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Dec 10, 2019

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Gentoo Uses Orchard Digital Self-Service to Deliver Sunderland AFC Partnership Deal

Sunderland-based housing association, Gentoo, is using Orchard Digital Self-Service to deliver exclusive content and benefits to tenants as part of a season-long community partnership deal with Sunderland AFC.

Gentoo tenants who are registered with the Group’s ‘My Gentoo’ digital services platform have the opportunity to access exclusive videos of Sunderland AFC (SAFC) players talking about their homes and the reasons Sunderland is important to them. Tenants who are registered on My Gentoo will also be entered into a prize draw to win tickets to each home game at the Stadium of Light this season.

Alongside the exclusive features delivered through Digital Self-Service, the partnership also includes a series of community engagement events hosted by Gentoo and SAFC, giving tenants the chance to meet players and club management. This is in addition to a range of activities aimed at helping tenants build their skills for employment and facilitating engagement with young people, in conjunction with SAFC’s registered charity, Foundation of Light.

The new initiative is part of Gentoo’s long-standing objective to improve its digital offer to tenants and aims to deliver a significant increase in sign-ups for the My Gentoo platform. John Barnett, IT Director at Gentoo, said:

“We wanted to lure our tenants to our digital service with something that was a little bit different and we thought exclusive video content from SAFC, the city’s main football club, would be a great way to do this. There’s a huge amount of interest in SAFC, partly because of the success of the Netflix documentary “Sunderland ‘Til I Die”, but also because Sunderland is a very proud city. Tenants and residents are hugely passionate about its heritage and the club is an enormous part of that. We’re providing tenants with something they’re really interested in and we’ve already seen an early increase in subscriptions as a result.”

Having previously delivered a digital tenant platform which had been built internally, Gentoo had recently migrated to the Orchard Digital Self-Service platform to improve the security of their tenant data, as well as to expand the feature set available to tenants.

The team utilised the Digital Self-Service platform’s video features to host video securely and ensure that it was accessible only via My Gentoo. Data from Orchard is also used to power an up-to-date list of tenants registered for My Gentoo, to fuel the regular ticket prize draws.

Gentoo’s IT Director, Jon Barnett, explains how Orchard’s Digital Self-Service platform played a pivotal role in bringing the partnership with Sunderland AFC to life:

“Orchard were able to help us mobilise this within a very short timeframe. Once the concept of the partnership was approved we needed to move quickly to meet the home game fixture timetable. We had under two weeks to deliver an environment that could provide secure video delivery. A call to Orchard allowed us to deliver against that timeframe. The team explained that the platform already had the functionality to do what we needed, and that we could have it working within 24 hours. They pointed us straight to the right page in the manual. It was unbelievably quick and as this was a developed feature of the platform, it didn’t cost us anything to implement. Orchard helped us respond quickly and keep pace with the demands of our business and that’s been a huge internal boost for our reputation as well as Orchard’s!”

“Working hand in hand with Gentoo to engage with our local community is something that we are really excited by. Using bespoke digital content affords us a unique opportunity for our players to join in the conversation and interact exclusively with Gentoo tenants on their platform,” said Louise Wanless, Head of Communications at Sunderland AFC

Graham Hopson, who is the Orchard Product Manager for Digital Self-Service commented, “Digital transformation is high on the agenda for many of our customers. It is fantastic for Orchard to be involved in this partnership between Gentoo and Sunderland AFC, providing exclusive video content and promotions that will help to increase Gentoo’s customer engagement and drive up 24/7 self-service app usage.”

Find out more about Digital Self-Service here.

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