A big thanks to H+K Canada’s resident soccer futball aficionado Jaymes Beatty for keeping our team abreast with the latest developments from a marketing and branding perspective during 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Jaymes has complied several of these key learnings below with his own perspectives on each.

Now that 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is in the books, it’s once again apparent that global sporting events are great opportunities for not only the world’s best athletes to make their mark, but also world class brands. There was no bigger field than social when it came to this year’s World Cup.

We had a taste of this approach with South Africa in 2010 but 2014 was truly where social exploded on the soccer field and off. Below is a collection of the top takeaways from Scoring on Social.

The top social event of all time:

Did you know that the World Cup was the first event – sports or otherwise – to top a billion interactions on Facebook (which it did between the opening game June 12 and June 29)?  According to this BBC Trending article, there were also a record number of tweets per minute (618,725)!

Brands and the “war room”:

The World Cup was a 24/7 social media frenzy and to help brands create their own Oreo moment (i.e. the blackout during the Superbowl), “war rooms” were set up during the tournament to allow brands (and their community managers) to listen in real-time and respond with content at just the right moment. Here’s a great article recently shared by Marketing Magazine arguing to keep the war room open after the big game, albeit with a scaled down approach.

What the World Cup tells us about the state of social media:

This article by flipthemedia.com looks at the World Cup’s digital trends, summarized below:

Social is the New Normal

Social has become normal consumer behavior. For marketers, publishers and consumers social media is no longer an afterthought but a key aspect of their work/life.

Look at Me, I’m a #Hashtag!

The way large parts of the audience watch a game has fundamentally changed. Four years ago during the 2010 World Cup, Google query volume dipped during games as fans were focused on the big screen and search activity happened at the end of games on desktop. Searches now happen during the game (second screen).

Content + World Cup = Eyeballs

Doing it right: Creating an integrated experience that engages consumers across platforms but in your brand’s universe.

The Selfie Made Man

Nearly all top-class players are increasingly taking matters into their own hands with their Twitter accounts and many have mastered the art of the selfie.

Official FIFA World Cup sponsors ambushed:

TheSportDigest.com reported that four of the top five brands that were associated with the 2014 FIFA World Cup were not official sponsors of the event, according to research recently released.

Speaking of ambush marketing, one of the biggest upsets was aBeats by Dre ad that featured a multitude of the world’s finest footballers and their pre-game routines, bounded by the commonality of the role music plays during athletes’ warm-ups.

According to BrandChannel.com, Beats couldn’t stay out of the spotlight for long.  Without much effort on its part, players from nearly every team at the Cup were seen wearing Beats headphones in and around World Cup venues. What’s the issue? Sony, the official FIFA and World Cup sponsor, gifted all players a set of its own high-tech headphones to wear whenever they pleased. FIFA’s answer? Ban Beats products from the field and at media events. Now that’s supporting your sponsors!

While Sony provided complimentary headphones, the players’ unfettered choice of the Beats by Dre brand goes MUCH farther with fans. As well, I think this tournament really had brands asking questions on the value in sponsorship.

What will be the ‘unofficial accessory’ of the Pan Am Games?

Lastly, the idea of the Scoring on Social e-blast came about as a resource and idea generator in the hopes that our H+K Canada team could think about how Canadian brands could lever the upcoming Pan Am Games in 2015. While not directly tied to social and digital, this Toronto Star article discusses the flip flop as the unofficial footwear of the World Cup. What will be the official (something) of the Pan Am Games? Branded clappers? Sun visors? Flags?