by Simon Steers.
In an era where football is about so much more than the game itself, and in an industry dominated by finance, the transition from football club to business and brand is a stepping stone to being competitive on the pitch, the relationship between a football club and the media has never been more important.
Without a robust business model and a global footprint that attracts big money sponsors, building sustainable success is nothing more than a pipedream.
The one absolutely critical key for any successful business is reputation; if consumers, stakeholders and the media lose faith in a business, it can lead to a rapid descent and have a very real affect on your bottom line – or in football terms, your ability to compete.
The recent departure of Ian Cotton from Liverpool was no real surprise. The club’s handling of the Luis Saurez episode was a disaster; a classic case study of how not to manage a crisis communication situation. But I don’t believe that was the only reason Cotton was sacked. The communications landscape has transformed in recent years, and the club does not have the capability to operate in the digital age.
There are so many facets to what influences perception of reputation. Whilst the single biggest influencer has always been the mainstream media, social media has now become a competitor. The media are still an incredibly powerful force, and will be the key drivers of public opinion. So the ability to influence journalists remains the primary focus of any modern communications function.
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