Recently the whole world has been watching as FIFA has come under fire for issues of corruption and other illegal activities. FIFA itself is having a bit of a public relations nightmare both dealing with the confirmed illegal actions that have come to light, and the rumor mill and gossip growing on the Internet about the organization; both of which are very difficult to deal with. This isn’t the most interesting aspect of this situation however.
I want to instead talk about two companies that have been involved with FIFA for years, and are responding in very different ways to this situation. First off we have Nike, which is actually under a bit of scrutiny along with FIFA due to past allegations of wrong doing, inline with FIFA corruption. They have released a statement in response to these allegations stating such typical things as “we are cooperating with investigators,” “We are sad to have the accusations come up,” and other such responses that we have all heard often enough. When I looked into the issue and read their statement I immediately thought it was one of those generic replies neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing. It was kind of a disappointment.
Visa, another major partner, on the other hand released a very powerful statement that speaks more much more to their character, and better defines them as a corporation. While they did have the benefit of not being accused of any wrongdoing, they still came out strong in their position of wanting a change in FIFA’s operations. They even stated that unless they see a clean up of all of these corrupt practices they will have no choice but to sever all connections and sponsorship with the organization.
In truth, neither Nike nor Visa will probably see much of a change in revenue as a result of either of these statements. But each and every statement an organization makes adds one more piece to the puzzle that becomes their image. It’s entirely up to the company what kind of picture they choose to create through their own actions and words. I feel that in terms of further creating that image in crucial moments such as this that the Nike public relations team took the easy and cliché way out, while Visa established itself more in realm of standing for what’s right even if it means losing a powerful sponsorship connection.