What’s in a name?

Objectives, strategy and vision are all the focus of risk assessment; so is an organisation’s value proposition (why people come to use its services or to buy its products) and that includes its unique selling proposition (USP), if it has one.

USPs are like secret weapons; you need to protect them and to continuously hone them.  They are things that make you stand out or make you especially successful or give you an edge on the competition, from the English longbow at Agincourt (the English won the battle but lost the war) to the scoring instinct of Jimmy Greaves, to Amazon’s data on our product preferences and Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe for Kentucky fried chicken.  Risks to the secret weapon are existential risks to the organisation itself.

Electronic Arts was a small California video game company until, 30 years ago, it licensed the name FIFA from association football’s highest governing body.  Its FIFA video game has grown into a multi-billion dollar business with over 100m players and around 150,000 employees working on the game.  All of this has turned it into a Fortune 500 company worth $39bn.  Players of the video game pay up to $70 for each annual iteration with the UK and USA the two biggest markets.

EA’s current deal with FIFA expires at the end of the men’s World Cup in Qatar in 2022.  FIFA has demanded an increase on the $150m it receives annually from EA and they want to limit the deal to the video game.  EA wants to expand into digital memorabilia and esports tournaments.

EA says that they are ready to ditch the FIFA name on the assumption that players will stay with them.  “We foresee no major risks”, they say.

They may say that, but assumptions about your USP or secret weapon are possibly the most dangerous risks you can have…

Data Sources: The Financial Times; Wikipedia

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