Sports & Business. Not that stupid after all?

Tactics Board from sports apllied to the world of business

Tactics Board from sports apllied to the world of business

A category of this blog bears the label “sports”. The articles within this section always link sports with business.
The posts aim to simplify more complicated business stuff by giving examples from the world of sports. In addition it strives to learn lessons from sports and apply them in a business kind of sphere.

Up until now, the sports category has 6 posts. The reason for that is that I always wondered whether this specific endeavour made any sense at all. Or as my last post finished :

Can businesses learn something from sport? Or is sport just sport?

I believe we can transfer insights from one societal aspect to another. Below are two cases from other people that back up this point. The question remains ‘why’ however.

Sport is not just sport. Content Marketing Strategy is like football.

Below is a free translation of a sports analogy used by: @steven_insites in a Dutch Marketing Magazine so to explain content marketing.

It’s like Football.

Developing a content conversion strategy is similar to putting together a football team. And it’s all about scoring in football. But in order to score the team must get the ball to the striker. Some teams use long passes to get there, others carefully advance through short passes. But in the end the ball needs to cross the line.

The marketer is the coach, the team composer. It’s up to him to decide how to get the ball crossing the line. But anyway, don’t expect to win without a proper strategy.

Sport is not just sport. The Jeremy Lin example.

Learnings from Jeremy Lin

Learnings from Jeremy Lin

Another case demonstrating that learnings from sports can be transferred to business is the story of Jeremy Lin. This case deals with basketball, underdog positions and the power of social media.

During last week Jeremy Lin became a sensation. The New York Knicks guard became a sensation first on new media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but soon enough captured the attention of traditional media as well.

The Knicks guard is in tremendous shape and does crazy stuff on the court. Even that crazy it led to the neologism “linsational” or “linsanity”. This remarkable story detailed in the N.Y. Times shows us the power of bottom-up marketing for underdog players.

In this particular case people were surprised because they didn’t know Jeremy before. There are not that many Harvard players, not that many Asian-Americans. He’s an underdog. But he works hard and it pays off today.

So where’s the lesson for business?
SMEs and underdog players can turn their position into an advantage by offering great products (Jeremy plays incredible) and let that spread from within the fan network (Twitter, Facebook) towards the public sphere (traditional media, such as N.Y. Times). And yes, this includes working really really hard.

Why can we learn something from a completely different sphere?

I believe it’s proven we can learn a thing from an entirely different phenomenon. But why?
Is it because all are just aspects of the same society?

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Daum fired at FC Bruges? On Strategy, Leadership and Branding.

Leadership Daum Style at FC Bruges

Leadership Daum Style at FC Bruges

I am sorry if I just tricked you into a fake news item. Cristoph Daum is still the coach of FC Bruges. The headline is reasonable though, looking at the latest results of historically one of Belgium’s best football clubs. Added to that is the “culture of coach swapping”. The logic it dictates is somewhat of the following: if we don’t perform well, fire the coach and bring in a new leader. And it’s exactly from that swop culture that we can learn a thing or two about strategy, leadership and branding. The main message for today:

FC Bruges’ Coach Swap Story demonstrates how Strategy and Leadership drastically impact Branding.

There are many ways to develop a strategy to obtain goals. Within this process, the vision of the leader is rather critical. After all, his or her vision guides the decision for a specific strategy.
I believe this choice instantly impacts the “style”, “soul”, “positioning” or “brand”.

Let’s try to make this more clear by visualizing the case of football.

Strategy, leadership and branding. Learnings from football

Strategy, leadership and branding. Learnings from football

FC Bruges Coach Swap Story

Looking at the above scheme, something is remarkably striking in the FC Bruges Story. Let me just do the telling, meanwhile you do the scheme-mapping exercise, ok?

Adrie Koster, formal coach of FC Bruges. Dutch guy.

Adrie Koster, formal coach of FC Bruges. Dutch guy.

As from 2009, the Dutchman Adrie Koster, coached the team. As a leader he defined the strategy to obtain goals from an “always win perspective”. As a result FC Bruges played attacking, creative football and scored a lot. Neutral spectators loved the team. It had style, soul. It was a good brand. But the team didn’t always win. And after four successive defeats, the club fired the coach. He did not reach the objectives. The “always win strategy” was left. It didn’t work. A new strategy and leader was sought for.

At the end of 2011 FC Bruges appointed a new leader: Cristoph Daum. A German coach with a solid track-record. His goals were the same as those from Koster. But in order to fulfill them, the leader envisioned another approach to realize the objectives. He took the “win more than others do perspective”. Consequently, the same group of people were no longer recognizable. The team played uninspired and relied on proven tactics like dropping high balls in the penalty zone, free kicks and corners. It resulted in a lot of “1-0 wins” for the team however. And in fact, 1-0 quickly got labeled a “Daum Score”. But the longer this leader is in charge and brings the strategy to live through not really sexy tactics, the less the team is liked be outsiders and fans because of its style. The brand isn’t perceived as something “good” anymore. The soul is gone. This story from the world of sports clearly shows that strategy and leadership influence branding.

What if Daum really got fired?

Well, let’s answer the question by applying the theoretical scheme applied above.

FC Bruges Coach Swap Story. On Strategy, Leadership and Branding.

FC Bruges Coach Swap Story. On Strategy, Leadership and Branding.

Can businesses learn something from this story on Strategy, Leadership and Branding?
Or is sports just sports?

Football & World Power: 2010-2014-2018-2022 (continued from part I).

Tweet about the allocation of the organization of world cup football by managing director at think.BBDO in Brussels

Tweet about the allocation of the organization of world cup football by managing director at think.BBDO in Brussels

With the allocation of the FIFA World Cup Football for 2018 and 2022, observers mentioned that it reflected the emerging markets. It truly does! But what’s more, the trend was already there during the World Cup Football 2010 in RSA.

We even devoted a blog post to the way by which the adverts surrounding the pitch reflected the global shift of economic powers. Nevertheless, which countries have been granted the rights to organize this first-class global event? Are these the emerging markets?

Upcoming FIFA World Cup hosts and their economies

The trend seen in the adverts in the 2010 event is also there when one looks at the countries that have been assigned to organize the future events. All countries that are to organize the world cup, show a growing/booming and interesting national economy.

  • World Cup 2014 host Brazil “Brazil is one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world. With large and growing agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, Brazil economy ranks highest among all the South American countries and it has also acquired a strong position in global economy.” (Source: trading economics)
  • World Cup 2018 host Russia “The Russia Gross Domestic Product is worth 1231 billion dollars or 1.99% of the world economy, according to the World Bank.” (Source: trading economics)
  • World Cup 2022 host Qatar “The country’s economic growth has been stunning. Qatar’s nominal GDP, estimated to be $128 billion for 2010, has recently been growing at an average of 15%, and the 2010 growth rate is estimated to be 19%. Qatar’s 2007 per capita GDP was $67,000, and projected to soon be the highest in the world. The Qatari Government’s strategy is to utilize its wealth to generate more wealth by diversifying the economic base of the country beyond hydrocarbons.”(Source: U.S. Department of State)
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