OP-ED: Why ‘we go again’ should be avoided by talent?

22 Nov 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

The article by Gary Neville last weekend scrutinising footballers’ post match content compelled Adam Naylor, Hanover’s Group Digital Director and Rebecca Hargreaves, Head of Client Services at The Playbook to address how the trend is doing footballers a disservice and offers learnings to business leaders.


You may have seen Gary Neville's recent article in The Times which talks about the content being shared on behalf of top flight footballers, which is lacking in personality and insight into the individual. Now whilst his article focuses on footballers, and the need for transparency and realism with the content - the same lessons can be applied to business content, so let's stretch that analogy even further - stick with me.

A bad result at the weekend and a poor performance on the pitch can be the result of inadequate decision making in the match - the same can be said in the world of business, but how many executives come out and share the real insights - do we not also deserve a clear, straight forward answer?

At times, we only see executives show up when there is an issue to be handled, and they may feel like being rolled out to the face the angry mob whilst ducking the figurative rotten fruit and vegetables before they can retreat back to the safety of their offices.

Social media, regardless of your feelings towards it, offers a fantastic opportunity to break down those barriers and speak on a person-to-person level, to customers, partners and the wider community. If brands (and footballers) show their personality and articulate their beliefs, they become relatable and can form invaluable connections. However, bland and inauthentic statements are spotted a mile off by marketing savvy consumers!

Now whilst you might be expecting our view that we should just take over the running of accounts and using our expertise and skills on behalf of the brand or person (and be paid for the work) - the fundamental truth is, whoever is running these accounts needs to speak with the same voice as the person or group they are representing.

One of the first things you learn (and we teach) in this industry is the importance of tone and content in telling a story; we are all natural storytellers - and we are able to modulate and change our content based on our audience - so perhaps those who are running the accounts this weekend, with the need to share results of the fixtures, will remember that away from the metrics and the algorithms - tap into that natural storytelling skill you have and the results will show for themselves.