As a result of Populus research, the English and Wales Cricket Board was able to:

“You have without doubt had a significant impact on the future of cricket.

The insights from the work were taken all the way up to our board and are now foundational to our strategy moving forward.

We are really pleased with the output and the seismic shift in our understanding of our audience.”

Samuel Carter, Senior Insights Manager, England and Wales Cricket Board.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had a problem. They were concerned that recreational cricket players’ needs weren’t being met by existing cricket opportunities. They wanted to understand what people wanted from a recreational cricket experience in 2018, and beyond.

Populus delivered foundational strategy work comprising insight-driven understanding of the cricket playing landscape, which the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) – the national governing body for all cricket in England and Wales – has used to make investment decisions.

It will continue to help shape cricket for years to come, directing the significant investment the ECB makes in the recreational game, from development of facilities to supporting clubs and leagues. It is critical to the ECB’s stewardship of the game, as it enables investment in those areas that will have most impact on participation; this case study looks at how Populus worked alongside the ECB to maximise business impact.

The challenge

The ECB had a challenge. They needed to:
  1. Inform and enable strategic decision-making regarding new propositions to engage new and existing cricket players
  2. Map out opportunity spaces in the recreational playing landscape from both a player and occasion perspective
  3. Develop and communicate the landscape to the ECB, diffusing insight throughout the business including up to board level
  4. Make cricket inclusive and accessible for a breadth of audiences

What we did

We undertook comprehensive analysis, using innovative statistical modelling and weighting, to describe the landscape at both a player and playing occasion level.

We mapped the playing landscape to the ECB’s existing segments, providing a detailed understanding of cricket-playing across all respondents, which the ECB could confidently incorporate into its strategy. This in places both challenged and confirmed the ECB’s prior understanding of its market.

From the outset, project was built around key senior stakeholders to inform and enable decision-making.

The research team acted as an extension of the insight function, working closely with senior stakeholders. Three workshops with senior decision-makers were held where the research team fed back on progress and aided stakeholders’ decision-making strategy with a focus on attracting lapsed and lapsing players, and increasing engagement.

The result?

Research-infused strategy to engage lapsed to attract and retain the next generation of cricket, and beyond.

The research identified a series of opportunity spaces pinpointing where there was an interest or desire to play cricket in a particular way. It also provided specific outcomes for how to capitalise on each opportunity space, such as the repositioning of current offerings.

Populus’s research gave ECB a clear direction on opportunity spaces strategy at every stage. The research gave ECB robust answers in order to effectively answer key business questions.

The research and approach allowed ECB to agree an approach to lapsed and lapsing players, developing an engagement plan and laying the foundations for future growth: this research provides an opportunity to reach two million new players.

A wide range of departments across the ECB will benefit from Populus’s research. The insights team will evaluate and monitor new products offered as a result of this piece; a cross-section of departments will collaborate with the Participation and Growth department in creating and developing new formats; and the ECB’s marketing department now has a clear understanding of players’ desires.