The World Cup Brand Battle

13 06 2010

The World Cup started this past Friday, and even if you’re not a die hard soccer fan, it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement. Brackets have been filled out, even if by only gauging your affinity for team mascots, the South African vuvuzela trumpets are humming, and fans across the world are watching games in unison. I have to admit, it’s pretty powerful to think that a single sport can unite the world with such overwhelming fanaticism – bandwagon or not, I’ve jumped.

And like any great business, there are a few that have leaped at the chance to build brand awareness in front of the astronomical volume of people watching each game. Adidas is one of the official sponsors of the World Cup, but you may have guessed that Nike was instead by its sheer amount of brand development – it’s not. The Nielson Company just released a study which revealed that Nike was more frequently linked to the World Cup than any of the tournament’s official partners and sponsors via online blogs, message boards and social networking sites. The study also stated that there were twice as many references to Nike in online English-language messages related to the World Cup than to Adidas.

Fast Company also had a great article on the study and about Nike’s World Cup campaign, and most notably its “Write the Future” ad. Interestingly enough, Adidas, which is outfitting 12 of the teams, compared to Nike’s 9, can only muster 14.4% of the “official and competitor buzz” as Nielsen has it, compared to Nike’s 30.2%. To see what the buzz is all about, see Neilson’s piece on the topics driving the World Cup conversation.

So what does this mean for small business? Well, for starters, it’s obvious that sponsorship is only one avenue of getting your brand in front of potential consumers. More than ever now, there are opportunities to create a conversation and build brand awareness online – and through mediums that are much less expensive than sponsorship. Nielsen’s executive vice president of digital strategy Pete Balackshaw even said that the study showed that compelling, savvy marketing can establish a similar consumer connection without having to write that expensive sponsorship check. Nike spent an estimated $10 million to make its World Cup ad, but you don’t have to!

One of the biggest challenges to starting a social media campaign is getting started – and then maintaining your presence. I’ve listed a few articles below for a little inspiration and clarity. Write your future and build your brand creatively!

Video courtesy of Nike Football/YouTube.


Hiring and Recruiting

6 06 2010

In this economy, it’s great to hear that manufacturing and service service sector companies are expected to add to their payrolls at a much higher rate in June 2010 than they did in June 2009, according to a recent survey by SHRM. The survey also indicated that small business hiring also grew in May 2010. In fact, a Small Business Administration economist even mentioned that small businesses are adding workers as net job losses in the economy as a whole persist. In the aggregate, we’re not seeing dramatic changes, but we’re at least seeing changes in a positive direction.

As with any business, especially a small one, recruiting and hiring the right people for your business is crucial. I’ve previously written about the “Science of Hiring,” particularly the costs associated with a bad hire. Knowing when to hire and how to go about doing so is just as important as picking the right candidate for the job. Growing your workforce  is an investment, so it makes sense to have a tactical approach to hiring.

Knowing when to hire is key. The idea that a new employee will offset your workload and generate new revenue for your business is surely enticing, but it comes at a cost. Thus, it’s important to hire when your cash flow is positive and when you have a cash management process that minimizes the worry associated with cash shortages. Aside from an employee’s regular pay, you’ll need to consider several costs related to employment. Often times, these costs amount to 30-40% of the employees base pay:

  • Federal and State payroll taxes – including Social Security/FICA, Medicare, unemployment, and workers compensation.
  • Employee benefits – such as health insurance, retirement savings plans, life insurance, and long term disability insurance.
  • Cash-flow projections associated with your employee’s pay periods.
  • Employee workspace and computer system use.
  • Hiring and training costs.

Know what position you want to fill. It’s worth stopping to think, “do I really need to hire someone?” Many services can be outsourced or done by free-lancers; this work may include accounting, manufacturing, website design, marketing and public relations. Deciding what tasks to outsource and what to hire an employee for may come down to whether the work lies within your business’ core areas of strength and whether that function is needed on a regular basis. Choosing a position to hire is not just about offloading chores, it’s a decision about the path of your business’ growth.

Know what to expect from your new hire. Before you advertise for help, sit down and write a job description. Job descriptions are communication tools, set yourself up for a great working relationship by being able to clearly articulate the job to all applicants. This document presents an excellent guide for developing effective job descriptions.

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