Friday, June 18, 2010

Gaining a Global Perspective from the World Cup

Maybe, like a lot of Americans, you don’t care too much about soccer. (You probably don’t care to call it “football,” either.)

But you might still want to tune in to some 2010 FIFA World Cup action—if only to study the advertising.

The broadcasts are a showcase for global marketing communications. Many of the spots carry not just a soccer theme, but an international flair as well.

Entries from Coke and Adidas, the two dominant World Cup sponsors, are good examples. Outside the realm of official sponsorship, Nike steals the show:

Note what all these spots have in common: connecting with the target audience—in this case, most of the world’s population (OK, except for many in the U.S.).

The lesson? Companies aspiring to compete globally must make the effort to understand and appeal to different audiences around the world on the audiences’ terms.

These ads aren’t about U.S. companies projecting U.S. perspectives onto everyone else. They’re about global companies, communicating with a global audience, sharing global sensibilities.

There is a big difference, and it can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s global reality.

That’s why keeping an eye on the World Cup is an important opportunity to expand your perspective. After all, just as Team USA is just another player in the World Cup, a U.S. company is just another player on the world stage.

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