When the most watched global sporting event comes along every four years, the world congregates in massive mobs to support their nations. Even the countries that miss the cut encourage their football fanatics to support those who made it. Amidst all the drama, the frenzy and the emotional rollercoaster that typifies the world cup, brands make the most of the opportunity and spread their names in association with the event.
While you might find everything you need to know about these big brands online, what is critical for entrepreneurs is the blueprint behind their success – the strategies adapted to attain the highest penetration with the lowest cost. Promotional schemes and event introduction fall under business models that are designed around these events. What’s more, we can learn a lot from these big brands irrespective of the scale and scope of our business. Concepts behind these models can be adapted and implemented smartly in local geographies to attain similarly positive results.
Fan Fests and the Influx of Supporters
With over 1 million supporters expected to swarm the vast lands of Russia, sponsors associated with FIFA have found innovative ways of reaching out to these supporters. Let’s leave the various apps designed to inform supporters and help them with their basic needs (Moscow’s Metro app is now in 7 languages) aside and only focus on the tangible for the moment. Adidas – one of the world’s most iconic sport apparel makers made the most of the World Cup through some smart spending. After closing 500 stores across Russia in 2014 following the weakened rubel, Adidas decided to focus that budget somewhere else.
With the confederations cup in 2017 and the FIFA World Cup in 2018, Adidas invested in finding efficient ways to reach every supporter. Kiosks carrying all sorts of merchandise was their answer – low operational costs with high returns. The model suits the target audience as well as the event – focus on the product while finding a temporary infrastructure that is not only futuristic but also cost-effective. All of the 1 million fans will either be at the stadiums or at the fan fests and Adidas kiosks will be loaded with merchandise. Fans don’t even have to go out of their way to find what they might like!
Nike went another way with their strategy. Owing to the kit sponsorship that Adidas secured in 2008 with Russia, they had a bit of a headstart over Nike. So Nike decided to turn the tables and find ways of engaging with football fans, players, and enthusiasts by building the Box MSK – an innovative sports facility that will take training for the youth to the next level in the near future. Situated at Gorky Park, it forms one of the most modern and iconic structures in the center of Moscow that will attract over 3000 kids just this summer. An investment for the future of the community, it has over 7300 hours of sports classes designed to educate the youth. With 10 out of 32 teams being sponsored by Nike in this World Cup, this multi-pronged approach for engagement as well as revenue has long-term goals that will solidify the brand’s position in the Russian market long after the FIFA World Cup days are over.
Global Audience, Global Goals
The world cup is a truly global event. If the influx of supporters is over a million, there are hundreds of millions watching all over the world, presenting sponsors and brands with an opportunity worldwide. Some brands have already taken this up and made some interesting moves, one of them being Budweiser. If there’s one place where you are sure to find football 24 hours-a-day, it’s England. Add to that the fanatic and fervent nature of their fans and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
As England go in with a good shout for the prized crown, the Bud Boat is surely going to make a few waves on the Thames. Set as the ultimate FIFA World Cup viewing experience, the Bud Boat allows fans to grab their buds, soak up the pre-match madness and follow their favorite team in an authentic and exclusive experience on the Thames! All of this for 10 pounds and that includes a free Bud and a red light cup! Just like this, Budweiser has activated the FIFA World Cup-related campaign in 83 different markets! Budweiser is not alone in what many refer to as business strategies that focus on visual asset creation – using the event to experiment with visual upgrades that allow for a more holistic and all-encompassing viewer experience.
Another innovator in this aspect in BBC Sport, who have come up a VR compatible world cup app that will provide the viewer with an unmatched game-time experience. VR has made headway elsewhere as well, including the official FIFA World Cup trophy tour by Coca-Cola, where VR is used for a unique photo experience. If you ever fancied a picture with Sergio Ramos or Cristiano Ronaldo, this might be a great chance to do just that! Therefore, find the best way to promote visual assets in your local geography to help your customers feel that much more special!
The Possibilities Are Endless
Your business might not have a direct relationship with football. But that doesn’t mean you can’t include it in your next campaign. Take Domino’s Pizza, for example, who came up with the new “Meat-fielder” pizza along with a host of other football-oriented pizzas. In ideas that could apply to any business in the takeaway industry, Papa John’s partnered with Virgin Red to give out a free pizza to customers on the days that England plays in the World Cup. Domino’s even released a pizza-nini sticker album inspired by the World Cup for their fans. This clearly goes to show that the scope of innovation is endless and it all depends on how you engage with your audience through relatable content.
While it was said that the World Cup would boost the country Gross Domestic Product by $26 to $30 billion over the next decade, the potential gains in market share for several brands in multiple global markets will be even higher. Whatever the monetary gains, the impact of creative innovation and adaptive implementation is what will steal the smart entrepreneur’s attention. Something as novel as sex dolls is being implemented for the first time during this World Cup with a model brothel active in Moscow offering this service! The possibilities are truly endless and so are the entrepreneurial lessons. Therefore, prepare for the next global event promptly and smartly; you might reap rewards for a long time into the future!