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What Can The World Cup Teach You About Exhibitions?

The World Cup is this summer’s biggest event and everyone has football fever. However, aside from the entertainment factor, what else can we get from this year’s World Cup competition? More specifically, what can we learn from it?

Well, believe it or not, the football industry has an exceptional business model and the World Cup is an excellent example of how businesses and brands should present themselves to the world via advertising channels and at exhibition events.

How Exactly Do They Do This?

Well this summer, the world’s best football teams and players are on show for all the world to see and despite the pressure they are under to win the coveted title of World Champion, they seem to be handling international scrutiny just fine. The players remain focused, collected and in control of the situation. The teams are all staying true to brand (i.e. team colours, team persona). The entire football industry seems to be taking the biggest event in four years in its stride.


This apparent nonchalance is not a happy accident though. It is part of a well formulated plan, four years in the making. Each team – in some cases, each player – has a team of people working tirelessly behind the scenes. This is to ensure everything runs smoothly, that the players and team brands are properly represented and that the competition is everyone’s priority.

The footballers, both individually and collectively, represent their nation. They act as ambassadors to the world on behalf of their countries, just as your staff represent you at events and exhibitions.

You see, football is ultimately an industry just like any other and a team is a business just like yours. So how does the football industry do such an exceptional job at being the centre of attention without losing focus on the task on hand? How are they able to take to the world stage and exhibit themselves as high profile individuals, teams and nations without a hitch?

They follow a very specific, tried and tested formula in the same way any business should. That is why it is possible for a business like yours to learn valuable tricks of the trade from football, especially in terms of public profile raising, brand building and business management.

In order to better understand how businesses can benefit from this event, here are three things the World Cup can teach you about exhibition success.

What Can The World Cup Teach You About Exhibitions?

Put Your Best Players Forward

It is highly unlikely you will see a World Cup contender put a second-string team into the competition. Now, it isn’t to say those footballers aren’t good at their job, it just means they aren’t strong when it comes to the skills necessary to win the competition. The same goes for business exhibitions. Your staff may be superb at their respective jobs, but if you are going to have an exhibition display then you need to make sure the staff working it are the right people for the job. Make sure you have a team who understand the product, the audience and the brand ethos as well as those who are approachable and good at communicating.

Branding Should Be A Priority

One thing you may have noticed about the World Cup is that it is everywhere; teams are featured in adverts left, right and centre thanks to numerous sponsorship deals and people are also proudly donning their team’s colours. This is all part and parcel of branding. With all this attention, players’ behaviour needs to reflect the team ethos which usually means no partying and definitely means no scandal, the team colours are no different to your brand logo, and the overall impression you create at an exhibition needs to be immaculate.

Gather And Keep Support

When the World Cup rolls around, something phenomenal happens. Entire countries get involved, even individuals who have no interest in football. Fans and non-fans alike join forces and support their team, willing them to win the competition and claim the title. Though not quite on the same scale, you need to be able to stir this kind of excitement and support at an exhibition. What’s more is you need to be able to keepthe ‘fans’ you already have by engaging with them, asking for feedback and not neglecting them in favour of new business.

There is likely to be much more you can learn about showmanship and indeed business practice by looking at football. As one of the most lucrative industries in the world, football must be doing something right. This is because the people in charge of oiling the football machine understand all the key aspects of successful business, from the public appearance and promotion to the everyday tasks and basic function.

As a business in today’s market though, being able to hold your own in the public arena is an important factor when it comes to success. So take on board the above tips and treat each exhibition, conference and tradeshow as a World Cup level game. Perform well whilst the world is watching and you are bound to win the competition.

For more football-based inspiration take a look at University of Kent Business School  and FDYL.

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