The football World Cup presents a fantastic opportunity for brands to gain exposure, and those that stay on the sidelines will miss out.
The legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said that ‘football is not just a matter of life or death, it is much more important than that'. Anyone involved in consumer marketing, for the next nine months at least, should replace the word ‘football' with ‘consumer PR'.
With the World Cup taking place next June, and the England team not only involved, but in with a pretty good chance of coming home from South Africa with the trophy, you can rest assured that the nation is going to go football crazy.
And you have got to be in it to win it with your PR. Even if your brand has never had any connection with football or the England team, now is the time to explore perhaps how it could.
Until next summer, like it or not, it's going to be all about your Rooneys and less about your Clooneys. The World Cup is going to be the topic that gets more column inches, radio and TV chatter, tweets and digital down-loads, delivering that elusive ‘talkability' so beloved of brands.
My advice would be: ‘If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' If you are attaching your brand to other events or platforms, although they might provide a brilliant fit for the brand, you have to question whether they can compete with the might of the World Cup.
It is hard to fight the tidal wave of media coverage and word of mouth that the tournament brings. It is much easier and far more beneficial to try to ride it.
The beauty of a great consumer PR agency - I would like to plug Frank PR here, but modesty prohibits me - is that it will have the ability to come up with a creative solution as to how your brand can get involved with the World Cup and England's involvement.
It will feel entirely in keeping with the brand and get you the coverage of your dreams - even if you have never thought that your brand has any connection with either football or the World Cup.
If you do decide to go against the flow, then the sort of thinking that emanates from a PR agency will give you a better chance of getting cut-through in a nation awash with football fever.
The key is that the best consumer PR agencies will come up with solutions that are discipline-neutral. They are just great, insightful, often big ideas that get you talked about in the right way, in circles relevant to your brand.
The discipline-neutral mindset of the top PR teams is crucial. Go to an ad agency and its default execution mode is a TV ad. They are hard-wired to think that way. Even digital agencies are steering themselves to coming up with purely digital executions.
Constraining thinking in this way is bound to mean weaker creativity. Going back to Wayne Rooney, it would be like Fabio Capello asking him to man-mark a member of the opposition for 90 minutes. Sure he could do it, but Fab would never shackle one of his most potent, impulsive and creative forces in this way.
PR agencies have no default execution mode. A great idea can play out in any environment; it's the idea that is important, not the channel. One of the best sport-related campaigns Frank ever dreamed up was for HP Sauce, where we inked a deal with the governing body of snooker that made HP the official sponsor of the brown ball.
We also persuaded Jimmy White to change his name to ‘Jimmy Brown' to commemorate the landmark commercial agreement. We did not set out to come up with an idea that was within any of the conventional marketing silos, we just set out to come up with a great idea.
Even if I haven't necessarily managed to convince you to start thinking football for your brand
in the coming months, hopefully I will have opened your mind to the more powerful and encompassing creative thinking that originates from the consumer PR sector.
We are not constrained in our thinking and, as a result, I genuinely believe that as an industry, we come up with so many more great ideas that any other marketing field. Ideas are the currency that all of us can never have enough of
Graham Goodkind is chairman and founder of Frank PR
Find out more about Frank PR here.