Much like the Olympics, every four years the World Cup captures the attention of the globe—and global marketers. World Cup branding is a powerful way for businesses to elevate their brand profiles and strengthen brand visibility on a global scale.
But the branding techniques used by companies during World Cup fever don’t have to be confined to once every four years. Here are some branding lessons your business can take away from the latest World Cup marketing campaigns.
Take A Risk With Something Different
World Cup advertising sponsorships aren’t easy to come by—they’re highly limited, extremely costly, and competed for fiercely. Only a handful of big brands manage to score these coveted sponsorships. Non-sponsor companies, therefore, usually arrange for star-studded branded advertising that conveys support for the game and suggests affiliation.
Image via www.nike.com
Nike, who wasn’t a sanctioned World Cup sponsor for 2014—though competitor Adidas was—managed to grab an early win by going against the trend. The company created a video, released right before the start of the tournament, that broke all the rules: it’s animated (though some of the characters are futbol celebrities), it never directly mentions the World Cup, and it’s a whopping five and a half minutes long—nearly twice the maximum length of three minutes that’s usually recommended for customer engagement.
The video, which is really a mini-film, uses subtle and strategic product placement throughout. The theme of the video’s story is “risk everything”—and it’s a risk that paid off significantly for Nike, who garnered over 65 million views and experienced more user engagement than its sponsored competitor, with less effort.
What can your business learn from “The Last Game”? When you take risks and deliver something unexpected, your brand benefits.
Be A Good Sport
When it comes to sporting events, especially global tournaments like the World Cup, passions can run high. Everyone will have their favorites, but not all of them can win. Brands in particular need to carefully monitor their support for one team over another, and be cautious when posting their sentiments in public spaces.
KLM Airlines learned the hard way with what happens when you offend your audience with your fan sentiments. The European company tweeted about Mexico’s defeat to the Holland team with a stereotyped picture of a mustached, sombrero-sporting figure next to a departure sign, captioned with the words “Adios Amigos!” The tweet went rapidly viral in a negative way, incurring backlash from the online community that included a profanity-laced attack from Hollywood A-List actor Gael Garcia Bernal tweeting his 2 million plus followers that he’ll never fly KLM again! Though KLM soon deleted the tweet, the damage had been done.
The takeaway here is to choose your brand alignment carefully, and be a good sport when it comes to wins and losses. Your brand sentiment should never offend your customers.
Link Your Offline and Online Campaigns Together
The most successful global brands present a consistent customer experience throughout all aspects and representations of their brands. One of the best ways to maintain consistency is to create links between various campaigns that will drive customer engagement on multiple channels.
During the World Cup, several brands strove for integration across channels, from television to social to mobile. Global auto manufacturer Hyundai created a particularly successful integrated World Cup campaign with television commercials that called on a popular internet meme and created a user-friendly Twitter hashtag to continue the theme online.
The video incorporates the “because something” meme that’s frequently used on social media and pop culture websites. While the subject is the Spanish team and their 2010 World Cup win, the advertisement is universal, with just one line of subtitled dialogue and the rest of the story told in actions and flashbacks. It’s funny and endearing, and the use of the #BecauseFutbol hashtag helped to engage audiences and increase Twitter activity for Hyundai.
The lesson here is that a consistent and integrated brand strategy across multiple channels can help your business succeed any time, not just during global sporting events.
What do you think?
• How can your brand capitalise on global events, even without official sponsorships?
• What are some unique ways you can present your brand, or unexpected twists you could deploy over typical marketing themes?
• How carefully are you monitoring your brand alliances to ensure you’re not offending your audience?
• What are you doing to tie your online and offline campaigns together?
• Do you create a consistent customer experience across all channels, on and offline, with your brand?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!