following a very successful roll out of the vision, the CEO of the LTA, invited us back to help develop a joint VMOST for two LTA tennis charities that were merging.
We ran an initial workshop with representatives from the charity at which we agreed that the LTA’s vision of ‘Tennis Opened up’ and the LTA’s values should be adopted by the new charity but developed a separate mission.
A second workshop developed strategies and tactics for developing that mission.
At the start of 2023 the LTA announced participation figures for 2022 – which showed sustained success in getting more people playing tennis, more often; with growth across all demographics, regions and nations of Great Britain, particularly amongst 16-34 year-olds and those from lower socio economic backgrounds.
The number of adults reporting that they had played tennis during the year increased by 43% compared to the previous year, resulting in the highest total recorded since 2017
In addition, more than two million adults play monthly, and this is the highest level recorded since the LTA started tracking this measure seven years ago
A huge achievement by a small team, but not surprising as they did everything right:
Understood the power of the brand
Led from the top. The CEO was fully involved, even coming to clubs around the country with us to gather insight first hand
Built from the ground up
Developed a clear, single-minded vision based on insight from all parties
Established objectives, strategies and tactics solely based on the vision
Aligned the colleague and customer experience to those strategies, including a restructure of the organisation
The VMOST, including the vision ‘Tennis opened up’ is now used throughout the LTA and the Tennis Foundation to guide behaviour and strategic and tactical decision making.
Scott and his team were relentless in pursuing their vision and following their strategies to achieve their objectives. Their strategies were the main agenda items at every Exec and board meeting and they launched initiatives such as: an on line booking system for courts, launch of local tennis leagues, donation of 70,000 tennis balls to venues and a very successful ‘Play Your Way’ campaign.