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customer experience
Alex Wilmott
  • By Alex Wilmott
  • Oct 16 2015

Togetherness - Fiction or Fundamental?

"A company’s culture and a company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. Brand is just a lagging indicator of culture.” - Tony Hsieh CEO Zappos

In my entire lifetime, I’ve never seen my homeland qualify for a major football tournament. Though I’ve seen our rugby boys dominate the six nations a few times, supporting the Welsh football team has often been a catalyst for emptiness. I’ll never be able to rid my mind of a 12-hour round trip to Anfield as a kid to watch Wales get beat 0-2 against Italy, during another failed Euro qualification campaign.

This morning however, the pain of the past was overshadowed by the hope of the future. Due to an immense qualification campaign, the Welsh have progressed to Euro 2016. And throughout the campaign we’ve seen strokes of genius from the Welsh team, but this isn’t the only reason why the Welsh fans are united in song.

From social media hashtags to goal celebrations, the notion ‘Together Stronger’ has been adopted by everyone involved with the Welsh Football Association - fans and players alike. More so than ever, the organisation has returned to the roots of their football DNA in this qualification attempt.

This sense of ‘togetherness’ has been woven into each and every department of the Welsh FA. Indeed their website itself looks more like a poetic war cry than a football association’s details.

Gorau Cwarae Cyd Chwarae – Best play is team play

Team play is the driving force at the heart of Welsh International Football. The message is woven into the chest of every Wales shirt. It unites Welsh players and fans under a single banner. We all wear the badge with pride…Together. Stronger.

The team’s on-pitch celebrations this weekend gave football journalists another glimpse of what togetherness looks like in a sporting context - the difference between ‘teammates’ and a ‘team’.

But is this culture of togetherness a pie in the sky marketing initiative or does it have business benefits for leaders?

Some brands have adopted similar principles as core values. The GiffGaff manifesto reads:

“We’re giffgaff, a David amongst Goliaths in Mobile-land. We may be sort-of-small but we’re big on that caring, sharing thing. We believe in community; in people; in the person, but specifically, that the power should rest with them. Now, if that makes you think we’re a bunch of do-gooders… good. It beats the opposite, doesn’t it? In fact, we’re the opposite in many respects. It’s a stubborn trait that all revolutionaries have.”

Reflecting on this idea of ‘togetherness’ within sports teams and business cultures, there seems to be a common theme amongst the leaders:

Epitomise the purpose…

Welsh football team manager Chris Coleman lives and breathes the Welsh team’s #TogetherStronger mission statement. In almost every interview and article, he emphasises the unique sense of camaraderie he sees within the squad. It’s the sort of passion that can’t be faked.

When it comes to togetherness and team spirit, leaders themselves need to incorporate it as part of their conversations. The leaders behind the history-making Welsh football team genuinely believe in the words of their logo. And though each player will wear a different number on their jersey, they’ll all share the same message across their chests on an international stage - Together. Stronger.