THE BLOG

Why Cyclists Could Be Cashing in on Brand Investment

22/07/2013 12:58 BST | Updated 02/09/2013 10:12 BST

Sir Bradley Wiggins' efforts in winning the Tour de France last summer, followed by Olympic gold, Sports Personality of the Year and rocking out with his guitar at the after party - combined with the rise and success of British Cycling at both the Beijing and London Olympics - have made cycling not only more popular as a spectator sport, but enormously popular as a participation sport.

And that's not all. Dozens of Cyclesurgery stores are opening across city centres. Look at Strava - the ride mapping software - hitting the headlines with accusations that its app encourages reckless racing. And a Sport England report from last December claims a rise in regular cyclists by 200,000. Cycling is on the up. The sport is rising up brand agendas too.

Could the humble velo be your vehicle for free-wheeling into the consciousness of your target market? Yes. Because your brand could triumphantly roll in ahead of the Tour de France's visit to England next summer. In fact, why settle for a 'backie' when your brand could be firmly entrenched on every corner of the route?

Leeds has played its part, hosting Le Tour's Grand Depart, with the 190km stage taking in the Yorkshire Dales before finishing in Harrogate. Then stage two, covering 200km, from York to Sheffield - and that's before the race visits London.

That's nearly 400km (250 miles in old money) of English heritage, taking in landmarks including the Roman-walled city of York, the cathedral city of Ripon, a string of pretty market towns, and picturesque images of Yorkshire and the Peak District. That's 250 miles in which your brand can turn the race into a festival of entertainment and make it a more positive experience for crowd. Alongside that, you will find willing potential partners in local councils and tourism bodies such as Welcome to Yorkshire working harder than ever to promote their cities and make the most of an opportunity that does not come round very often.

London, it is fair to say, marketers know about in terms of the opportunity it presents. Yes, the route goes through the Olympic Park, but any benefit from the residual association with London 2012 is minimal - it will be little more than a golden memory for most.

Now is the time to start investing in cycling - even at a lower tier to validate your higher tier presence, when it comes around next summer. Done with thought and care, it will give you a base to drive awareness and credibility and make your brand the logical choice for people captivated by the Tour in England. And you could have a double-Tour champion in Wiggo - or two British Tour champions if Chris Froome has his way - to pin your campaign on.

The sport broke through last year. Chris Froome is red-hot favourite to win it this year - living up to this even as his team mates fell around him in stage nine - keeping Britain on two wheels in the limelight. And, who knows - Wiggo could be back in 2014. That's (touch wood) two Tour champions to pin your campaign on.

Would your FMCG brand fancy some of that? Of course it would. On yer bike.