It was to thunderous applause and tears of jubilation that FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced on May 15, 2004 that South Africa would host the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
“It was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life, along with the release from prison of Nelson Mandela,” said Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the South African Local Organising Committee. “It was a release of emotions, joy and pain, of years of sitting at airports, on the road, on taxis and trains, going to houses and knocking on the doors of members of the FIFA executive committee.”
The most memorable image of that day was an emotional Nelson Mandela holding aloft the sports world’s most famous trophy, saying the moment made him feel “like a young man of 15”.
Cape Town Tourism’s 2010 strategy
Once the dust had settled after the celebrations, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
As of July 1, 2008, Cape Town Tourism’s mandate was extended to include destination marketing services for Cape Town. Until then, the City of Cape Town had outsourced destination marketing to Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU).
For Cape Town Tourism, this meant all systems go and all hands on deck: All organisational planning and roll-out of activities were focussed on delivering a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Our approach to marketing Cape Town was to focus on our customers, directed by global trends and in tune with our destination’s unique make-up. Our game plan was shaped around the “customer journey” and the unique opportunities and challenges that hosting the tournament in Cape Town presented.
Putting the customer and the citizen at the centre of our marketing, we focused on the following:
- Inspiring confidence with the message that Cape Town was “ready to welcome the world”
- Inspiring excitement with a series of Live It! Love It! LOUDER! activations aimed at giving expression to local versions of Cape Town
- Inspiring local ownership by equipping Cape Town community and tourism members to be the marketing force behind the event
To ensure focused delivery and reporting, Cape Town Tourism appointed a 2010 project manager and 2010 marketing manager and a clear planning strategy was mapped out. Strategic planning were to take place from November 2008 to June 2009; operational planning was penned in for June to December 2009; and World Cup readiness was slated for December 2009 to June 2010.
With limited funds available – no additional marketing funding was allocated to Cape Town Tourism for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ project – it was essential for us to identify areas where we could have the most significant impact, and to focus almost exclusively on those. Our motto at that time was: “Do less, better.”
We aligned our Host City priorities and programmes with those of the Cape Town Tourism business plan, one of the fundamental principles of which is that cities that are great to live in are also great to visit. The business plan outlines four key strategic priorities, including hosting the World Cup, realising the World Cup legacy, addressing seasonality (Cape Town 365) and achieving a broad geographical spread of tourism benefits.
Drawing on research of global best practice for hosting mega events, the following programmes were identified as key:
- Proactive public relations, both global and local
- Guest relations, with targeted trade and media hosting
- Communications, with targeted media, industry, trade and visitor e-newsletters
- Marketing tools including a destination marketing toolkit and DVD, an official visitors’ guide and eight local area maps
- E-marketing through a dedicated 2010 website, social networking and campaigns
- Citizen mobilisation with activations at existing Cape Town and specific 2010 countdown events
- Industry engagement, with the development and implementation of an ambassador programme to ensure buy-in from Cape Town Tourism members and the broader tourism industry
Cape Town Tourism adopted the official Host City slogan, “Cape Town is ready to welcome the world”, and devised ways to make it real, for industry and for citizens (via the citizen’s campaign, Cape Town. Live It! Love It! LOUDER!), and ultimately for World Cup visitors.
A two-pronged 2010 countdown strategy was devised.
1. International marketing for 2010: Through international reputation management and targeted media hosting, the aim was to encourage potential visitors to come to Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, by countering negative reporting and facilitating positive global reporting on the destination.
2. Domestic marketing for 2010: Through consistent citizen and industry mobilisation, the aim was to maximise the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ by ensuring that visitors and the media were warmly welcomed and embraced by all Capetonians, and that they experienced an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime visit to Cape Town that would turn them into brand ambassadors for the destination.