The VP of Global Public Relations at Aon Coporation has made contact with me in regards to their sponsorship deal which will start this summer. He’s given me some basics about what the company is all about and how they see their involvement with the club.
In layman’s terms, what does Aon do?
Aon is the world’s leading insurance broker and risk consultant. Headquartered in Chicago, it has
more than 36,000 employees in 120 countries. Approximately 5,400 employees work within its U.K.
As an insurance broker, Aon’s role is to find the best insurance solution for businesses, people and
governments across the world. This is managed by Aon’s largest business, Aon Risk Services,
whose clients seek advice and solutions on a wide variety of risks, ranging from natural catastrophes
to employee injuries and terrorism strikes.
When finding insurance for its clients, Aon Risk Services has access to all of the world’s insurance
markets. One of the main insurance markets is in London, where the world renowned Lloyd’s of
London is based. The U.S. and Asia are also key insurance markets.
Insurance companies often require insurance for the risks they face. This is known as reinsurance
and is managed by a separate Aon business called Aon Benfield. Aon Benfield is the largest
reinsurance broker in the world.
Aon’s third key business is Aon Consulting, which advises companies on numerous issues, including
their pension and benefit schemes, how to reward their employees and how to recruit and retain the
very best people, Aon Consulting is one of the world’s leading employee consulting companies.
Aon is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AON. In 2009, Aon’s reported
revenue was $7.6 billion.
Why was the Man United/Aon partnership attractive?
Manchester United invited just a few firms to tender for the key sponsorship of its team, and so we are
very pleased to be selected. While Aon is already the world’s leading insurance and reinsurance
broker, we wanted to build brand recognition outside of our immediate sector and establish a global
platform to communicate the value we bring to people and businesses. We felt that partnering with
Manchester United – football’s most recognized brand – was the perfect way to do this.
What was appealing about football – and Manchester United specifically?
Football is dynamic and competitive, and appeals to a global audience. It transcends cultures and
people, and brings communities together like no other sport. It goes without saying that for Aon to
become part of this high energy environment is extremely exciting. Like Aon, Manchester United has
a truly global reach. The club has a great pedigree, and shares both our ambition for worldwide
appeal and our pursuit of excellence. This partnership allows us to bring the Manchester United brand
into our core business areas, and will help us to grow in emerging insurance and reinsurance
markets, such as parts of Asia, where the Manchester United brand is very strong. The Manchester
United shirt is an iconic image in the world of sport, and the chance to appear on it is very rare – Aon
is only the fourth company to do so in history of the club.
How will this partnership work?
This is a four-year global partnership and brand sponsorship agreement starting in June 2010. In
addition to having Aon’s logo on the Manchester United shirt from the 2010/11 season, the
sponsorship will present opportunities for joint product marketing and services to clients. We feel that
2 tremendous benefits will arise from having our brand exposed to the millions of fans across the world
that follow the team every day.
Was the sponsorship of the team a big decision for Aon in the current economic climate?
The economic downturn has affected virtually all businesses, but we felt that we had to continue to be
forward thinking in our attitude and our approach. An opportunity such as this to build a world
recognized brand rarely presents itself, and it seemed that we should grab it now and reap the
rewards in the years to come. We feel fortunate to be in a position where we could seriously consider
an opportunity of this scale.
How do you rate the Manchester United brand?
The club should be commended for the way it has marketed itself globally. Most football fans, whether
they support Manchester United or not, would agree that the club has helped spread interest in the
English Premiership throughout the world, which has benefited all teams in terms of more lucrative
television rights and sponsorship deals. As the main sponsor of Manchester United, Aon will benefit
from its association with the international appeal of the Manchester United brand. For instance,
anyone who has traveled throughout Asia will know that many countries in the region have taken
Manchester United and Premiership football to their hearts in as passionate a way as the club’s
domestic fans. We would like to assure all Manchester United fans that they will see a very committed
partner in Aon – we will be more than just a name on the shirt.
Manchester United is very active on the charitable front. How will Aon participate?
Aon has always taken seriously its community responsibilities. Our mantra is that we give back to
those communities in which we do business, and considering we do business in more than 120
countries, this leaves us a wide scope for charitable work. In partnering with Manchester United, we
have the opportunity to work with a club that shares our values in this regard. When considering this
sponsorship, Manchester United’s “United for UNICEF“campaign was particularly appealing. There is
no other sport that teaches young people the principles of teamwork and striving for excellence as
much as football, and there is no other sports organization in the world that teaches the values of
UNICEF as well as Manchester United.
Next week we will be publishing questions from the fans about Aon, so feel free to leave your questions in the comments below. Whilst all good questions will be asked, we should expect that some won’t be answered, so rather than going down the “Glazer is a cock, isn’t he?” route, try and think a little more creatively.