Friday, June 11, 2010

The magic of the World Cup and relationships

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, appeared on this morning's Sunrise program charged by the ubiquitous Kochie and Mel with casting some sort of spell to cure Harry Kewell's groin injury ahead of the Socceroo's first World Cup game against Germany on Sunday (Euro time). Much easier than inviting Fortescue's Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrester into a super mining tax lovefest - or is it mining super tax, or a mining tax for super? Never mind.

As an avid Liverpool supporter, I can assure all that restoring the health of Harry Kewell's groin has eluded some of the best sports medics in the world. So if Kevin747 can resolve this issue, it will go a long way to kick starting his own move back up the political premiership ladder. We await the outcome, but no doubt Kevin747 will be relieved that the nation's focus will, for a few days at least, turn to the Socceroos' first match against football powerhouse, Germany.

And talking about invitations and the World Cup, I should actually be in South Africa rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi of the global business community. You see, one enterprising conference organiser sent me an invitation about a year ago to attend a conference in Cape Town. It starts just after the World Cup and I found myself thinking back to the glory days of the 1980s when corporate boon doggles were the norm and major events were geared around the CEO's or the Chairman's overseas holiday plans.

I admit being extremely tempted to leverage the World Cup to the benefit of my employer. I mean what's $15,000 to attend a conference when you can schmooze and talk about football all night in local bars with people you're never likely to do business with?

I perused the list of registered corporate luminaries. Unusually for the invitations I normally receive, I noted it was not littered with US thought leaders touting their latest business tome. Instead, it had glitterati from European firms, like VW, Mercedes, Siemens... you get the picture (not many Greek luminaries I hasten to add). All there to promote their brands during the World Cup before opting for the conference add-on with its commercial imperatives of African wildlife safaris.

Luckily, as brand thought leaders, we all know brands are built on relationships. And there's no better place to reinforce those relationships than running up some executive expenses during the World Cup. Did I hear you say: 'But it should be around customer relationships.' ?

Don't worry it is. All these execs will want to be your mate when they return with their new suntans and they have to work out ways of chatting with you about the price increase on your next European car. The customer relationship is simple. You've just gotta love that car.

Whether your watching at home, or schmoozing in Cape Town, best of luck to you and your team. Keep an eye on Harry Kewell. If his groin suddenly goes up in flames, so might our Prime Minister.

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