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[2010 FIFA World Cup legacy] The true legacy of 2010 - part 1

Imagine you were awarded the most prestigious global award in your industry, be it an Oscar, Grammy, Laureus or the Cannes Lion, and on the first anniversary of your greatest triumph, you let this moment pass without even the smallest thought at celebration, as the fairytale life that you were hoping for would unfold following your moment of global glory has not materialised and the floodgates of riches and fame have not opened up as quickly as you had wished for.
This pretty much sums up the overwhelming sense of general apathy that has gripped South Africa in the wake of what has been officially rated the "most successful world cup ever".

Not only has the civic pride that reached peak levels during the month-long fairy tale hit a couple of serious bumps, but also the return on investment reaped by SA appears to have been reduced to insignificance, compared to the costs of hosting the world's biggest sporting spectacle.

What exactly did the world cup yield?

At first glance, the 2010 World Cup Legacy Scorecard (to be released on the anniversary of the 2010 World Cup Closing Ceremony on 11 July 2011) holds a mixed bag of achievements:
  • Football development: Undoubtedly, the world cup has boosted football development where it counts the most, that is, at grassroots level. Already, the 52 SAFA regions have implemented the FIFA football development programme, a host of artificial pitches have been erected in rural areas and the 20 Football Centres for 2010 are well on track throughout the continent.

  • Team performance: Bafana's unstoppable rise from a lowly 90th position in the FIFA rankings to 38th (and 4th in Africa - from previously 17th) within less than 12 months, is testimony to the invaluable lessons coach Pitso Mosimane has drawn from the world cup campaign, incorporating the very best team branding has to offer - a recipe for success that many a corporate team could do well to take note of.

  • Country brand: As nation branding provides a snap shot of a country at a given time, rusted into the collective memory for long periods of time (very much like Germany's war-mongering image that lasted for more than 60 years), the snapshot taken of SA during the 2010 FIFA World Cup will prevail until such time that the global spotlight shines on Mzansi again.

  • Social cohesion: If nothing else, 2010 has demonstrated to every single South African what can be achieved when the entire nation pulls together and commits to a common goal.

    Unfortunately, the public service strike that followed right on the heels of the world cup destroyed much of newly gained civic pride, wiping off a massive 26 points in internal confidence and almost cutting the civic pride index into half.

  • Sport tourism: SA has now entered the premier league of sport event hosting nations and can compete for a bigger slice in what today has become a US$600 billion industry and the fastest growing driver of international tourism.

  • Investor confidence: The fact that the rand has held steady ever since the world cup, amid the global crisis that has gripped European and US markets, is a strong sign of investor confidence, and confidence in the local equity markets is returning as stronger earnings coupled with perceived lower market risks emerge, according to Theo Vorster, chairman of the Institute of Behavioural Finance (IBFSA).

  • Business confidence: Possibly the biggest disappointment, by and large, corporate SA has not risen to the challenge of leveraging the momentum generated by the world cup success and failed to apply the inherent lessons in motivational intelligence to achieve brand leadership in their respective industries.

Who ultimately won the World Cup of Brand Leadership?

The key benchmark in measuring whether SA did in fact deliver the brand promise of "hosting the most successful FIFA World Cup ever", is based upon the word of mouth generated by the ultimate customers of the hosting country - the visitors. Called the Brand Advocacy Score, this benchmark is based on a single question: "Would you recommend this destination back home to your friends and colleagues?"

Back in 2006, when Germany hosted the world cup and exceeded all expectations by delivering not just an efficient and effective event but one that was fun-filled and exciting, 88% of visitors rated their willingness to become brand ambassadors with a resounding "Yes".

Against all odds, SA not only beat the 2006 benchmark by scoring the highest-ever world cup rating by converting 92% of visitors to brand advocates, it now stands to reap the economic benefits from the word of mouth that is estimated to travel at the speed of 150 people touched directly or indirectly by each returning visitor turned brand advocate.

This means that out of the 318 000 visitors, 92% ie a total of 292 560 have now been marketing SA as a travel destination in their respective 31 home countries and the yield of people reached across the globe stands at 4.38 million.

Single most effective weapon

This is why brand ambassadors are the single most effective weapon in a country's arsenal for building a global brand that will attract both visitors and investors and earn a reputation for being a place to spend your holidays and do business - tourism and foreign direct investment having become the key drivers of job creation, as the World Economic Forum has repeatedly demonstrated.

The next article in the 'Legacy 2010 series' will explore what it takes to build brand communities around sporting events and how to triangulate SA's unique brand equity of culture, heritage and sport into magnetic events that will boost job creation.

For more:

About Dr Nikolaus Eberl

Dr Nikolaus Eberl is the author of BrandOvation™: How Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding and The Hero's Journey: Building a Nation of World Champions. He headed the Net Promoter Scorecard research project on SA's destination branding success story during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, co-authored the World Cup Brand Ambassador Program 'Welcome 2010' and was chairperson of the inaugural 2010 FAN World Cup. Email and follow @nikolauseberl.
Rob Campbell
Struth Nik.It cost, but it worked.Do we really have to make more song and dance about it?
Posted on 28 Jun 2011 16:08
Bob Lewis
Only a fool would expect that in the first place.
Posted on 28 Jun 2011 18:26
Thabisho Mocumi
It was expesive hosting such massive event, but I of the view that it did wonders for SA and Africa. This continent is as a result being projected in a more positive light than before.
Posted on 28 Jun 2011 20:38