A discerning marketer would tell you that this year (at least for Nigeria) is predominantly divided into two phases. Phase one being Football, a language that plays an integral role in constituting the fabrics of our society.
It is not uncommon to see people of seemingly different ethnic backgrounds argue passionately about the teams
they support and even go the extra mile to settle rift over football.
Football possesses a strong unifying power that permeates into the hearts of many and often times evokes a spirit of patriotism and nationalism. Many still grin when they remember the miss of Aiyegbeni or RashidiYekini’s goal celebration in 1994
One of such game is the 2018 world cup hosted by Russia. This year would see a number of entrants particular from Africa who has about 5 teams representing them including our dear Nigeria. This would be a great time for fans across the world to see their countries and club players battle on a global scale for the top prize. But also a time for brands to speak the football language.
The second phase needs no introduction, as acts and actions are daily surfacing with all of them pointing towards the 2019 Nigeria election, hindsight has shown us that politics plays a pivotal part in Africa.
Plans are already in motion by political parties and candidates to win Aso Rock. While brands might be able to secure equity during the first phase, the second is at the very least a danger zone, any thoughtless association, a careless tweet, an unguided comment, can crumble a brand’s equity in no time.
The only entity constant through these phases is the audience, the consumer, the one who brands would jostle for his attention, whom politicians would fight for his vote. He is the end user whose major concern is how the team he supports would win the world cup, how Nigeria can be a better place irrespective of who is in power.
The world cup is a good opportunity for brands to creatively leverage on the game and get their messages to their target audience without going out of the rules if you’re an official sponsor.
A key element that would be going through the war rooms would be how to gatecrash the world cup, dominate the conversation and win both online and offline.
It is worthy of note that official sponsors of the world cup with a presence in the Nigeria market, you could tell, already have a playbook devoted to the world cup, they couldn’t wait for the new year.
But hey you don’t pay that lump sum only to keep quiet. In all these brand shenanigans that would be happening, few things should be borne in mind.
First is to Put your consumers First, don’t be swayed by the assumptions that because it is the world cup, your consumers would automatically be interested in it. Football is a powerful entity no doubt, but what does your brand stand for. “The whole world will be watching the game”, is hyperbole that when unpacked would show you the specific audience it appeals too. Before you invest in creative efforts asks yourself if your consumers would be the most interested to see your communication materials during the games.
Next is to leverage with purpose, it’s a given that globally, the spotlight would be shone on Russia, most of the conversations on social and peer to peer interactions would largely be about the activities on the pitch but let your brand not be the bandwagon who hops in aimlessly. Let it be guided by empathy and a goal at the end. A clearly defined purpose would determine if you actually need to associate your brand with the big game or not.
Be Creative but don’t be a Joke. Agreed, your audience might be watching but don’t because of you trying to do something different, you turn out to be the joke in the room, an ongoing ad on BBNaija can attest to that. Stretch your boundaries of creativity, explore the uncharted areas (if any ?) but ensure your output is not dead on arrival. And before you spend that much money on media make sure it is worth it.
As the 2018 World Cup approaches, should every brand really leverage on it?