World Cup 2010 learning for brands

[Guest blogger: Diego Kerner, Managing Partner brandgym Latam, and leader of 360 insight] 

After thirty days of shouting, cheering up
and suffering (I am Argentinean!), the 2010 World Cup is over. As football
involves strategy to beat competition, working with teams and of course luck,
I got to thinking that must be some useful learnings for brand teams. So, blow the whistle ref, and let's go…

Have a clear game plan: interestingly, the two teams that played the finals were both
inspired by the vision of the great Dutch player Johan Cruyff. He revolutionized Dutch football in 1974 and gave birth to the Barcelona style of play today: controlling and passing the ball, managing the midfield and being simple. The same applies to marketing: having a clear game plan about how you are going to win. For example, L'Oreal tend to favour creativity and experimentation, launching lots of things and seeing what works. Reckitt Benkiser favour local reactiveness and speed of roll-out. And P&G are the US Marines: global alignment and rigour.

Screen shot 2010-07-19 at 23.09.22
Know your rival, not only your
some squads won matches during World Cup not necessarily by playing
better per se,
but due to a smart strategy to neutralize a rival´s strengths or
exploits its
weaknesses. Marketers tend to put a lot of energy on
consumers insight, but overlook competitor insight. There are some easy
ways to improve in this area. For example, with
one global client we helped understand likely competitor moves in a key
market by
analyzing what they had done in other geographies.

Screen shot 2010-07-19 at 23.09.49
– Play to peoples' strengths:
Lionel Messi didn´t shine as expected
in South Africa, mostly because he seemed to feel uncomfortable in the position
where he was played by Argentina. Similarly, it is very rare to find a brand person
that moves comfortably in – for example – very analytical and very creative
challenges. As much as you can, let everyone play to his own talents.

You need a healthy core to "defend"
your profit
: the four teams that made it to semi finals all
had as a strong defense. Many marketers neglect
their core business that "defends" the bulk of its profit) and instead
focus on the excitement of "attacking" new categories though brand
stretch. However, rather than scoring load of goals, growth tends to be
harder, more expensive
or even impossible.

In conclusion, winning in football and business requires a clear game plan that builds on insight into your consumer but also your competition and your own people. And don't forget that defending the core is as important as chasing the goal of new markets.