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Can any business benefit from the World Cup hype?

By Tim Fuell - June 12, 2014

Today sees the start of the football World Cup in Brazil. This 2014 competition is about to become the most digitally connected football event ever.

Image courtesy of bpplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bpplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Already several brands – many not even official sponsors – have signalled an intent to set up what are effectively social media newsrooms during live games so that they can ‘react and impact’ on the events as they unfold and build them into their marketing campaigns. That’s fine if you have a multi-million pound budget but what if you are like the majority of businesses in this country and are loath to spend money you may never get a return for?

Well there are certain tactics anybody can employ to get into the spirit – grand sporting events invariably lead to spending sprees by consumers heartened by a feel-good factor. There are also certain restrictions to avoid ambush marketing and to protect the brand of the World Cup and also the investments made of the official sponsors. Those limitations are set out in a fairly dull document but important nonetheless and rather than summarise and risk missing relevant points to you, it is advisable you read them yourself first off.

So you are not an official sponsor. You are not a big multi-national sporting brand with bundles of resources to bring creativity to a new level. You are however a progressive business who would like to be part of the lift this Brazilian World Cup is likely to bring. Here’s some top tips on getting a piece of the action based on how this World Cup will be different from those that have gone before:

Social brands will score

Since the last World Cup in 2010, the number of Twitter users has doubled and social media is for many a vital part of their day. This tournament, matches will be played out at a time that shouldn’t clash with most businesses hours, but given the social traffic that will be about before, during and after these matches, it could pay for you to ensure out of hours social media support is on hand. Social is often alive with the things previously reserved for ‘pub talk’ or ‘water cooler moments’. Topical but not necessarily work-related. Businesses however can join in those conversations- making sure there is some relevancy to their business or audience and thus enjoy increased engagement. Give your business personality. Perhaps announce the results of the office sweepstake, or who you have chosen for your fantasy dream team. Is there a Brazilian connection with your business, or perhaps even try a video of you Sambaing!

Watching coverage needn’t limit movement

Another massive technology shift since the last World Cup is that of streaming TV. The BBC have announced they will be streaming their coverage live for free online as well as making post-event stuff available on their iPlayer service. With 3G capable offering acceptable data levels for live streaming sports – 4G even more so – expect to see many going about their usual routines, but with one hand and eye on a tablet or smartphone during the big games. If you run a venue or a even a retail outlet or restaurant, there could be potential for you to market a free WiFi service for these sorts of people, but be aware of the massive data pull this may lead to and potentially the dropping out of your internet access completely or potentially massive bills for usage if not planned correctly.

Consider clever paid media campaigns

First to the market always offers you a competitive advantage and if you can be creative and reactive with your paid media as the tournament develops, you could nab a prestigious spot on search pages for a relatively small investment. Of course, once others catch on that investment will probably go beyond your reach, but hopefully not before you have been able to take an advantage. Look out for trends in the crowd, maybe catchphrases of the commentators, or just incidents of note that people will soon be searching for and you can hook into the services or products you offer.

Reaction times will get faster

Image: DigitalArt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: DigitalArt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First to market will win, so if something happens during the tournament that draws upon the emotions of the watching public, you can expect one clever wit will have a meme featuring a picture and clever comment over it going viral across social networks and email boxes within minutes – it is why the big brands have invested in the dedicated newsrooms. Yet, you don’t need massive resources to win, you just need to be clever and quick. Could that be you? The thing about memes is that they don’t necessarily need to be directly associated with your business offering. Just make sure you include a near URL and logo on whatever you create and if you tweet from your business account, leave enough characters over in the message for people to re-tweet with their own comments.

Use the tools to hand

The content team at Twitter are truly embracing the World Cup this year and one of the tools that can add an extra vibe to your tweets are their hashtag hashflags. Adding a bit of colour to your tweets, using the relevant abbreviations and hash you can add country flags to your tweets throughout the World Cup. Using the following three letter country codes you i) prove to your customers you understand social ii) prove you have a bit of personality too: The World Cup Twitter flags list 

world cup twitter flags part 1

Group A: #bra #cro #mex #cmr
Group B: #esp #ned #chi #aus 
Group C: #col #gre #civ #jpn
Group D: #uru #crc #eng #ita
Group E: #sui #ecu #fra #hon 
Group F: #arg #bih #irn #nga 
Group G: #ger #por #gha #usa
Group H: #bel #alg #rus #kor

Whatever you do marketing wise this World Cup, don’t ignore it. Even if you are not a sports fan be aware many are and many who are not usually engaged will be. That doesn’t mean you also have to jump on board, but we aware that the impact of anything else you try to do will probably be adversely affected by attentions being drawn elsewhere.