Let’s just clarify that people aren’t very fond of politicians. However there is much that soccer can learn from their approach to communications which can easily be replicated in our quest to grow the game nationwide.
How you may ask? Well it lies in a subject we touched on the previous article ‘Nothing can help me care about soccer – Oh Really?’ which touched on the need for the sport (and its fans) to rethink its core messaging.
‘It’s the biggest sport in the world’ is not a strong rebuttal when confronted by people that don’t like/have not grown up with the game. In fact it is a pre-cursor to a losing argument rather than the opportunity to sell all the great things the sport has to offer.
Using political messaging and one of the most widely known books on the subject as the example (Don’t Think of an Elephant! By George Lakoff) you can see a model of how one side thinks and an explanation of why they are able to consistently win political debates, even before the debates begin.
His objective is to show the other side of the spectrum how to take back control of the debate and while the book is focused on politics, it can also be read as a broader introduction to critical thinking, useful wherever you might be on the political spectrum or in this case, the sporting divide.
There are hundreds of websites and forum posts about how much soccer sucks. We know this is not the case but we know we are on the back foot in our quest to prove it.
They say the worst kinds of politics are sporting politics so maybe we aren’t so different after all. Taking a leaf out of the Obama campaign manual might be what is needed to create a new movement for fans to help soccer reach its potential.
To summarize, it is important that we have this discussion on messaging and marketing now if we are serious about growing the game for the future. Soccer Support is looking to facilitate such a discussion when we launch in 2012. We just hope you will join us at the table.
In the meantime if you’re interested to find out what it is we are planning please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.