menu

Shawn Parr: What Futbol and the World Cup Can Teach Us About Brand Performance

Shawn Parr: What Futbol and the World Cup Can Teach Us About Brand Performance
Advertising

The world's biggest quadrennial soccer tournament sets the stage for a branding lesson

Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
  • 21 august 2014

This year’s World Cup was without a doubt the best tournament I can remember in years. It was full of exciting games, dramatic outcomes, standout performances and unexpected surprises. What more could futbol fans ask for? After a month of watching every match intently, listening to the incessant post-game banter, and feeling the buzz and energy that came with every game, I have to say, I was in mourning the week after the finals. As I savored the tournament and all it promised, I realized that there are many important takeaways that brands can apply to their everyday game. Your company is playing in a heated, daily competition where the whistle never blows. There is no rest between seasons and your players are on the pitch every game. Like a futbol team, you’re playing for results, rave reviews and relevance, so how you play the game really matters.

Great coaches guide teams to victory
The German coach, Joachim Loew, meant business. From his sideline presence of strategically coiffed hair, crisp black shirt and total composure, he knew the game he wanted his team to play and was a master at putting the right players in the right formation every game. If you lead people, the first order of business is to coach them proactively. Understanding their talents and encouraging them to develop and grow their skills is a coach’s responsibility. Great coaches lead their team from the sideline, but do the majority of their work during training, really learning about their players and understanding what each person needs to do their individual best. As a leader you have to know your players so they feel comfortable asking for help and guidance. It is also your job to put them into teams where each player feels as though their unique skills and hard work matter in winning the game.

Winning teams know when to pass the ball
Germany controlled every game because their players knew exactly when to pass the ball. They were masters of the pass. Every player on your team should understand the role they play and how to use their skills to support the other members of the team. They should know when and who to pass the ball to, setting up the next player for success. Great players have amazing awareness of who’s around them, have perfect timing and know how to find space to pass the ball. Take a look at your executional problems, missed deadlines or relational challenges and you’ll likely find that the players on your team are holding onto the ball for too long, fumbling the pass or not passing off to the right person at the right time. Great passing is a key skill in well-timed collaboration. If you work with your team on the importance of passing and improve the timing and accuracy of the pass, you will greatly enhance your results.

Playing with the will to win, wins games and respect
The US team went into the World Cup lacking a great deal compared to their counterparts––a coach who told them they weren’t going to win, an average lineup of players (compared to the teams in their group) and their the loss of their best player was left in the locker room because of his own arrogance. The only true world-class player on the team was the goalkeeper, Tim Howard. So what did they do better than almost every other team? And why on earth did they kick England’s backside? They showed up with the will to win and the heart of a team who believed they could go all the way. It wasn’t always pretty, but they played their hearts out and played to win.

As a leader, it’s important to instill the belief in your team that they can go all the way. Talent and training gets you two thirds of the way, but the heart and the will to win define how your team plays together and what they think they can accomplish. How you play the game as a company is as important as what game you are playing and gives you a distinct competitive advantage in driving culture, team retention and overall satisfaction.

Defense matters every day and superstars don’t make a team
The Brazilian team used to conjure up expectations of poetic genius and acts of sheer futbol perfection. Every Brazilian team that preceded this one built the reputation and depth of their brand, adding to the legendary status of their golden shirts. Their most admired and feared teams had showmen, tricksters and ball masters who all worked in magical harmony, sweeping up hearts and games as they went. Looking back at Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho to name a few, these supernovas played on Brazilian teams who had a well-rounded lineup of players in offense and defense. This tournament’s Brazilian team was completely reliant on their one superstar, Neymar, and they muddled through the tournament with a totally ineffective defense.

In business, relying on a single function like sales or marketing to win the game is a road to unsustainable success. As a leader you must ensure that you build a fully-rounded team if you want to win the championship. No doubt you need to have an amazing sales and marketing front line, but you must have an equally world-class customer care team and a masterful operations team to win the long-term game. Always focus on both your offense and defense.

Play for the fans, not for yourself
The goalkeepers were among the stars of the tournament. Whether it was Tim Howard or the German keeper Manuel Neuer, they did their jobs masterfully. Rodriguez of Colombia was a wonderful surprise, and despite their theatrics, players Muller, Neymar and Robben were a joy to watch. The rise of the little guys like Ghana and Costa Rica had me on the edge of my seat. The heart and tenacity of the US, the dominant precision of Germany, the drive of the Netherlands, the spirit of Argentina honored futbol fans all over the world with incredible displays of talent, tenacity and unbelievable skills. But when all is said and done, there is no World Cup without the fans.

A futbol team, like a brand, has no relevance if it doesn’t engage, entertain and deliver results for the fans. As a leader, ensure that your brand is fan-centric, that your team plays for, and attracts, new fans, that your brand is exciting and interesting to follow, that you play the game with spirit and that you win with style and good sportsmanship. And don’t forget, the best uniforms in the tournament get noticed too.

Shawn Parr is the Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Sony, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, Kashi, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.

Image via USA Today

Advertising
Trending

How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Retail
Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Related Expert

Bertrand Piccard

Solar Power, Aeronautics, Travel

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned Teaching 7th Grade Math

Bree Groff, Managing Director at NOBL NYC, shares her secrets for knowing your employees and enabling a team

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

No search results found.