World Cup Is Telling Us
By Holly G.
Have you been watching the World Cup? I am a huge soccer fan
and really enjoy the World Cup because it’s such a fascinating
international spectacle. Plus, it never fails to serve up some
interesting lessons that have real application in the business
world. For example:
Life isn’t always
The U.S. team was victimized more than once by highly questionable
calls by the ref. Fortunately, the players quickly put the calls
behind them and stayed focused on playing winning soccer. In
business, sometimes our competitors don’t play fair. Or markets
react in strange, unanticipated ways. If we overreact and get
caught up in the problem rather than the solution, we can easily get
off track and miss opportunities. In soccer and in business, focus
on winning is critical to success.
The best team
doesn’t always win.
The first round saw numerous upsets by supposedly inferior teams.
In fact, for the first time ever both the defending champion (Italy)
and runner-up (France) failed to advance to the second round.
Likewise, in business the best product doesn’t always win. An
inferior product with superior marketing often trumps a better
product that is poorly positioned in the minds of consumers. In
soccer and in business, winning often comes down to who executes the
better strategy and connects most effectively to others, not who has
the best or most talent.
think very differently than the U.S. One word says it all - vuvuzelas. Have you ever heard
anything more annoying in your life? Can you imagine paying
hundreds of dollars to watch your team play and having to listen to
that incessant buzzing the entire game? And yet, much of the world
has embraced them. Another not-so-subtle reminder that when doing
business abroad, don’t expect customers or competitors to think like
It only takes one
big play to win the day.
After 90 minutes of play (and many missed opportunities to score),
it appeared the U.S. would end up with a tie against Algeria. Which
meant that, depending on how England fared, the U.S. might fail to
advance. But with two minutes to go in stoppage time, Landon
Donovan scored on a rebound off the Algerian goalie and saved the
day. In today’s markets, one big play (disruptive innovation) can
make the difference between market leadership and being an also-ran.
But here’s what really made me sit up and take notice about
this World Cup. According to CNNTech, the dramatic ending to the
match between the U.S. and Algeria came close to setting a new
record for Internet traffic. Immediately following Landon Donovan's
goal, Internet traffic spiked to 11.2 million visitors per minute,
moving the event past the 2008 presidential election and into second
place for the highest traffic day of all-time. In addition,
containing "USA" spiked to six percent of total tweet
volume. Think about that for a minute.
Eleven million Internet visitors per minute translates to 670
million per hour, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population!
And with Twitter averaging 55 to 60 million tweets a day, it becomes
increasingly clear that the world is communicating in new and
different ways. What does this mean for your business?
The answer depends on whether you see it as a problem or an
opportunity. If you see it as a problem, you’re already in
trouble. If you see it as an opportunity, the issue then becomes
how to take advantage of it.
Start by asking some basic questions. Are we currently using
these new communication channels to reach out and connect with our
customers, employees, and other stakeholders? If not, why not?
What are our basic assumptions about how we connect with our
customers and markets? Are these assumptions still valid? How do
we know? What “thought bubbles” do we need to reset in our brains
in order to effectively connect with our key stakeholders in new and
Used to be if we wanted to watch the World Cup, we got
tape-delayed TV. Now we can watch it live on TV, the Internet, our
cell phones, iPods and PDAs - basically anywhere that has wifi.
Which means that customers can now access your business at any time
from virtually anywhere in the world.
How is this changing the way you think about doing business
and connecting with your customers?
Read other articles and learn more about
Holly G. Green.
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