The Point.1888’s Hannah Stevens on creativity, St Andrews and helping sports brands soar

We caught up with Hannah to find out more about her approach to working with sports brands – and where she sees opportunities for St Andrews.

Winner of the International Rising Star award at last year’s Licensing Excellence Awards, Hannah Stevens is an integral part of UK brand extension agency The Point.1888.

As the firm’s Head of Retail and Sport, Hannah has been the driving force behind large-scale brand licensing programs across the UK retail landscape for brands like England Rugby and Team GB.

We caught up with Hannah to find out more about her approach to working with sports brands – and where she sees opportunities for one of the firm’s recent partners: St Andrews.

Hannah Stevens, The Point.1888

Hi Hannah, great to catch up! To kick off, lots of people we speak with say they ended up in this space accidentally… What was your path into working with brands?
I would like to say I purposely picked licensing … but I think a lucky find is a better description! I was lucky enough to take a short placement during my final year studying English at University in 2013. I spent six weeks at CPLG within the sports team working on the MCC and England Rugby – and I have to say I was absolutely hooked on sports licensing from there!

After graduating, I joined CPLG as a brand manager before moving into the retail team whereby I found my passion for retail! After four years I moved to the brand owner side at Coolabi before landing at The Point 1888 in 2018.

I’ve been incredible lucky since joining the Point to be able to establish the Sports Division, which within the last two years has grown hugely!

Yes, let’s talk about The Point.1888 and its Sports Division. What’s your approach to crafting brand extensions for these kinds of IP?
We are super fortunate to have the most iconic sports brands in our portfolio – I am enormously proud of them! We are absolutely delighted with the partnerships we have put in place and also what’s in the pipeline, but I’ll keep that for our next interview!

I feel at The Point we really brainstorm and strategise who that end customer is, who the retailer is to create the home for the products, and how we can bring innovative messaging to that campaign. Sports is so much more than an event. It’s history, it’s experience, it’s day-in day-out passion, so we need to ensure our products speak to that person, and invite new customers with innovation and brand love.

For example, we found a real natural crossover with Lions fans and keen golfers so we partnered with Titleist to bring an iconic range of collaborative golf product to the British and Irish Lions fanbase. They have absolutely loved it.

On Team GB, we see the real trust and love for Team GB in its authenticity as a voice in fitness, so we partnered with Micro Scooters who had incredible shared values with the brand. They brought an incredible range of products to market – with a fantastic campaign to support.

Hannah Stevens, The Point.1888

One area we’ve spoken to industry figures about recently are brand opportunities with experiential retail and hospitality. Do you feel sports brands lend themselves to these areas too, be it through exhibitions, pop-up stores or even themed hotel suites?
Absolutely! As I said, sports give a true memorable experience to each and every fan. Why not bring that to their favourite place to eat? Their dream place to stay? A museum exhibition to delve deeper into a sport you already adore? A collaborative capsule collection with limited edition pieces?

We have all so missed the feeling of ‘normality’ that sports events bring; that feeling of meeting with family and friends together to enjoy a sports event. My true ‘look ahead’ certainly sees more opportunities to bring these brands outside of products and event… And into further industries.

Last month it was announced that you guys are the brand extension partner for St Andrews. What made The Point.1888 a good fit for the IP?
From the first call, there were absolutely natural synergies with The Point’s way of thinking and the hugely innovative team at St Andrews. With our experience of brand extension across a number of brands such as Leon, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, The British and Irish Lions and more, the team can certainly find the retail homes, licensees and marketing activity to bring incredible products to life that grow and develop year on year.

What are some of the key brand values around St Andrews that potential partners should know about?
St Andrews is the Home of Golf; it is nothing short of iconic. It represents over 600 years of incredible history, with seven incredible courses, so there is a huge amount of heritage and a huge amount of future innovation happening!

St Andrews’ brand values embody openness, passion, enterprise, authenticity and responsibility. There is certainly a lot for designers at licensees to delve into!

“St Andrews’ brand values embody openness, passion, enterprise, authenticity and responsibility. There is certainly a lot for designers at licensees to delve into!”

What are the areas that hold the most potential for the brand?
We have a huge amount of excitement for the brand ahead. From collaborations through to FMCG through to gardening and beyond… We have extensive ideas flowing through the business.

Speaking of ideas, how do you fuel your creativity?
I live by my blue sky thinking; I love thinking outside the box, and we are lucky our MD – Will Stewart – encourages new ways of thinking!

As the team has grown, we have ensured we have brought in a huge wealth of creative knowledge from different industries – advertising, marketing, licensing and buying – so we feel that brings the perfect mix to our creative process.

We frequently host sessions internally to bring all brains into our planning. We also host summits with our brands to bring all the incredible detail from them to our retailers and licensees – and continue to look at new trends and innovation to bring to these brands.

Great stuff. A huge thanks for making time Hannah and good luck with all you’re doing with St Andrews!

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