Nearly half of the world's population will be watching as the soccer playing field narrows over the next four weeks, until there is only one world champion left. Whether you're watching or not, the 2014 World Cup definitely offers some interesting perspectives for people working in B2B public relations, marketing, and advertising.

We found this Inc. article interesting. It takes a look at how Puma, a relatively small athletic apparel company competing on the world stage with giants like Nike and Adidas, has used some stealthy marketing moves to draw soccer fans' attention.

Puma has done two things: taken advantage of the opportunity for players to wear whatever brand of cleats they want rather than sticking with Adidas, the official sponsor; and planning to launch an ad campaign after the tournament is over.

FIFA_World_cup_2014-219x300.jpgThe same stealth marketing technique has worked for lots of other former underdog brands. Inc. explains what these companies do that makes the strategy work:

  1. They don't try to be everything to everyone. Puma has a strong connection to the soccer world - its CEO is a former player, and legendary player Pelé wore Puma cleats - so the company narrowed its focus on the industry in an effort to become a leader in that arena.

  2. They stay out of the spotlight. Brands like Puma focus on making their products the go-to choice of the "experts" - that means they build credibility and don't have to rely on flashy advertising for sales.

  3. They stand out from the crowd. Want to get noticed? Do something different from the competition. That's exactly the approach Puma took for the World Cup - instead of offering high-tech performance innovations, they kept the design simple, but made the shoes stand out by making each shoe - not each pair - a different color.

So what's the lesson for B2B companies? In any industry, the principles are essentially the same: focus in on how you can offer the best service or product for your target audience, put an emphasis on quality and credibility, and find something you can do that will stand out from your competition - and your marketing efforts will pay off.

At Ripley PR, we're experts in helping B2B companies focus and define their public relations and marketing efforts, whether they are in healthcare IT, commercial construction, manufacturing, or franchising. Contact us today to see what we can do for your company.

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