World Cup 2014: Do You Believe in Your Brand?
The crowd was hushed as throngs of people wearing red, white and blue paint on their faces eagerly awaited. Over the distance, many more people wearing the same colors filed in and out of the stadium bearing all sorts of things from popcorn, soda cans, french fries and more.
Something important was happening on the playing field. You could tell that it was important as the crowd issues a collective gasp. Then there was silence.
Just then, one man among the many in the crowd courageously stood up.
With a determined look on his face he surveyed the legions upon legions of tense people who looked like they were waiting for their impending doom.
Mustering all his strength and courage he drew his breath and bellowed.
"I...", shouted the man.
"I believe..." A few people looked at him oddly, while many simply ignored him.
He brushed off the momentary embarrassment and said it louder the second time around.
"I believe that..." People were paying attention now. Just then, a man with some sort of drum looked at him. They saw and nodded to each other. They understood.
He began drumming with his hands with a blazing fervor.
"I believe that we..." There were now two people chanting the same lines. A few more stood up to give the exercise more power.
"I believe that we will..." Five more stood up. Among them many determined faces that looked like they were ready for battle. It only takes a few more people before everybody was on their feet.
"I believe that we will win!"
The drums gave it a rhythmic beat.
"I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”
Everybody was now shouting at the top of their lungs. They were jumping in unison and collectively chanting.
Brands, Groups and Emotions
Groups of people are only spurred to action by belief. And it’s not just belief. It is strong belief tied to emotions. The FIFA World Cup not only created belief, it also drove group emotions that are hard to replicate in any other setting. Whether it’s in the actual stadium, a sports pub in London, an apartment living room or a house somewhere in Germany or New York, emotions and belief are the two most powerful elements in the world. Elements that when properly utilized could convince people to decide and buy.
ESPN drives this point across strongly by eliciting strong nationalistic fervor in a country with a sports affiliation that is strongly tied to its own brand of football: the USA. It did so with astounding success.
Google Inc., was also quick to capitalize on the phenomenon by embedding scores, schedules and team standings in its search results. Not only that, through its Google Play app store, it managed to push many Android apps with World Cup relevant uses in the mobile scene. One of these is the Waze social GPS app. Of course, who could ignore the Google World Cup Doodles or the countless YouTube videos and advertising campaigns?
World Cup Memory and Association
Brands have to keep pace these days when there’s just too many competition going around. It’s so hard to get heard when there are thousands of voices all shouting their own messages. The key to brand recall is memory. Strong memories of something or anything are tied to association or things that people could relate to. In an emotionally charged sport such as football it’s easy to get remembered if you are in the right place and in the right moment.
For instance, if you have seen the entirety of the video above: “I Believe” on this blog post, name at least two brands that you can remember or associate with it. I’m fairly certain that you’d say ESPN and Nike. The white letters emblazoned in a black background amidst the furor of a crowd chanting “I believe that we will win” gets its message across very clearly: Just Do It.
Link association to people’s everyday lives, bandwagon and group mentality then you have a marketing bonanza that’s not just memorable, but also concise and strong.
You may be noting that this experience only applies to fans and aficionados of the sport. What about the people who don't care much for football or the World Cup? This is where social media comes in. The average social media consumer has about give or take 160 friends on Facebook. One or maybe more of those friends may have an affinity for the game. The moment they post about it and if they are successful in linking a positive experience to the game such as a funny joke or a breathtaking goal - curiosity then sets in.
Questions begin to linger on the mind of the uninterested party.
For instance, take note of the following:
"Who is Tim Howard?" On Good Morning America's Twitter account, they posted the picture of "Tim Howard for President 2016".
"Why is Tim Howard considered an 'All New American Hero'?" (Telegraph.uk)
"What is he wearing?" (After googling "Tim Howard", I see that he's wearing something black with a familiar white check mark!)
These questions spur curiosity. When people are curious, they take an extra effort to learn more. And as they learn more, certain things in the background such as little check marks on a soccer jersey get embedded and more importantly, associated with something that they are beginning to take an interest in.
An American teenage boy who wants to learn more about the sport, then messages his friends so that they could get together and play football. Then they'd discuss things about the sport, what's cool about it and the conventions that brands placed in the right moment and in the right time have embedded deep in the subconscious mind. And from there, marketing magic begins to happen.
Are you thirsty from watching all that exciting football action? What soda would you drink?
Creative Commons Image via Flickr
About Daniel Andrei Garcia
I'm a newly minted PRC licensed real estate broker legally authorized to practice real estate services here in the Philippines. I'm also a blogger and writer. Hope to hear and learn more from you!