How your brand can leverage the World Cup to connect with your target audience.

This article is part of Pulse Insights, our newsletter about marketing insights in Africa, bringing you strategy, insights, industry news and announcements to help you market better and sell more. 

The World Cup will kick off in Qatar in November. If you’re a football fan, you’re already excited about this now. The 2022 World Cup hosted by Qatar is expected to be watched by 5 billion people around the world, according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Qatar itself predicts that over 1 million people will travel to the country to watch the games live. 

No other sporting event has the international viewership the World Cup commands. A tournament of this magnitude, attracting more than 5 billion passionate pairs of eyeballs, is usually extremely attractive to brands. For most brands, even minimal exposure at the World Cup could bring in a significant increase in awareness and a flood of new leads. But achieving brand awareness and visibility at the World Cup is, quite understandably, out of reach for almost every brand and marketing department. 

Unless you’re a global brand with a marketing war chest (this World Cup is forecast to have a $2bn ad spend, according to Bizcommunity), you’re not going to be able to showcase your brand during the much-coveted ad slots. So, how can your brand leverage the world cup to connect better with the audience you serve? 

We’ve put together some actionable insights here. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you will find at least one of these tips valuable in the coming weeks, as the tournament approaches. 

Insight 1

Find the intersection between footy lovers in your domain and your target audience.

Everyone watches football. That’s a good place to start. No matter how obscure your target market is, there’s a very high chance that at least 40% of that market will be football fans. This is where it would be useful to have a documented and hypersegmented view of your current audience. Depending on the size of the campaign you’re planning, it may help to also do a quick survey. 

Knowing how much of your current and potential target audience is interested in football can help you determine how much of an investment you should make in a marketing campaign riding on the World Cup. 

Insight 2

Create or join a passionate world cup-related initiative

It could be adopting a team at the world cup and creating content around the tournament from that perspective. Or sharing updates on the world cup on your social channels and giving detailed commentary, live shows on social, or a cheeky video of the CEO watching a game. The point of this would be to open your brand and show a human, passionate side. It’s amazing what these initiatives can do for brand perception in your audience’s heads, and these changes in how your brand is perceived could be seeds that you reap further down the road.

Insight 3

Prediction giveaways, either for only clients or for everyone in your digital community.

Everybody loves giveaways. People never forget about the time when they won something. They share that story for years and years. This insight can be further energised if the items you give away can stay with the winners for a long period and are not easily disposable, so instead of airtime for mobile phones, you can try branded items like mini bluetooth speakers, earpods, water bottles, and so on.

Insight 4

Get influencers involved.

Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth on steroids. Subject to brand positioning, brands can identify influencers within their market, people with a strong following, who are passionate about football, and get them to engage their digital communities at the World Cup. Brand messages can be communicated subliminally, or through (again) giveaways or engagement content. This method assures that the campaign is reaching an overall audience that is already engaged and committed to the influencer, meaning that there’s a much higher chance for your brand to benefit from that goodwill, and record new warm leads, more awareness and more conversion. 


The World Cup is as clear an opportunity as any, for brands to excite, engage and connect with their audiences, no matter the size of the brand or the audience. Excitement and passion are great backgrounds on which to create lasting memories and impressions. Part of the ROI on these insights is new leads and maybe even some conversion, but the bigger return on investment would be the long-term relationships you build with footy fans, which you can always tap into for other campaigns.