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Vive la France! The last game is in the record books, and as the New York Times wrote, “France was the best team in the field this summer in Russia, a potent mix of greatness, grit and good fortune.” While ‘good fortune’ is never guaranteed, marketing and PR professionals can learn some lessons from the winners—and losers—of this year’s soccer tournament.
Hit Your PR & Marketing Goals with Soccer-Inspired Learnings
Even if you aren’t a big soccer—or ‘football’—fan, you couldn’t escape mentions of the games across the media landscape. Take a look at what we discovered from our own buzz monitoring.
Big players can be beat. The #1 soccer powerhouse, Germany, went down to the underdog team from Mexico. Brazil, a perennial leader with five titles under its belt, played to a draw against the Swiss and then went down in a stunning loss to Belgium. Shockers like these aren’t unknown in the sporting world, but they serve as proof that if you bring your A-game when making a PR pitch or launching a marketing campaign, you can score points—even when you’re up against a tough media contact or competitor.
It’s the team, not the individual, that wins. Stand-out players fueled plenty of buzz throughout the tournament, but their individual successes didn’t lead to victory. Luka Modric, for example, won the Golden Ball for his outstanding tournament play, but it wasn't enough to bring Croatia the win in the end. France was loaded with stellar players—N’Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé—but they won because the team played to each other’s strengths, overcame obstacles as a group, and left their egos at the door to earn the trophy.
One moment can overshadow all the good will you’ve earned. If you did any social listening during the tournament, you could not miss the tweets and memes blasting Brazil’s power forward, Neymar Jr. Certainly one of the top players in the world, Neymar’s over-the-top histrionics during play made him one of the top tweeted players for all the wrong reasons. In the aftermath of what clearly was a foul against Neymar, USA Today reported, “The problem for Neymar here is that he's built a reputation as arguably the best actor in the world, and he's writhed in pain and done barrel rolls down the field in an attempt to draw fouls and cards multiple times over the last two weeks.” We’ve seen how a viral social media post can be equally damaging to a brand’s reputation, so establishing a social listening process is critical to spotting potential problems before they achieve meme status.
Keep your eye on the ball and take aim with precision. It works on the soccer field, and it works with PR and marketing too. Players watch game film to analyze their own play and their opponents’. When you set your PR and marketing goals, you have to do the homework to achieve them. That means diving into media monitoring and analytics to capture valuable insights about your brand voice and reach or what your competitors are doing. It also means developing a wealth of information about your media contacts, so you can get creative and deliver relevant, compelling pitches that score the interest you’re trying to generate.
Do you have the right playbook and technology to deliver the big wins?