Posts Tagged ‘Brand reputation’

No Matter How Corrupt FIFA Is, It Is Here To Stay

June 16, 2015
Flickr / Steven Depolo

Flickr / Steven Depolo

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for FIFA. The world’s governing body of soccer has been the subject of numerous headlines, not for the Women’s World Cup currently taking place, but for a large-scale corruption scandal.

It all started on May 26, when several top FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges. A little over a week later, the long-standing President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned. And to add fuel to the fire, FIFA recently fired its communications director after making a public joke about the organization’s legal troubles.

There’s no denying FIFA’s reputation is in shambles. The media is laser focused on scrutinizing the organization’s actions and missteps. But despite all the negative media, the criminal investigation, and widespread corruption, FIFA is still as powerful as ever. Do soccer fans even care about the FIFA scandals?

Sports organizations are hit with scandals all the time, yet the sports stay as popular as ever. Take the NFL for example. Last year, the NFL was thrown under the bus for its handling of issues concerning domestic violence. The NFL’s reputation took a hit, but did the sports suffer as a result? No. Fans continued to support their favorite teams and brands continued to spend millions of dollars in advertisement with the NFL.

When it comes to sports, fans care more about the game than the organization behind it. As a sports fan myself, I’ve seen some of my favorite sports get hit with scandals that dealt a blow to the organization’s reputation. Did the scandal stop me from watching the games? No way. As a fan, you’re part of a community that has one unifying factor: the love of the game. My loyalty is with my team, and almost nothing can shake that.

No matter how corrupt FIFA is, in the end, it is going to be fine. Soccer fans aren’t going to just turn their back on the sport that they love. For many countries, especially outside the United States, soccer is about more than just a game, it’s a religion. The team you root for is part of your identity and fans aren’t going to abandon the sport that’s so integral to their community and culture.

As long as soccer is still soccer, fans will continue to watch FIFA’s games. They will continue to attend the World Cup and brands will continue to shell out millions of dollars in advertisements. No matter how corrupt FIFA turns out to be, as long as soccer remains a powerhouse sport, FIFA will be a powerhouse as well.

John Oliver tackled this love/hate relationship with FIFA perfectly last year before the World Cup. As he says, no matter how appalling FIFA may be as an organization, a fan’s love for the sport outweighs everything else.


Mean Girl-ing the BlackBerry

October 17, 2012

Remember when the BlackBerry was the most popular device in the school of smartphones?  Sophisticated and savvy, it was a status

Soooo 2008.

symbol of business pros, world travelers and social butterflies.  Me? I loved my BlackBerry during my years as a travel publicist, with its international data plans and QWERTY keyboard.

But, like most BB users, I grew frustrated watching friends use fabulous apps that I couldn’t access.  I can’t recall how many times I had to ask my husband to look up a restaurant or map directions on his iPhone because my BlackBerry was too slow, or couldn’t access a web page.

This loss of enthusiasm has culminated in a trend of BlackBerry shaming, as chronicled in a recent New York Times piece. When I needed a new smartphone in early 2012, I made the iPhone switch.  Now, I sit with Siri and all the “cool” kids at the lunch table.  I feel accepted…. and we all laugh at BlackBerry, downgraded to social outcast.

The stereotype of iPhone users, as portrayed in current Samsung ads, is of smug hipsters, blindly devoted to grouping in line for a product with trivial upgrades, all while teasing rival devices.  The iPhone seems to have become smartphones’ Mean Girl.

Speaking up in its own defense, BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) declared that the Times never contacted it to obtain a balanced viewpoint.  Loyalists are flocking to support site CrackBerry and blogging about why using a BlackBerry “can still be cool (seriously)”.  And RIM is gearing up for the release of its BB10 platform, designed to compete with the Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.

All the sniping aside, the harsh truth is that BlackBerry’s brand image is in the dumps. How can it regain its role as Queen Bee?  It’s a stretch, but this could be achieved through one heck of a successful launch of the BB10 OS.  But that hinges on the system holding up to the slick speediness of top smartphone devices.   A clever marketing campaign, integrating grassroots movements to resurrect the BlackBerry, would also be key.

As unlikely as that seems, let’s be a little nicer to the BlackBerry folks.  After all, one day that could be us sulking in the corner.

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