Every match is preceded by the national anthems of the teams involved and those are our topic today. Why I think this event is so great is, in part, due to the national fervor it stimulates. Here in the U.S., I think it’s doubly so for those who are following it. After all, in addition to rooting for team USA, nearly all of us are from somewhere – we’re a nation of immigrants, right? – so there are at least a couple of teams we’re following. For those of us who love the game, we pay attention to the best teams in the world as well – Spain, Germany – actually, I won’t miss watching ANY game if I can help it. We hear a lot of anthems – more so than at the Olympics where we only hear those of the gold medalists.
Putting on our marketing hats for a second, national anthems are a form of audio branding. In commercial terms, audio branding is supposed to unify an identity (think NBC’s chimes, Intel’s audio tags, McDonald’s jingles, etc.) as well as bring certain brand attributes to mind. I think the better anthems do that as well.
One of the best is that of France – La Marseillaise. Its lyrics evoke revolution, conflict, taking up arms against tyranny, preparing for a fight – pretty good in a sports context – set to one of the world’s great tunes. By contrast, the Spanish anthem is a march that has no words and which isn’t in my mind particularly Spanish-sounding. Some – like Germany’s – were songs written by famous composers (Haydn) to which nationalistic lyrics were later added. Others (like the USA) were poems first that were sung to popular songs (“To Anacreon in Heaven” in this case, a popular British song).
There are songs about the monarch, the countryside, the strong will of the people and yes, even about a flag. The business point today is that obviously an anthem – audio branding of a people – can relate to almost anything. It’s meant to be a signature and perhaps to inspire. So ask yourself this: what’s my business anthem? What does my brand sound like? As my team lined up before a crucial meeting, what song would we write or use to represent us? What message would it send out to those standing (it is an anthem, after all) and listening? Give that some thought as you get ready for the next match.