Football, the language of the masses

Illustration credit – Anish T K

Football to me is beyond words. Football is a Phenomenon and a World Game. And when the World Cup of a World game is happening, almost every single soul would like to have a say on anything and everything which is happening in and around the football field. Millions of people live and breathe the game and i am glad to say i am also one of them. And when it is time for Fifa World Cup; it is time for one of the biggest shows on this entire planet, in terms of impact. The buzz around is very different and like the Sony advertising campaign says; this is time when love for that #MeriDoosriCountry emerges out of you. So the time has come to figure which is your #MeriDoosriCountry.

When an event of this magnitude happens, the energy all around is at a completely different level and it automatically comes with a huge engagement opportunity for every business brand who is directly involved with it or not. The season basically starts with requests from brand owners/marketeers mentioning “why don’t we print a world cup itinerary with our logo on it”. And with that, abuse of the opportunity starts.

In todays social media frenzy environment, there are so many possibilities which a brand can tap to engage with their audiences. And i sincerely hope that brands use this opportunity more intelligently and not abuse it. For eg; a F&B brand can stay neutral and start with simply screening all the matches or take sides and create specific country fan zones. Another way could be to be give interesting match time bound offers to draw in more customers and this world cup, timing of the matches are also in favour of India audiences. Brands can give discounts based on goals scored during a match and can also create contests around Most Valuable player and many other interesting aspects around the game, teams as well as players too. It also gives a chance for local city centric brands to do interesting multimedia campaigns using radio and social media too. If used well, these 2 mediums combined with some below the line activations can work wonders.

Biggest challenge for any consumer brand is to get walk-ins to their stores during this period. For a corporate brand, i am sure the bosses will hear a lot of unique excuses from employees for not turning up on time in the morning. Infact for corporate brands, World Cup gives a chance to create great employee engagement at workplace. All digital channels from website and emails to social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter & Snapchat can be used interestingly to engage with customers and pull them out of their homes during this period. All these channels are very cost effective and has pin point accuracy and this gives a chance especially for small businesses to create interesting engagement with its consumers. Businesses can run simple prediction contests which will lead to rewards to churning out interesting content in the form of memes and even troll some players, coaches and countries too.

It is the age of social media influencers and it will be a great opportunity for brands to create content riding on the influencers traction as well as the football frenzy atmosphere. Forget the high impact influencers, i am even seeing a chance for many new influencers to emerge out during this phase too. Businesses can also look at making customers generate content on behalf of the brand and reward them, individually or in groups, with contests like Best Individual Fan or Best Team Fans during a match or for the entire tournament.

Laeeq Ali is Co-Founder of Origami Creative, a boutique Brand Management company and Chairman of CII – Young Indians Bengaluru.