Should businesses try to boost their profiles during the FIFA World Cup?

 

If you believe the UK newspapers, you may well get the impression that the FIFA World Cup is going to be a disaster.

We have heard it all: delays with stadia, civil unrest, infrastructure issues, a rise in crime and temperatures which are not going to suit most of the elite footballers coming from around the world.

It’s a stark contrast to, say, the World Cup in Germany in 2006, where predictably preparations ran on time, everything worked and there were no real climate issues that may have affected player performance.

It will be different in Brazil.

Expect to hear a lot of murmurings of discontent when things inevitably don’t go smoothly and news journalists looking for things to fill pages that don’t relate to the field of play.

The gloss of youngsters playing on the beaches or dancing in the streets won’t fool savvy media scraping beneath the surface.

Through UKTI, MEI or independently, a wide range of British businesses will be working in Brazil in a variety of roles supporting the event and its delivery.

It would be tempting to keep a low profile in case things beyond their control go wrong, to do the job, submit the invoice and get as much out of the experience as possible.

But why stop there?

One of the benefits of working at major sports events is to use them as a calling card for new business and growth, and for that, you need to network and tell the widest possible audience.

That’s where PR comes in.

With the right strategy and well-crafted messaging, businesses have a captive audience during the World Cup to tell their stories, to engage their audiences and to win new business.

Even if a project has met with challenges beyond an organisation’s control, the experiences, the access, the opportunities and the legacy that the business hopes to provide in the long term help to create the narrative.

There are no templates for communications success.

There are no easy answers in a challenging working or political environment.

But with hundreds of journalists looking for stories both on and off the football pitch in Brazil this summer, wouldn’t it be a waste not to take advantage of a captive audience to tell your story and reap the benefits?