2016 is set to be a grandstand year for the Scottish Quality Management Centre (SQMC) after announcing a new sponsorship deal with Dunfermline Athletic Football Club.
Top image: Dunfermline Athletic Managing Director, Ross McArthur (left) with Kenny Hannah in front of the SQMC Stand (Photograph: Craig Brown Photography)
The Scottish SPFL League 1 leaders’ ground, East End Park, is just a mile from SQMC’s headquarters, and their huge 7 x 6 meter signage on the eastern ‘SQMC Stand’ is easily visible from one of their training suite windows.
“Dunfermline Athletic is not only our local team, but it has been operating as a fan-owned community club for the last couple of years,” said SQMC Commercial and Operations Director, Kenny Hannah. “I’ve been keen for some time for SQMC to support their new initiative and the progressive and careful regime that’s in charge of it.”
Upon unveiling the sponsorship, the club’s Managing Director, Ross McArthur said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have managed to reach agreement with SQMC to sponsor the East Stand. On behalf of the Board and everyone at the football club, I would like to thank Kenny Hannah and the team at SQMC for not only their support, but a genuine desire to assist their local community team at this time.”
A quiz for East End eggheads
As well as the visual branding of ‘The SQMC Stand’ and pitch-side, the ‘Black and White Brainteaser’ will become a feature of home match announcements for the remainder of the current season, as a trial.
“DAFC offer generous publicity opportunities to their sponsors and advertisers, and part of our deal is a plug over the Tannoys before each home game, and at half time,” explained Kenny. “However, I’m conscious that the market for short courses in business management systems is rather ‘niche’, so I thought a little bit of Pars-related football trivia would be a fun way to engage the punters.”
The SQMC Stand, traditionally known as ‘the Cowdenbeath end’ among the Pars fan base, is normally occupied by visiting supporters on match days – a fact that hadn’t escaped Kenny:
“Football gathers people from all demographics, from all around the country, and brings them right to your doorstep as they follow their favourite team. By sponsoring the ‘away end’, I hope our branding and message will resonate with individuals from our target markets – whether upskilling engineers, freelance Quality consultants, HR managers or business owners who need help getting ISO 9001 certification to successfully win their next big tender. We operate worldwide, have a satellite office in Clydebank, and host open-to-public courses in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Dunfermline.”
The key is the kingdom
“That said, promoting our name throughout the Kingdom of Fife is my primary aim at the moment.
“Although SQMC has been operating since the late 1980s, and headquartered in Fife since 1998, I’ve been conscious and frustrated whenever I’ve had conversations with local Quality Assurance professionals who tell me they drove right past us and out of Fife to attend their auditor training course – because they simply weren’t aware of our presence.
The national headquarters of the Scottish Quality Management Centre - Carnegie Conference Centre, on Fife College's Halbeath campus.
“So I’m very hopeful that this strategic promotional exercise in our locale will resolve this issue, and hopefully save some new SQMC customers some hefty travel expenses at the same time!
Solely marketing online not without risk
“SQMC invest substantially in our online presence, and actually get many students travelling from down south or overseas, because we offer certain training innovations not available anywhere else. But I’ve learned not to neglect old school, offline brand awareness, too.
“Industry in the United Kingdom faces a feasible threat of power rationing in the not-too-distant future, just as it endured in the 1970s. To safeguard continuity for SQMC in the event of internet down-time, we’re proactively considering other options for how to be known and found.
“Industry in the United Kingdom faces a feasible threat of power rationing in the not-too-distant future, just as it endured in the 1970s."
“East End Park is situated on a main artery road running through the city centre, and our advert can potentially be seen by upwards of 20,000 drivers each day. This is great exposure, and my hope is that ‘SQMC’ will be the first name someone thinks of when they need advice on business management international standards.
“The fact that our investment goes directly to such a worthy community asset – the club my family have supported since ‘the Athletic’ were competing in a major European semi final in 1969 – just makes this venture all the sweeter for me.”