What Your Business Should Learn from the Last Good World Cup

The World Cup starts tomorrow. It’s a thriller. Russia vs Saudi Arabia at 4pm. Even worse, it’s on ITV. If you’re a sensible businessperson, you won’t be bunking off early to watch the silky skills of Taisir al-Jassim and Alexsandr Samedov. Because you’ll know that it’s been 20 years since the last good World Cup.

France ’98. It wasn’t just an excellent football tournament. It was a lesson, rattling down the ages for us all to take to heart. So if you want to know what your business can learn from the last good World Cup, read on. And if you don’t, scroll down to the third video. It’s bloody brilliant.

What Your Business Can Learn from the Last Good World Cup


Be Familiar

People crave novelty. That’s what we’re all led to believe. People always want something new and exciting that they’ve never heard of before.

Sounds brilliant. Apsirational, even. It’s a shame it’s bollocks.

People want things they’re familiar with. They want something they can trust. They want brands they know and that they’ve heard of, business partners who’ve supported them through thick and thin. Products that they can rely on.

People don’t want novelty, they want certainty. Certainty like Scotland crashing out in the first round after being hammered 3-0 by Morocco. Certainty like knowing that whatever happens, whoever’s responsible, an England penalty shoot out can only ever end one way…

But Not Too Familiar

Of course, while customers all want to do business with familiar companies that they know and trust, that doesn’t mean you can keep selling them the same old products time after time. They want the result to be the same – a footballing giant with some pedigree and the best players lifting the trophy – but they’d like the journey to be a little different along the way.

What they really want is a plucky debutant that they’ve never considered to add a touch of mystery to their tried and tested favourite. They might be happy with a France vs Brazil final, but along the way they’d love Croatia to get to the semis and then turn the Germans over in the third place playoff.

If you’re adding an innovative new product to your range, make sure it’s like Davor Suker in that fantastic checked kit. Smart, stylish and clinically efficient.

Be Excellent

Of course, brand familiarity with a hint of newness might grab some interest for your business, but there’s one thing you need to set yourself apart. Something indescribably awesome.

Something fantastic.

Something like the world’s calmest man taking one touch of the ball with an upraised toe before hooking it around a defender with his instep in the same fluid movement. Then stepping back, and chipping the slowly rolling ball over the worst haircut remaining in the tournament.

Basically, be Dennis Bergkamp.

Appeal to the Masses

Finally, make sure your business’ products and services have mass appeal. Yes, it’s nice to cheer up a handful of Scotsmen with a heartbreaking England exit. Yes the odd football fan might look back fondly on holding the aerial on his childhood TV out of the window to catch the Croatian side in a semi final. And yes, journalists might still write about a flash of Dennis Bergkamp brilliance.

But for your business to succeed you need to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Not a few thousand travelling Brazil fans. A whole country, watching the home team in the home tournament.

Vive le Zidane. Vive la France. Vive la your business.

If you liked this blatant bit of hot topic clickbait, you might also like this sweary post in which I rate every England World Cup song. Be warned, the videos aren’t half as good as that Bergkamp one.

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