Dept

Manchester

A BRAND REFRESH FOR THE WORLD'S GREATEST MARATHON

13
ICONIC EVENTS
+200,000
PARTICIPANTS
+£1bn
FOR CHARITY

London Marathon Events (LME) organises world-leading mass participation events in running, cycling and swimming that inspire more than 200,000 participants every year. Its portfolio of world-class events includes the Virgin Money London Marathon, the world’s greatest marathon, and RideLondon, the world’s greatest festival of cycling. 

As part of a major branding and digital improvement project, LME turned to Dept to refresh the branding for the company and all its events to create a distinct personality that embodies its core values, and to develop a technical solution to centralise its digital touchpoints.


CREATING A STRONG BRAND PRESENCE

London Marathon Events’ branding for its events has evolved organically over time, as new events were added to its portfolio, participant numbers increased, and sponsors and partners came on board. Its brand presence was cyclical, running in peaks and troughs throughout the year in line with its event calendar. There was a need to connect the dots across this cycle to develop a stronger presence throughout the whole year, and not just in the lead-up to its events. 

LME brings remarkable people together and celebrates personal achievements that defy all odds. For the brand refresh for the London Marathon, our team took inspiration from the joint sense of achievement shared among its community.

AN ARTISTIC REPRESENTATION OF THE MARATHON EXPERIENCE

The London Marathon interacts with millions of diverse people. We selected a photography style that captures their inspiring moments, from the intensity of crossing the finish line to the journey of past, present and future athletes. The London Marathon is not just for elite athletes; its community comprises people of all abilities from all corners of the world. Their stories are told through authentic images that put people and emotion at the heart of the message, allowing onlookers to not only visualise the events, but also share in the emotion of the experience. 

Colour is a big part of LME’s branding for the London Marathon. The distinctive red colour remains core to London Marathon, while a vibrant and versatile secondary palette has been introduced. Bringing high-energy, these secondary colours are to be used sparingly and are best placed in pairs for full effect. Gradients were also recommended to bring themes together in a natural and well-balanced way. 

Custom patterns were created, giving depth to the London Marathon brand with exciting visual elements. Dept designers digitally stitched a unique set of geometric designs to represent the ground the athletes run on, the landmarks they see en-route, and the thousands of steps they take to the finish line. For example, lines were placed at a 26.2 degree angle, which exactly matches the mileage of the London Marathon. 

COMMUNICATING BRAND PERSONALITY

Dept defined a tone of voice for the London Marathon to ensure its identity shone through. Its use of language is community-centric, encouraging its audience to be the best they can be. It uses “we” generously to reflect the sense of community, and aims to build long-lasting connections with tailored, relatable content. 

The London Marathon speaks with assured confidence and has a can-do attitude, using celebratory language. It uses positive adjectives to inject enthusiasm and carries a conversational tone that’s easily understood. 

For the typography, Dept selected round, modern typefaces to lead communications with clarity and energy. Dept also created an extensive library of type styles, named after some record-breaking marathoners.

The London Marathon logo is the most valuable brand asset, used online and offline to represent the event on the global stage. It’s a collaborative logo, always partnered with that of its lead sponsor. A set of rules were defined to place the two brand marks harmoniously side-by-side. Zones were created, separated by a key line, following formulas for clear space and scale. We also included contextual guidance for digital placements, aligning next to partners and adapting to colour. 

A SCALABLE TECHNICAL SOLUTION

The new London Marathon website was built on Sitecore Experience Platform 9.3, providing the building blocks for a complex, bespoke solution. We wanted to deliver a solution to not only meet the needs of the organisation today, but one that will evolve with the organisation in the future. 

A multi-site structure was built in the Microsoft .NET framework. The London Marathon website was standardised so that subsequent websites can easily be rolled out with a recognisable look and feel carried throughout. This simplifies content delivery and website management while maintaining different domains. Furthermore, as a central hub controls each website, all data is captured and stored in one spot making it easier to digest and react to analytics.

Configuring a headless CMS means LME has the flexibility to change how the website looks, where content is placed, and how it appears on different devices, all without needing any development support. 

Sitecore’s powerful personalisation capabilities take customer experiences to the next level. With such a mix of diverse users visiting the websites for various reasons, we wanted to create a relevant online experience for all, ensuring users find the information they need, whether it's related to a media enquiry or entry deadlines.

The website components were built within the React front-end framework. The library of JSS components presents the content, while the technical framework behind it captures data from user interactions to fuel an adaptive personalisation strategy; learning from common search enquiries and behavioural patterns to create a dynamic user experience. We’re thinking ahead, as this will enable LME to not only capture online interactions, but can also feed into mobile apps, retail kiosks, wearable devices, chatbots, connected home devices, and many other channels. 

AN ONGOING PARTNERSHIP

Dept’s creative team worked with LME to design a dynamic, scalable and future-ready brand and website for the London Marathon. The introduction of statement patterns, a vivid colour palette, clear typefaces and a branded photography style has revived the London Marathon’s identity and achieved coherence across its entire brand estate.

Dept built a website for the London Marathon that gives LME more control over its digital presence. The Sitecore Experience Platform provides far more than just content management; it has the functionality to alter the website design to reflect campaigns and key messages, all while providing key user insights. The website tightens communications with charity partners, giving them access to edit key details on the website and visibility into analytics associated with their digital advertising. Ultimately, the website has improved the digital experience for all visitors with advanced personalisation and accessibility. 

This is just the beginning. Dept’s design, UX and development teams are creating seven new websites for the parent organisation and each of its events: London Marathon Events; The Vitality Big Half; the Vitality London 10,000; the Vitality Westminster Mile; the Standard Chartered Great City Race; RideLondon, and Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine. 


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A Brand Refresh for the World’s Greatest Marathon

London Marathon Events turned to Dept to refresh the London Marathon’s brand identity, and design and build a centralised website solution for its portfolio of mass participation events.

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Dept

+44 (0) 161 6974 800 ollie.neave@deptagency.com