Lessons from the 1999 USA Women’s Soccer team

My house is still reeling from the USA Women’s World Cup loss last week. As we were watching the games leading up to the finals, a story aired about the 1999 Women’s World Cup team, and how they made America excited about women’s soccer, and women’s sports in general.

The news story said all the women on the team made themselves brand ambassadors for women’s soccer. They all “marketed” themselves to generate awareness of women’s sports, and create excitement about the game. They conducted clinics in their towns, they made themselves visible in their communities and promoted the World Cup games.

And it worked. Games were sold out and it heightened awareness of women’s sports. Millions of people tuned in to watch the game. After the 1999 win, participation in girls youth soccer quadrupled the next year.

What can organizations learn from this? Public relations and marketing is not up to one person or one department…every employee plays a vital role in your brand.

The notion of all employees representing your brand has also become front and center with the rise of social media. If you include your place of employment on your Facebook profile, or tweet about funny things that happen at work, you are indirectly promoting your work place.

So how do you make sure your employees are representing your brand accurately? Educate them.

  • Do your employees know what your organization’s mission is? What products and services you offer?
  • Do they know why your organization was started?
  • Does each of your employees have a 30 second “elevator speech” they can give if someone asks…so where do you work? Or what do you do?

This is a great opportunity for brands to get in front of potential and current members, donors and the public. Anyone in your organization who comes in contact with the general public, members, donors, vendors, advertisers and the media is promoting your brand. That’s pretty much everybody, isn’t it?

If your employees are excited and knowledgeable about your organization, it will show and others will want to learn more.

Inc.com: How to identify your brand ambassadors
Buzz Bin: 5 tips to turn employees into brand ambassadors.

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