Fresh brand insights from Rugby World Cup France 2023

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Oct 31, 2023


There have been some pretty significant moments during the last few weeks of our Rugby world cup, that have presented some incredible branding lessons & insights – we are sharing a few of our favourite highlights:

1. We are “Stronger together”

[Taglines are powerful when they talk to purpose]

The “stronger together” tagline has pulled on our nations heartstrings.

It’s rooted in the fact that in 1995, when our nation was going through so much change, rugby was one of the significant moments of a nation uniting. It runs deep. We can all recall the significant moment when Mandela congratulated the team.

Then when the message was supported with more heartfelt interviews, where the players weren’t playing for themselves, they were playing for the people and places that were significant to them. For the nation.

The concept wormed its way into our hearts.

Purpose, is a powerful drive.

2. The Jersey can affect a nation

[and branding colours matter]

When they launched the new “light” turquoise Jersey , I don’t think they anticipated the media onslaught.

Whilst the fresh colour palette was a lovely colour choice, it wasn’t our “green and gold”.

More than colours, ”green and gold” represents an identity that the nation have bought into.

And boy did these colours evoke emotion.

The revolt on social media resulted in a Jersey change half way through the cup series.

Brand colours build an identity.
Brand colours are powerful.
And change needs to be managed properly.

Which brings us to the next point…

3. They are Bokke – not Blomme

[icons are another emotional brand connection]
As part of the Jersey change… I think they thought we hadn’t noticed that they had swapped the springbok with a protea – and started trying to call our boys proteas.

Here’s the thing… they are Springboks,
NOT Proteas (who are our cricket counterparts).
So whilst they may have thought that using the national flower as our emblem – would be a lovely way to unite the cricket and rugby under one roof… it isn’t.

They are bokke,
Not blomme.

And I you can hear the confusion as even the presenters are getting mixed up when trying to be politically correct in their discussions.

4. The Nation is on Bongi “se Kant”

[Language is important – be culturally appropriate]

When Bongi spoke Afrikaans – using the word “Kant” – which means “side” – it was misinterpreted by the apprising team & resulted in a racism allegation.

A big lesson for all brand builders – is how language can be misinterpreted.

And a testament to South African humour, is all the memes and interpretations subsequently 😆


About the Author

Emma is the Chief Coffee Drinker here at FreshSage. With over a decade in branding + another decade in corporate business - she's always balancing the creative with business strategy + goals. She believes everyone has a purpose + calling, and secretly loves helping her clients find theirs. When she's not building brand experiences, she's spending time with her High-school sweetheart + kidlet, tinkering in her veg garden, painting an abstract, and enjoying vino with friends.

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