June 14, 2018

By: Claudia Gioia, Hill+Knowlton Strategies President, CEO Latin America & the Caribbean

Soccer is not only one of the most popular sports in the world, but it’s one that has become an integral part of describing our culture in most of the countries in Latin America. We have all experienced and talked about memorable moments of happiness, excitement, surprise and disappointment. Our passion for soccer unites us and helps us, for a moment, to take our mind off of difficult times our countries may be facing.

The World Cup represents one of the biggest opportunities for brands to stand out in a culturally relevant way and win over their consumers. When it comes to our region, the opportunity is even bigger as our countries account for the largest number of viewers of the tournament, compared to the Middle East/Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe regions, according to a Global Web Index survey.

Here are some of the top marketing trends we’re seeing as brands maximize their visibility by leveraging our soccer spirit.

Pre-World Cup Excitement

Global brands and sponsors of soccer teams began creating excitement around the World Cup earlier this year. Leveraging our passion for our national soccer teams, these brands created engaging campaigns that have captured people’s attention through creative storytelling across experiential and digital channels. Nike in Brazil, as well as beer brands in Mexico and Colombia are just a few examples on how brands are successfully connecting with soccer fans in anticipation of the tournament.

Even in countries whose soccer teams didn’t make it to the tournament, we’re seeing brands take advantage of the season by promoting quality time with family and friends during the World Cup. In Chile, for instance, consumer electronic brands are positioning their most innovative products to offer the best devices to watch the matches, from TVs to tablets to smartphones. Cable operators like DIRECTV are mostly focusing on high-quality, exclusive content offerings and multiscreen technology to deliver an enhanced live experience.

The Mobile World Cup

With the growth of mobile penetration, social media, livestreaming and on-demand content, soccer fans have been using technology at an increasing pace, consuming their favorite sports content on-the-go, through their preferred platforms. It’s no wonder why 98% of sports marketers choose social media as the primary medium to fully leverage sponsorships, according to a recent survey quoted by Forbes.

However, a significant growth in mobile usage (73% of total internet consumption) is driving marketing strategies towards a mobile-first approach. Last year, digital consumers spent twice the time on their mobile phones than they typically spent on a computer, with Argentina showing the largest number of mobile minutes per user in the region, followed by Mexico and Brazil, according to ComScore.

Although there will be many platform options available to watch the World Cup, established brands will take advantage of this “mobile momentum” to develop mobile-friendly content and mobile app targeting strategies with an always-on approach, in order to increase their presence and reach their target audiences.

The Reinvention of Broadcast TV

In a fierce competition for consumers’ attention, the broadcast industry is continuously reinventing itself to offer consumers higher-quality content, while giving brands added value opportunities and spaces to reach their consumers as effectively as they would through mobile and online platforms.

For this World Cup, FIFA announced that it will produce its matches in ultra-high definition (UHD) with high dynamic range (HDR) for the first time, which will allow consumers to follow the matches in virtual reality, both as a live experience and as 360 video-on-demand. Broadcast companies and cable operators will take advantage of these technologies by offering viewers more access to exclusive content and improving TV quality delivering close-to-real images. This will capture more advertising dollars benefiting broadcasters who have the rights to air the tournament.

The broadcast world has also found ways to leverage the power of social in order to remain relevant among younger audiences. A proof point is a recent announcement by Twitter regarding their partnership with 24 publishers and broadcasters across 12 countries. This World Cup will definitely bring us the best of live sports and social capabilities with innovative behind-the-scenes high quality content that will enhance the consumer soccer experience from beginning to end.

Exceptional Soccer Experiences

This World Cup’s brand champions will keep consumers at the front and center of their marketing campaigns. Whether they are in Russia or offsite, online or offline, soccer fans will be able to enjoy exceptional experiences that will get them closer to their favorite sport, players and brands this season.

WPP just released the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2018 ranking. One if its key findings reveals that companies that invest in intelligence-led marketing to gain a better understanding of their consumers, are the winners in today’s world of innovation, disruption and change, and it will not be different during World Cup.

The Power of Consumers to Elevate the Brand Narrative

Besides the importance of integrating social influencers into their marketing strategies, leading brands that are winning with consumers in the context of the World Cup, have understood the power of user generated content (UGC).

Early this year, Nike Brazil moved away from the traditional approach of a closed event to unveil the official National soccer team’s jersey exclusively with media. Dressing up in yellow and green one of the most important avenues in the heart of the Sao Paulo city, Nike Brazil stopped the heavy traffic with a one-of-a-kind stunt to show the world what the new soccer jerseys will look like. Consumers had direct access to soccer legends that were part of the activation, which included a concert in celebration of soccer and providing fans with opportunities to create unique content and tell the brand’s story on social media.

An in-depth knowledge of what consumers want and expect, and insight-driven strategies, what allow brands to leverage the power of creative ideas, deliver authentic content and provide experiences that will build and strengthen brand affinity in the context of the largest sports event in the globe.

 

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