MCC head of comms to take on marketing remit in drive to reposition brand

Marylebone Cricket Club's head of media and communications Lauren Best has been promoted to head of marketing and communications from the 1 July. The 'Home of Cricket' is turning to PR to drive an ambitious new marketing and communications programme, PRWeek can reveal.

The spiritual 'home of cricket' – Lord's.
The spiritual 'home of cricket' – Lord's.

Best joined the MCC in November as its head of media and communications from the Lawn Tennis Association.

She told PRWeek cricket has "an exciting few years ahead of it" and the MCC has been developing plans to capitalise, engage more people and reach new audiences. This includes setting up MCC’s first media advisory group and having a bigger focus on its community projects.

"Our commercial operations will continue to be a priority, including our successful Lord’s Tours and bespoke events like Lord’s Dining Club, which invites Michelin-starred chefs to take over the Long Room. Of course, our bread and butter is continuing to promote and sell tickets and hospitality to our games at Lord’s, and PR has an integral role to play in all those areas," Best said.

"PR hasn’t had a big part to play within the marketing mix traditionally at MCC, but now we have a much more balanced approach, which is what is needed in today’s competitive media world. If done well, all areas can complement one another to drive stronger results and more authentic touch points."

Best said the MCC’s brief with its PR agency partner Run Communications elevates the role of PR and communications within the marcoms mix, with a stronger focus on these disciplines than Lord’s and the MCC has ever had before.

"It’s an exciting challenge for the business to understand how PR and communications can support our objectives that are much wider than just marketing and traditional corporate communications," she explained.

"Being able to focus more on owned and earned media, as much as still investing in paid for media is driving positive results already."

Lauren Best will be responsible for marketing and stakeholder engagement from July.

Best’s wider remit will include responsibility for marketing and stakeholder management with a closer look at how media, stakeholders and influencers can support the business more widely.

"When we went through our briefing process with all of our agencies, PR came out the strongest in terms of what we wanted to deliver and the audiences we are trying to target," Best explained.

"I want to make our offer more engaging and relevant. In this instance, PR could do a lot more for us than what our traditional marketing programme had been doing."

The aim is to reposition Lord’s beyond just being an iconic cricket ground so that it "has a place in the social calendar" much in the same way as Royal Ascot, Henley, Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon.

This includes promoting special events to specific audiences, like the Lord’s Dining Club (pictured below), which this year includes dinners with Tommy Banks and Michael Caines.

Michelin-starred chefs and special guests take part in Lord's Dining Club events.

Aside from one of the biggest summers of cricket in its history – which includes hosting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and The Ashes test series – next year the MCC will host a new format of cricket called The Hundred, which is a two-hour, 100-ball per innings version of cricket targeted at younger audiences.

Best said being able to creatively reach new, non-traditional audiences will be key to the success of the MCC’s marketing and communications programme and repositioning the brand "beyond the stereotypes that have been wrongly associated with MCC for too long".

She added: "It’s really about showcasing what a wonderful and forward-thinking organisation it is and one I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more over the last few months."

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