Sport for Business Chats – Pippa Doyle

Sport for Business is really all about the people within our community. The people that compete, the people that support, the people that make commercial partnerships work and the people that keep the whole sporting circus on the road.

In a new series, we want to introduce you to those people, initially twice weekly but as we hit our stride as part of a daily feature so that we can get around to as many of our wide range of interesting members as we can.

Today we kick off with Pippa Doyle, Sponsorship Manager at Littlewoods Ireland.

Tell us who you are and what you do in the business of sport?

I’m Pippa Doyle, Sponsorship Lead for Littlewoods Ireland. The brand sponsors the National Camogie Leagues, GAA Go Games Provincial Days and the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

Give us one or two things you have done in getting to where you are in 2020 that you feel were of importance?

We made changes to the structure of our campaigns in 2019 and that taught me a lot. It was hard getting a grasp of things in 2019 while trying to deliver a successful campaign, but I feel that in 2020 I’m starting on a better foot than I was in 2019, which will hopefully improve how we run the sponsorship campaigns.

This sounds a bit fickle but awards nominations. We were nominated for an ESA and an AIM award for the sponsorship in 2019. Getting nominated at this stage was winning for me in 2019- coming up against big, international brands was a huge deal for us. It definitely spurred me on. We go at it again now for 2020, so fingers crossed!

Also, Littlewoods Ireland winning Marketing Team of the Year at the 2019 AIMs gave us a big boost. I was really proud of this achievement.

What excites you about working in the business of sport?

I think working on a sport that I really enjoy makes it easy to be excited. I love creating campaigns that Camogie and Hurling fans and players will enjoy. We want them to know we’re right there with them.

At times it can get crazy busy- but it’s all worth it when you see engagement rates increase, and positive comments come through. It makes all the hard work completely worth it to see these- and no matter what the campaign, that excites me every time.

We’re such a small team in Littlewoods Ireland too, that sometimes seeing how far we’ve come and the opportunity we still have to grow within sponsorship really excites me too.

And what would you find to be an occasional (or regular) frustration?

An occasional frustration would be the weather! I know we’re in Ireland, and I should be used to it by now! But it can affect match fixtures, which can affect our plans. It’s also a factor for standing on the side lines or sitting in the stands. What I’ve learned is always have layers- always!

What are some of the things you have on your work agenda for the next twelve months?

Currently, we’re working on our ‘Style Meets Substance’ Camogie Leagues campaign. I haven’t been this excited about something in a long time! Camogie is going through such a period of growth and change and we’re delighted to be part of that change and to be reframing the conversations around it, as a brand.

We’ll be going into our 4th Hurling Championship season as top tier sponsors too- which is crazy. It doesn’t feel like 4 years. So once again we’ll be trying to better our #StyleOfPlay campaign, again focussing on the joy and passion behind the sport.

And give us one thing that you would like to achieve in a personal capacity?

Personally, I feel like I grow every season. You meet new challenges with every new campaign, and learning to grow through these is one of my favourite parts of the job. I hope to continue to do this in 2020.

Outside of your own sport give us one event in an Irish and one in an international context that you would like to experience?

In an Irish context, a Women’s Six Nations match.

In an international context, I’d love to see a Women’s Aussie Rules game.

Give us one sporting partnership over recent years that you admire?

We’re inundated with fantastic sporting sponsorships in Ireland, so it’s hard to pick just one.

AIB always do a great job in my eyes, their campaigns are always entertaining and engaging- I’m always looking forward to seeing what they produce next.

I also really admire Electric Ireland’s ‘This Is Major’ campaign. Their tv ad gets me every time, it’s so on point. Their activations are so clever as well. They really have made the Minor Championships major!

And one individual that you really respect?

Not directly sport related, but my parents. Whatever I’ve wanted to do in life they’ve been behind me. I’ve definitely learned the value of hard work from them both, but also how to relax and have fun! They’re two of my biggest supporters and best mates!

I have a new respect for my Dad since taking on a sports sponsorship role. He was on the Dublin football team of the ‘70s and I now really understand how hard he worked, and how much that time means to him. It’s such a huge part of his life still, and he’s proof that the GAA never leaves you. He let me know how much the GAA means to both a player and a fan, which has made me better in my role. He’s also great company at matches!

Tell us something about you that people might not know?

I was in a girl band and toured nationally for 2 years! I thought I had my career carved out in that world of music- but then I realised I’m a huge nerd! I went back and did my exams, went to college, went on to do a Masters and that was it. I love studying but I’m also more of a creative type- and my job now is the perfect mix of my two loves. You’ll still find me singing and dancing whenever I can though!

What is the thing about being a member of Sport for Business that you get the most from?

I think keeping up to date with the sporting landscape through the daily emails. There can be so much going on that you can miss a launch or new partnership announcement, so it’s nice to take the time each day to stop and learn.

And our Quickfire round to finish off…

Hurling/Camogie or Football?
Hurling/Camogie- hands down!

Football or Rugby World Cup

Twitter or Instagram?

Night in or night out?
Both – in equal measure!

Early bird or night owl?
Early bird.

Favourite meal?
God that’s tough- probably a Dominos meal deal!

Favourite Movie in the past twelve months?
The Joker.

Favourite Song on your playlist?
Beyonce – Crazy in Love

Favourite Book you’ve read in the past year?
Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg.

Sporting Hero?
I can’t choose one! All the Camogie players we’ve worked with over the last couple of years have amazed me. They’re serious role models for young women in Ireland. Take the likes of Amy O’Connor and Niamh Rockett (just to name a few), who have overcome adversity for their sport, absolutely kill it on the pitch but are so much craic off it. They’re just all-round lovely people. They’re the ones that drive me on to do better for the sport all the time!

Next up on Friday: Sean Brett from Liberty Insurance

If you are a member of Sport for Business and would like to take part in our Sport for Business Chats, email us today and we will be in touch.

Image Credit: Virgin Media

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