The role and importance of branding

UEFA is helping its national associations to develop the game through the consultation services offered by the GROW programme – notably in the area of branding.

©LFV

Branding is no longer simply a case of adorning a product or a service with a logo. Branding is integrated strategic thinking that defines what a product or service stands for, why it exists and what it will do for its consumers. A well-crafted brand is built from inside out, with the strategy being manifested externally.

Brands are promises and ideas that exist in a person’s mind. A brand can radiate values that consumers want to be associated with and as such it can create and drive consumer preference.

In football, creating a powerful brand portfolio is therefore key. A strong brand can attract more sponsors, develop an emotional bond with fans and other stakeholders, and support the association’s strategic objectives.

A vital part of any national association’s brand development programme is to understand what assets the organisation has available, and what assets are most valuable in terms of developing the association and the game in that country.

It is important for the organisation to prioritise and focus on elements that have the most commercial relevance in order to raise capital that will fund growth development activities. It is also important to look at components that have the potential to engage and drive the positive image of the association and football in general.

Since 2015, UEFA GROW has been helping national associations across Europe to systematically and strategically grow the game. The programme provides tailor-made consultation services in a number of different business fields with the aim of ensuring that football remains the number one sport throughout the continent.

UEFA GROW offers national associations five different services under its brand pillar, aimed at catering to their various needs.

• Organisational purpose – defining what the association stands for, its mission and its vision

• Team, competition and initiative positioning – defining the brand essence, proposition, values and personality

• Team, competition and initiative architecture – defining how the various brands fit together and how they can support each other

• Marketing strategy – integrating the brand in the association’s overall marketing strategy and defining concrete brand activation plans

• Visual identity development – creating a new look and feel for the association’s brand portfolio

Liechtenstein may have one of the smallest populations in Europe, but the country’s national association has been working tirelessly to ensure that it maximises its brand potential.

Crucial elements
In 2017, the Liechtenstein Football Association (LFV) decided to carry out a holistic review of its brand portfolio and create a new visual identity that would reflect its ambitions and the new direction it wanted to take.

UEFA GROW offered its advice and expertise in support of the rebranding project, convinced that a strong brand would increase the value of football in the country. The result is a clear brand story that conveys the brand values and the uniqueness of Liechtenstein as a nation.

“The creation of a new brand and design for a national association is very exciting, although it is a very challenging process that has a number of potential pitfalls,” said the LFV’s Andrea Schneider, who played a key role in the branding overhaul.

“Experience and knowledge are crucial elements when trying to create a new brand, as this will be the face of a national association for years to come. So we are delighted we had the opportunity to work with UEFA GROW, who offered us tremendous support in developing our brand.”

Strategic tool
There are numerous other national associations in Europe that have benefited from UEFA GROW’s branding expertise, from Albania and Andorra to Romania and Ukraine.

In July 2018, the Latvian Football Federation (LFF) embarked on an exciting journey to overhaul the brand identity of the national team and the association itself. The LFF and UEFA GROW are now working together to develop all-inclusive positioning of the various brand properties and corresponding brand architecture.

“We have been working on football development in a number of areas, starting with strategy creation, good governance, public affairs and commercial aspects,” said the general secretary, Edgars Pukinsks, following the LFF’s first brand workshop with UEFA GROW.

“The workshop provided us with the opportunity to link all those areas, because it focused primarily on the organisational culture, values and strategic objectives. I can already see that, by the end of this process, we will have a clear business development plan and a nice visual identity to go with it.”

UEFA GROW will continue to help national associations adopt a best-practice approach for realising the full potential of their brands. The ultimate aim is to ensure that national associations use branding as a strategic tool to create value for the organisation, football and society as a whole.

This arrticle originally appeared in UEFA Direct 181

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