Everything we do is rooted in sports. The adidas Group and its brands have a history like few others when it comes to iconic sports shoes that have broken world records, scored the decisive goals and triumphed on the world’s biggest stages. It is this history and experience we draw from, we fall back onto, we move forward from.
Therefore it is only logical that our approach towards blogging is driven by that one core competency as well: our passion for sport. For us, today marks the start of the season. This very post is the sound of the gong in a boxing arena, the sound of the whistle on the pitch, the call of the umpire to play. We want to use this opportunity to explain the adidas Group’s approach towards corporate blogging. Therefore, we have dug deep into our archives and found seven quotes of successful athletes which we think are important to get a corporate blog running.
1. There is no “I“ in team
Real Madrid’s coach Jose Mourinho once said:
“I hate to speak about individuals. Players don’t win you trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies.”
What is true on a football pitch goes for corporate blogs as well. Unless your company is a one-man show, corporate blogging should be a team sport rather than an individual sport; especially when your goal is to show the depth and breadth of your company (read more about this blog’s objectives and its mode of operation here). We set up a core team of employees who help us with three things:
- identify stories behind the brands in order to provide you with a representative picture of the adidas Group’s everyday life (yes, there is such a thing);
- identify other bloggers who want to share compelling blog posts;
- write blog posts, too.
And even though working as a team is a prerequisite for winning the trophy in corporate blogging, we need to disagree with Mr. Mourinho a little: There is nothing wrong with introducing and talking about individuals and their jobs, too. Eventually we want to be personal. Sorry, Mr. Mourinho.
2. Train first, then play
We set our goals and prepared the team as well as possible for this moment. If you take a look at the adidas Group blog, you will see that we have had something like a little training camp throughout the last couple of weeks; we decided to keep all the content live in order to give you an idea what you can expect from us and to give you a base for your decision whether or not you want to go for the season pass (subscribe to the adidas Group blog here).
In other words, these were the try-outs of a rookie-team. It’s a rookie-team with ambitious goals, though. Now it is on you to cheer or to boo – let us hear your feedback.
Obviously we have been asking for feedback already during the testing phase and kept an eye on what others do or did; as Dwight Howard puts it:
“If you want to be the best, train with the best”
For us there were several champions such as the mother of all German corporate blogs, the Daimler blog as well as the Cisco blog(s), the ebay corporate blog or the Southwest Airlines blog – just to name a few. Some of them we just watched closely, others became personal advisors (such as Uwe Knaus from the Daimler blog or Klaus Eck). We’d like to thank all of them for their direct or indirect support.
3. Make sure you can go all the way
We got the ball rolling today and obviously getting started is the first and most important step. But to say it in the words of David Beckham:
“You don’t get anything in life without working hard; you can have a certain amount of luck along the way, but if you don’t work hard at something you don’t get the most of what you want”.
Half-hearted things don’t work well, not in sports, not in life. Therefore it has been very important to us to create appropriate conditions for the blog launch: We ensured that we have the support from both the top and the base of our company, that there are sufficient resources and that the people involved in this project are very passionate about it; because only when you have the entire team on board are you ready to roll.
4. Work on your flexibility
This is a corporate blog which has to contribute to our company’s success just like everything else we do. Finally one of this blog’s goals is to explain: how does what we do make us successful (or not) and what can users take away from it. So yes, there is a need for a tactical approach…but just to a certain degree…
Lionel Messi said:
“I can’t stand tactics! Of course I realise they’re important and you can’t do without them, especially the way football’s played today. But then when it comes to the game, the thing that counts is what you do on the spur of the moment, without thinking about tactics at all.”
As corporate bloggers, we follow a tactical approach – for the good of the game, the team and our readers. But we will try to be flexible and to leave some space for improvisation – because life can’t be scheduled.
5. Find your swing
Another key aspect corporate bloggers can learn from top athletes can be found in the answer of baseball player Ryan Howard. When asked what the secret of his incredible swing is, his answer was:
“There aren’t really any secrets! It’s just about getting to know yourself, what your own swing is.”
As a blogger you have to find your swing as well; your own voice, your identity and your place. So do we. We are in the lucky position of having our values set in stone. We know what we want to stand for and how to express it. Nevertheless, when it comes to corporate blogging, we still have to find our voice and our swing.
This comes along with another value that is often mentioned by top athletes and especially by many successful tennis players…
6. Be confident
Stan Smith once said:
Another tennis ace, Ilie Nastase, further illustrates what confidence is all about:
“I am sure some people like me and some people don’t like me. I wanted people to like me. But it is impossible to please everybody”
…and you don’t need to either. One thing is for certain: Not everyone will share or agree with our ideas and with how we approach things. We are confident enough to conduct a dialogue in order to define our position. However, we are also looking forward to utilizing this platform as a tool for reflection; and becoming convinced sometimes requires self-confidence, too. That’s why we believe corporate bloggers need self-confidence just like athletes do.
7. Be authentic and they will listen
When you publish something, you want people to read it. But how do you do that? Let us see what cricket player Kevin Pietersen has to say about that.
“I never set out to be a crowd pleaser, not at all. But I’ve always said when I finish my career I want people to see me as an entertainer, who put smiles on people’s faces, because I just like to see people happy”
Some people are naturally funny; they strike a chord with the crowd, both on and off the pitch, online as well as offline. Do you wonder what their secret is? They are who they are. Not everyone can be a world-class entertainer, but if you have a message and stick to it, if you are authentic, people will listen.
Now it’s on you: What is your advice for us?