4 management lessons from the Premier League

What can business learn from Britain's greatest export?

by Mat Snow
Last Updated: 03 Jan 2019

Since its founding in 1992, the Premier League has grown to encompass all that is great about English football. The cut-throat, fast paced struggle for survival between 20 teams - where even the smallest clubs have the opportunity to occasionally upset the richest - makes it arguably the most compelling league in the world.

It’s also grown to become one of Britain's most valuable brands. In the 2013/14 season, according to a study by EY, the competition generated £3.4bn in added value for the UK economy and was responsible for 100,000 jobs.

Behind its off-field triumph has been a revolutionary marketing strategy built around engaging new audiences, embracing new technology and banging the drum around what makes British football the best in the world.

So what can businesses learn from its success?

1) Play to your strengths

The Premier League is marketed as a collective, emphasising its competitiveness. This makes the brand more resilient as star players come and go than either France’s Ligue 1 or Spain’s La Liga. What is your enduring competitive advantage? And are you making the most of it?

2) Let customers interact

Fans feel so passionate about the Premier League brand because they feel they help create it. How can you encourage customers to ‘prosume’ and co-create?

3) Be technologically agile

In the past 20 years, technology has revolutionised the way fans consume football. With demand for Premier League matchday tickets far exceeding supply, the internet, social media, video and authorised TV documentaries have all fulfilled crucial needs. That pace of technological change will only accelerate. Is your business agile enough to manage the threats and opportunities?

4) Be modern and inclusive

The nostalgic Downton Abbey stereotype of Britain will always find a niche but most British brands, especially those targeting emerging markets, would do better emphasising modernity and inclusivity. Less Richard Curtis, more Danny Boyle.


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