What has this to do with Social Business? As a confirmed Munster supporter I will explain.
A social business defined: People interacting with people and Brands; not companies.
Over the weekend we saw Irish rugby confirm it’s status among the elite of European rugby. Munster, Leinster, Ulster have qualified for the quarter finals of the H/Cup. Connacht won their last pool game and helped Ulster to get over the line. This sees Ireland with three teams out of eight qualified, an incredible achievement considering our low playing numbers compared to other countries and that rugby has to compete against soccer and the GAA for players.
The link above is the commentary by Michael Corcoran in the lead up to the 41 phase, Ronan O’Gara’s drop goal against Northampton last year, very funny:)
Brands do so well from social business because of their interaction with people. These people become brand advocates and evangelists. That is a simple fact and Muster is now one of the top supported rugby teams in the world. The Munster brand is readily recognise internationally. What are the features of a brand that mark it out for social success? What have these companies achieved that have elevated the company to brand status?
Let’s not kid ourselves here, success breds success, I was at Munster matches in the eighties and early nineties where they were less than two hundred people in attendance. The mid to late nineties when things began to turn for Munster and rugby in general in Ireland, what was evident for local Munster people was the honesty and humility shown by the Munster players, they became the peoples champions. Their integrity, authenticity and their two way interaction with their fan base, all these mark the key stones to a Social Business.
Munster fans are some times slagged off for their passion and one eyed view that they are the only team in Ireland, for this read, “brand evangelists”. People were and still are, willing to travel any where to support their team in either the H/Cup or the Rabo-Direct. The fact that people in Connacht and Leinster would follow Munster rather than their own province showed that people could empathise with all the values and principles to which they conduct their business.
Munster tick all the boxes which allow a Brand to become “Social” I do not believe this was a conscious decision but this is often the best route because it is authenticity, the values and principles have emerged unbidden within the organisation, which makes the experience all the more powerful and enduring.
Lessons can be learned from studying various brands and how you can leverage their success in your business. The keys are authenticity, honesty and two way accessibility for your supporters/customers. Strategies can be devised to leverage all aspects, with buy-in from all stake holders, it can be replicated within your organisation or business. The level of commitment to the journey, will dictate the level of success.