Deloitte's Sponsorship Of The Royal Opera House




Deloitte has successfully collaborated with several organisations in the past, most recently the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The focus of these sponsorships was primarily exhibitions and, at their conclusion, we felt the time was right in our brand lifecycle to make a bigger, bolder move.


We are driven by an appetite for innovation, we want to focus on young people and to challenge preconceptions of our brand (we are commonly labelled a “staid accounting business”). We also have a long-term commitment to the arts; being leaders in society as well as in our field is important to us. Finding an organisation with similar aspirations to sponsor, and which could engage our people, clients and the community in the arts as well as make a lasting impact on perceptions of Deloitte and the arts, was needed.


The Royal Opera House proved a perfect solution: facing similar brand challenges (perceived by some as elitist, exclusive, ‘stuffy’) and ready to stage more creative, pioneering performances but for a funding shortfall. Both organisations wanted to appeal to a younger, wider, more diverse audience.


In 2007, we entered into a five-year partnership with the Royal Opera House creating an annual contemporary arts festival, Deloitte Ignite, to feature as the sponsorship showpiece. The timing was perfect – as official professional services provider to London 2012, we realised Deloitte Ignite could be integrated into the Cultural Olympiad leading up to the Games.


It was clear from the outset that the sponsorship would strengthen our position as innovators, collaborating in a way “not normally expected from a professional services firm.” Deloitte Ignite would be a fresh concept, enabling one of the UK’s leading arts and culture venues to be showcased in an edgy, modern and creative way.


The sponsorship wanted to achieve:


- A shift in public perceptions: to underline the image of both organisations as being innovative, entrepreneurial and dynamic and attract more young people to the Royal Opera House.


- Enhanced brand positioning: to display the strength of both organisations’ position as leaders in their fields by association with each other and to gain external recognition for maximising arts sponsorship.


- A reputation for innovation: to reinforce both organisations’ reputations for creativity.


- An enhanced reputation in society and to align Deloitte Ignite with London 2012.


- Unique opportunities for relationship building: to enhance Deloitte’s reputation amongst a wider client base, by using the Opera House as an unusual venue for entertainment and networking.


- Internal engagement: to get Deloitte people excited about the sponsorship and sharing the benefits.


Deloitte Ignite has taken place in 2008, 2009 and 2010, curated by Wayne McGregor, Time Out and Joanna McGregor respectively. Each festival has featured ground-breaking new commissions from artists including Julian Opie, Ravi Deepres, Random International, Kathleen Herbert, Will Tuckett, dreamthinkspeak, Alice Anderson, Dick Bird, Dan Fern and Phoenix Dance Theatre.


For each festival, Deloitte receives sector exclusivity and naming rights – securing high profile visibility and brand awareness. A bespoke visual identity using Deloitte’s corporate colours was created to reflect the nature of Deloitte Ignite. This is refreshed each year according to the curator’s particular theme and used throughout the marketing campaign.


Few Deloitte Ignite visitors have previously engaged with the Deloitte brand – and not in this kind of environment. The festival focuses on media outside the Deloitte ‘norm’ such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to connect diverse audiences with Deloitte and the Royal Opera House. Deloitte Ignite material on these channels created a viral campaign, generating tens of thousands of unique hits, views and messages.


Each festival is also advertised in print:

- Free London papers and London Underground to reach young professionals.

- Broadsheets (Independent, Times, Guardian) to reach a corporate audience.

- Media partnership with Time Out in 08/09, and Saturday Times insert in 2010.

2010 saw a new way for audiences to interact with the festival: Deloitte volunteers were equipped with iPhones and used a mobile application to record and stream soundbites from visitors directly to the Royal Opera House website.





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