As the world of football has been engulfed by the avaricious antics of billionaire club owners and global investment banks, the team at rbl brand agency decided to do some digging and see what these clubs promised us all in their publicly stated brand values statements.
To get us started, here is what Chelsea says about their brand value ‘Do The Right Thing’:
“Football isn’t just a game for us. It’s a force for good. Doing the right things means providing support to our people, stakeholders and fans. At Chelsea Football club we foster a culture that empowers our people to take responsibility and lead by example to ensure the club’s integrity is always maintained.”
An organisation’s culture and values are the internal expression of their brand. All too often the values (typically expressed as ‘professionalism’, ‘integrity’, ‘excellence’ and other very obvious ‘tickets to the game’ as we like to call them) are posted on the website and put up on the kitchen noticeboard and then forgotten about. But when the leaders/owners of the organisation forget to live by these values themselves, they can come back to haunt them.
Next up we have Liverpool
“Since its formation in 1892, Liverpool Football Club always has – and continues to – enjoy a unique relationship with its loyal and dedicated supporter based. It recognises and respects the invaluable contribution made by each and every supporter to the ongoing success and longevity of the Club. As such Liverpool Football Club endeavours to be open and accessible to its supporters, communication (sic) information via the appropriate channels in a clear and effective manner”.
“Manchester United is committed to informing all of its stakeholders about how it’s performing in the area of Corporate Social responsibility. The club works towards self-imposed targets whilst also aspiring to achieve independently recognised standards. The club aims to be clear about its priorities and aspirations, open and balanced about its position and honest about the challenges it faces.”
“Throughout its proud history, our football club has built deep, lasting kinship with communities in Manchester and in cities afield.
The fans show it in their unwavering passion for the Club; we show it through our dedication to building, for them, the successful and sustainable football club for the future.
It is a responsibility that the Club is honoured to shoulder.
We are immensely proud of the steadfast support of our fans and we remain committed to working closely with them in order to further our footballing ambitions.”
“Everyone who works for Arsenal Football Club understands that we will fulfil our goal of making fans proud of being together, always moving forward and doing things the Arsenal way. This final element is a key ingredient of who we are It’s about thinking about others, getting the detail right and going above and beyond expectations”.
They don’t set out their values explicitly but do proudly state:
“We are about playing with flair, style and passion. Players, coaches, staff and fans – we move forward, together as one.”
All this begs the question what do ‘values’ actually mean in top flight football? It’s precisely because the clubs have moved against their shared belief systems that fans feel so utterly let down.
Values don’t belong on the pages of a website or on the kitchen noticeboard, they belong in the Boardroom and the hearts of the key decision-makers whether you are a football club or a bank.