Subscribe to industry newsletters

Advertise on Bizcommunity

Growing support for our Boks!

The Springboks squad announcement for the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) resulted in 2600 online conversations that evening and massive discussion around the Ard Matthews anthem issue. While the nation stood up and condemned his behaviour, the outcome may have been massively positive towards our team and the nation's support.

Acceptable to contribute in this space

Although the specific situation was poorly received, there certainly is evidence that a reputation crisis can cause substantial awareness that a conversation is taking place online and that it's acceptable for supporters/consumers to contribute in this space.

Following the first weekend's games, the Boks received 17 980 online conversations about their performance (a massive 591% increase in conversation from the squad announcement). With more than 80% of this conversation in support of the team and 88% taking place through Twitter, it seems that the campaign is really off to a good start (thanks, Ard).

Co-author of this piece Gareth Heuer (@gdheuer) monitored and reported on the RWC online conversation and is rather pleased with the amount of support the players are getting from the public. It is great to see how the general public is still rallying behind the Boks, regardless of the narrow victory - offering thousands of messages of support.

High level of consumer engagement

The level of consumer engagement is very high and a genuine relationship with our key players is beginning to emerge. Off the back of the injuries, Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers received 228 mentions and 264 mentions respectively. From a team psyche perspective, this certainly raises the pressure on the team but reinforces the view that they need to do this for the nation!

Match-saving try scorer Francois Hougaard received an incredible 876 mentions (which is more than most listed brands get in a month!). Classic comments included: "@FrancoisHougi - What's it like waking up as the hero to an entire nation!" and "...Great try... you deserve to be playing the whole game... Let's hope you start the next match... What a man!!!".

Interestingly, the lack of a social media ban for the team has allowed him to respond to his online followers and thank them for the support.

Support of the masses

From a brand perspective, the Springboks are in an excellent position. They have the support of the masses and a strong community is rapidly forming around the brand.

More importantly, support of the Boks seems to be providing both emotional and social payoffs for those contributing to the conversation. This should see the amount of conversation increase exponentially game-on-game, which is a very favourable organic outcome for the brand.

For other South African brands, this presents a great opportunity (specifically for sponsors) to get behind our boys online, ignite the love for the team, their brands and further drive this support for the Springboks.

While we have just had a taste of the momentum, there are still seven weeks to go and we are very excited to see how social media continues to support our boys. Go Bokke! Moer hulle!

BrandsEye online reputation analyst Gareth Heuer (@gdheuer) researched and contributed to the writing of this analysis.

About Tim Shier

Tim Shier, formerly Quirk marketing manager, is the MD of sister company BrandsEye (, @brandseye), a world-class online reputation management company based in Cape Town, with offices in Johannesburg and London. With an degree in computer science and psychology, Tim has unique experiences with both technology and human behaviour - the perfect blend for top-notch eMarketing and ORM cunning. Contact Tim on > or tel +27 (0)21 462 7353. Follow @timshier on Twitter.