19 Mar

Don’t keep moving the goalposts

For lack of anything better to do last night, I watched some Champions League football and followed the live stream of fan and commentator comments, on the BBC website.

I promise this post won’t be too footbally (I’m a copywriter, I can make up words), as that’s not the point of it, so, if you’re not in the know; The Champions League is a competition in which the best football teams from across Europe compete, knocking each other out along the way, until there’s an eventual winner.
The definition of ‘best football teams’ are those who finished first, second, or third (sometimes fourth) in their respective leagues, the previous season.

Anyway, English football teams have taken a bit of a pasting – from teams from France and Spain – and have all been knocked out of this season’s competition.

This raises a few questions about the state of English football, not least because the top league in England – the English Premier League – is always referred to as ‘the best league in the world’ (largely by English football fans and commentators).

This is a problem when not one English club is now represented in the later stages of a major European football competition.

What then happens is a whole debate opens up, whereby people (on the aforementioned live streams, on radio stations, on sports TV channels) start saying; ‘well clearly we don’t have the best league in the world’.

The definition of ‘best’ then conveniently starts changing …. ‘no, no, no, we mean that it’s the fastest league in the world. The football is played at such a high tempo (compared to Spain, France, Italy etc)‘.
This then becomes ‘no, no, no, it’s the most exciting league in the world’ (loosely translated: no team can defend properly, so lots of goals are scored).

These arguments then go on, all night, across social media.

The problem is, in reality, the starting position: best league in the world.
‘Best’ is such a wide-ranging, indefinable term, that it’s really hard to stick to when used to describe something, or in a strapline … particularly when something is shown to be second best.

If you’re going to choose a position / positioning statement for your brand, try to choose one that’s plausible (can you say, with absolute certainty, that you’re ‘the best’ in your industry?), and stick to it. Don’t keep shifting position: it sounds awful.

Be brave. Say one thing. Stick to it.

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