Clients have started thinking about 2018, even though 2017 only just started. I know it seems crazy, but keep in mind, national retail and promotional partnerships require significant lead time. Meaning, as a marketer, if you want to do a promotion around next year’s big soccer tournament, you need to start thinking about it today. Yes, I’m referring to the World Cup. We are about 15 months away from Russia 2018, with soccer qualifiers and lead-up tournaments already in the works.
Now, you don’t have to be a mega-sponsor brand with deep pockets to leverage the World Cup and reach Latino audiences who love the event. There are several ways to approach it. Here are a few ideas, to get the “ball” rolling:
If you really want to make a splash, consider a marquee tournament sponsorship. It doesn’t have to be for the World Cup, as there are several big tournaments, such as CONCACAF’s Gold Cup and Confederations Cup in Russia, both scheduled for Summer 2017. These pre-tournament events offer prime viewing occasions for Latino fans to watch their favorite national squads prepare for the World Cup.
Be a team player
A backdoor into the marquee world of soccer has always been team sponsorship. For years, brands have successfully secured sponsorship rights to the most popular teams, among them Mexican National Team (MNT). From experience, this is perhaps the most value for your sponsorship dollar because you will be able to leverage your partnership before, during and after the World Cup and throughout all of the qualifying games.
Come out of retirement.
You don’t have to have a huge budget when it comes to soccer activation. If your wallet doesn’t allow for a marquee or team sponsorship, consider activating retired international players for partnership deals. Brands have successfully built programs by seeking direct endorsement deals with famous names like Jorge Campos, Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Luis Hernandez. This route can be a great way to borrow equity from players with significant followings, building value through a more inexpensive partnership. For a real hat trick, consider doing promotional in-store and event appearances with them as well.
Play from the sidelines
Brands have done a fantastic job just activating around the occasion and passion point, without partnering with the actual event or athletes. For past World Cups, engagement may have been limited to point-of-purchase and TV. Today’s digital revolution has provided us with opportunities such as social media, consumer-generated content, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, all of which provide endless and exciting possibilities to develop a deep brand experience. If done properly, these activations can deliver the experience of soccer theme in more engaging ways than a sponsorship.
There are different ways to score when it comes to soccer and Hispanic marketing. You don’t need to have the biggest budget to get involved in an effective and engaging way. With a little ingenuity, you can leverage events like World Cup 2018 through some very creative and valuable ways. My underlying advice is: “kick” things off now.