Celebrate good times

I love celebrations. Last week we celebrated the company’s 10th birthday with cake, champagne and jelly beans at all of our offices in the UK and abroad. It was a real joy to see happy smiling faces everywhere as we celebrated a decade of incredible achievement. On 9 June 2000, Betfair ran its first market on the Oaks at Epsom, where £3,462 was traded between 36 customers, watched over by just a handful of staff. Ten years later the company employs over 2,000 people spread across 30 locations around the world, and deals with more daily transactions than every European stock exchange put together.

And for the next month we are celebrating the most amazing festival in the sporting calendar. We are at our core a sports betting company, so the World Cup is a big thing for us, and we have been preparing for it for years. It’s only fitting therefore that we have a bit of fun and pay homage to the 32 teams battling it out in South Africa.

While the media are banging on about the cost to employers of World Cup distraction as staff absenteeism and lack of attention rises incrementally in line with England’s success on the pitch, and companies ban access to footy websites and make the flying of the Cross of St George a disciplinary offence, we have been encouraged to fly the flag – and more.

Our offices have become a sea of colour, creativity and noise to reflect the energy, excitement and diversity of the World Cup. Our staff in London have self organised themselves into 34 teams and given their bits of the office a bit of a makeover. There are 34 teams because two non-qualifiers that narrowly missed out on a trip to South Africa, Ireland and Egypt wanted to get involved.

My team is representing the Cameroon. Which is great, because the Cameroon have a rich heritage when it comes to World Cup celebrations!

Don’t be fooled into thinking we are all just on one great big World Cup jolly. Au contraire, this is going to be a very busy month for everyone as we mobilise to meet the demands of dramatically increased customer activity.

However, I work for a company that recognises the importance of celebration as well as the value of having a bit of fun while your nosed is pressed firmly against the grindstone.

Don’t just sit there feeling hard done by – check out our current vacancies and get involved!

Get a grip!

I don’t get it. Why would an intelligent adult go to the time, effort and cost of turning out at Wembley to watch their country play in an international friendly football match and feel compelled to boo John Terry before he has even kicked a ball?

The figures suggest that that 45% of women and 55% of men have been guilty of committing adultery. Given that these are the ones who have admitted to it or have been caught, I’d guess that the real numbers must be even higher.

I’ve had a belly full of ‘holier than thou’ phone-in show callers and journalists banging on about how John Terry has let down his club and country.

Only one person on this earth really knows the extent to which his behaviour is worthy of reproach. Who are we to boo the man when we have no knowledge whatsoever of what really went on. I don’t dispute that he had an affair with a single woman whilst married.

But hang on a minute. So did Bill Clinton. So did Prince Charles. So did John Prescott. And Hugh Grant, Tiger Woods, Jude Law, Gordon Ramsey, Chris Tarrant, and Brad Pitt. Not to mention Sven Goran Eriksson (OK he was not married), Gary Lineker, Ashley Cole and of course David Beckham, who incidentally attracted nothing but cheers as he ran the line warming up last night.

I think you get my drift. 

I’m not condoning adultery. But is it really something that should force England’s captain marvel to step down? 

Get a grip people!

New Brand Tribalism

I am a sucker for a good brand and follow many. Given the affinity I feel with many, what I find irrational is that despite a strong bond with a brand, it only takes one small act of poor customer service and the love affair is all over.

All except one. What is it about football clubs? They make so little effort to create and maintain a community – because they don’t need to. I have suffered brutally poor customer service over the last 34 years from Fulham FC but do my feelings diminish? Never!

For me it illustrates the absolute strength of authentic long term emotionally based relationships. Emotions are far more powerful for some of us than reason and logic, and the emotional commitment a football fan has generally creates a virtually unbreakable bond that most commercial brands would die for.

I’m going to return to this when I’ve had a bit more time to think about it. I’m thinking New Brand Tribalism…..