James Cole, formerly Commercial Director at leisure management company, 1Life, has joined TA6 – the marketing and training division of Alliance Leisure, as Head of Partnerships. Cole will report directly to Paul Woodford, Director of Marketing and Partnerships and will be responsible for working with the team to develop and deliver successful community engagement campaigns on behalf of the growing TA6 portfolio of leisure operator clients.
Having joined 1Life in 2005, Cole has spent the last 16 years delivering commercial success across multiple sites and product lines. Since the start of 2021, Cole has held the national role of Commercial Director, responsible for financial performance across 20 local authority owned leisure facilities, resulting in a collective annual turnover of more than £20 million.
I am super excited to welcome James onto the senior team at TA6. He will join myself, John Leaver and Neil Harrison in leadership roles and will work with a dedicated account manager, along with our inhouse digital and creative teams, to design and deliver impactful campaigns that drive customer engagement and deliver a great return on marketing spend. James has an incredible level of experience and skillset that will benefit all our clients both now and in the future.
James officially joined the TA6 team on May 26. His immediate priority is to get up to speed with current project commitments whilst also preparing to lead new contracts with Trafford Leisure and Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust.
James says: “I have always had a huge amount of respect for both Alliance and TA6. I was looking for a new challenge and through the role with TA6 I believe I have found it. Over the last 16 years I have learnt that teamwork and partnerships are absolutely essential to success. I am looking forward to using my skills in both areas, coupled with my commercial experience to make a valued contribution to the continued growth of TA6.”
James’ introduction coincides with an expansion of John Leaver’s Head of Marketing remit which will see additional support for the development side of the business as well as a continued active involvement with TA6. John comments: “Alliance has seen tremendous growth over recent years and greater opportunities to support the public sector develop their leisure facilities. I’m looking forward to promoting the great work we do and showcasing how Alliance and TA6 can work with more operators to make a real difference to the leisure sector.”
So now it’s time to meet the real James as we put the important questions to him…
You’ve just won the lottery, what’s your first purchase?
Always wanted to do my own ‘Grand Design’ house build, so probably a nice big plot of land with some great views.
Favourite holiday destination – before kids and then with kids?
Mexico before kids, center parcs with kids.
Share a proud moment you’ve had within the industry?
As General Manager, winning ukactive award for Centre of the Year and achieving Quest ‘Excellent’ in the same year.
You’re cooking tonight, what’s on the menu?
Chicken Jalfrezi with a nice naan.
Do you follow a football team? Summarise their season in 2 words.
Aston Villa… Phillipe Coutinho
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Taller… still hoping!
Top song on your favourite playlist?
Right now, its Kenny Loggins ‘Danger Zone’ – Excited for the new Top Gun and it’s a great track when you are doing HIITS on a treadmill.
Move night in, what film are you putting on?
The Godfather part 2 if I’m on my own… if I’m with the wife… something like ‘The Notebook’
If you’ve got a bucket list, what’s the next thing you’re planning on ticking off?
I would like to experience some live European football and I can’t wait around for Villa any longer. Perhaps I will go to the Bernabeu or Camp Nou and watch one of the Spanish giants.
TA6 welcomes Emma Kapur
The team at TA6 are delighted to welcome Emma Kapur as Marketing Account Manager.
For the last four years, Emma has been applying her multi-channel marketing skills to the promotion of products and services delivered by Achieve Lifestyle – a charitable leisure trust managing leisure and spa facilities in Egham and Addlestone, Surrey.
Emma says: “I am really looking forward to starting my exciting new role with the TA6 team. My Marketing Manager role at Achieve Lifestyle enabled me to plan and execute a range of marketing campaigns for lead generation and member retention, using both digital and offline channels. I can’t wait to share my knowledge of marketing and my experience within the leisure industry with a portfolio of TA6 clients so that, together, we can drive participation and engagement in physical activity across the nation.”
Emma will be responsible for the day-to-day planning, management and delivery for a number of TA6 clients, reporting directly to John Leaver, Head of Marketing.
Speaking of her appointment, John says: “Emma is a valuable addition to the growing TA6 team. As well as her marketing experience, Emma is also a qualified personal trainer, exercise to music instructor and Level 2 childrens’ fitness instructor. It’s fantastic to have somebody so obviously passionate about the sector joining our team. I’m really excited about what we can all achieve together over the coming months.”
Meet the rest of the TA6 team here.
The interview started with Woody being asked, what sales and marketing challenges did he see gym operators facing during the next 12-months as the UK recovers post-pandemic?
Changing, developing, growing and moving your sales and marketing on will be crucial; operators who just go back to their pre-Covid acquisition strategies are going to struggle and even fail.
The fitness sales marketplace has changed dramatically; consumers have had more than a year to reflect on where they direct their spend, if indeed they direct it our way at all.
For too long our sector has focused on short term, price-led promotions to drive interest. It’s time to step up and develop brand-led, inspiring campaigns that focus on why your facility is the right fit for the target market you’re trying to attract.
Think of your brand as a person, with a clear personality and passion. Your brand values are like that person’s DNA – the commitments they live by. Your brand vision is what drives and defines that passion; use this vision to create the energy and clarity your team need to deliver.
For operators who wish to revisit their brand, where should they begin?
When we build/develop brands we focus on vision, mission, goals, values, commitments and messages. We use these triggers:
1. The Why – what’s your purpose? What impact do you want to have? Who are you aiming your offer at?
2. The What and the How – this is all about your venues and your products … what you offer, and your people and your pricing
3. Identity and Personality – what’s the essence of your brand? What are your core values? These needs to be relatable, believable and unique to you
4. Tone of voice – what emotions and passions are you looking to evoke in your customers with your messaging?
The key here is to ask: does your brand make a difference to customers’ wellbeing? Your facility is just one element of your product that contributes, but there is so much more you can offer. Customers need to feel they are part of something bigger than just a club.
The marketplace is noisy and marketing spend is lower than ever. Rather than the ‘outside to in’ marketing approach most take, focus on an ‘inside to out’ campaign, using real member stories to inspire new customers, using your community as a lure.
The interview continued with Woody being asked about how whether he felt the sector was damaged from 2020, as well as giving some advice on how operators can focus on getting back to normal. Read the full interview here.
Alliance Leisure and TA6 Receive Silver Investors in People Award
Alliance Leisure and TA6 are thrilled to announce that, following an assessment process, we have been awarded Investors in People’s We invest in people, silver accreditation.
Silver is a fantastic achievement and something only 20% of the organisations we assess achieve.
It means that the right principles are in place but more than that, it means that our people and leaders are making active efforts to make sure that there’s real consistency, and everyone in the organisation feels the effects.
Alliance Leisure and TA6 received some truly outstanding scores and results, including a first ever instance of a full 100% of staff answering that they trust the leaders of their organisation. Other results include:
We are committed to maintaining this and improving the experience and opportunities for our Team even further.
When is a Marketing Agency Not a Marketing Agency?
At TA6 we often find it difficult to explain what we do. Not because we don’t know, but because we have such a range of services it is difficult to define us as one type of business. We find it easy to use the terms ‘Marketing Agency’ and ‘Training Provider’ but it always feels like we’re undervaluing the extent of our support.
TA6 was created 3 years ago and had previously been operating since 1999 as the support division of Alliance Leisure.
It is still very much a key part of Alliance Leisure and the name itself is born from the post code of our head office. But back in 2017 we felt it was right to define the support team with their own brand and identity. No longer would clients assume that Alliance did marketing ‘on the side’ or that training wasn’t a core part of our business.
Since 2017 the team has grown, our client list has grown and our reputation has exceeded our expectations, proving it was the right move at the right time. But we still face the question of what does TA6 do? And its simple really, we do 3 things:
⚡ Drive income and make leisure sustainable
⚡ Empower and develop the leisure sector workforce
⚡ Improve the health and wellbeing of the nation
Therefore to label ourselves as just a marketing agency or just a training provider serves to undervalue the impact we make with our clients.
You can download our marketing brochure here and take a look at the range of marketing services we provide, but what this won’t explain is the support we provide on reviewing pricing policies, analysing the culture of an organisation and supporting the senior management team to make a positive difference, being a critical friend who can challenge ways of working that may need a review, or mentoring a duty manager team to take commercial ownership of the business and drive income and success.
A marketing agency will often charge a retainer or offer a fixed service agreement for a set amount of services. TA6 does this, but we also feel we go beyond a simple contractual arrangement. If you talk to our clients you’ll hear how we become an integral part of their staff and management team – a true partner to the organisation and not simply a supplier.
And finally, if an operator does want to work with us in a marketing agency capacity then they are working with a team of leisure managers, personal trainers, sports coaches, leisure consultants and group fitness instructors who specialise in an industry they all hold a passion for.
When it's TA6.
If you’d like to explore opportunities to work with us complete your details below and one of the team will be in touch.
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