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Greek Soccer Will Not Save Us But It Will Surely Help Heal Our Bruised Brand

Greece then…

2004 was Greece’s year. A successful hosting of the summer Olympics, a “booming” economy (even tho it was at the top of a bubble with growing debt ready to burst, but booming nonetheless) and winners of the 2004 UEFA European Championship – shocking the world in the process… and ourselves!

Greece now…

Fast forward several years later. Greece as a country was on the brink of financial collapse, defaulting on payments, downgraded by the world financial markets… while its people were losing their jobs, having their incomes slashed, fleeing to other countries for less-than minimum wage jobs, being unfairly taxed to compensate for wealthy tax dodgers - all while the international media made it a point to excessively spotlight Greece and its downward spiral (as if Greece was the only country to experience troublesome times in the last decade).

Exactly ten years since that epic Euro Championship victory and 20 years since Greece’s first World Cup appearance in 1994 in the United States, we find ourselves creating history again making it to the round of 16 at the World Cup tournament in Brazil. Yup, the top 16 teams in the WORLD vying for that shiny, golden cup… and little Greece was right up in there!

Glimmer of hope?

Not expected to win a game, yet alone advance to the next round of 16, Greece actually played solid with a mix of young and old players (some of which should have retired from international play after 2008!). Pushing the Costa Ricans to penalty shots after a nail-biting, scream-fueled overtime, Greece lost… and was eliminated.

We had a shot and we advanced to the round of 16! Something that has never been done before by the Greek National Soccer Team. But what does that mean for us as a nation? As a people? As a unified Greek diaspora? A whole freaking lot!

A new outlook on Greece?

This put Greece in the spotlight on an international level again – and for all the right reasons this time. Aside from what the international community was saying, it was what the Greeks within and outside of Greece were saying and feeling. Despite the hardships faced the last several years, this World Cup journey provided a refreshing movement of Greek pride around the world, in every Greek community and by others who jumped on the Greek bandwagon after their nations were eliminated in the tournament.

How a simple soccer chant can mean so much!

If there is something Greeks are great at (and we are great at many things despite what the critics say), it is coming up with clever soccer chants that echo off the stands at soccer club stadiums throughout the country. Most of which are x-rated and not for a young or innocent audience. So why would we expect anything different in support of our Greek National Soccer Team?

Once we advanced to the final 16, immediately a new chant supporting the national team made its way around social media. It goes a little something like this (say it with pride, in a powerful tone, out loud… represent my people).

In Greek:

Χρωστάω ΤΕΒΕ, ΔΕΗ και ΙΚΑ, Ελλαδάρα κέρδισε την Κόστα Ρίκα!

In Greeklish:

Xrostaw TEVE, DEI kai IKA, Elladara kerdise tin Costa Rica!

In English (loses its powerful meaning in translation but here you go):

We’re in debt paying for insurance, electricity and social security bills, Greece beat Costa Rica!

What does this mean to me? It means that despite all the negativity in the motherland, the issues faced in the Greek people’s country and personal lives, a win against Costa Rica would help them mentally and emotionally escape for a little while. And even if they do not win (and they didn’t), the journey getting to that game has helped people smile, cheer and come together… even if for a little while.

Congrats to the players that helped make this happen!

A special shout out to the team (and support staff) that initially seemed to be more interested in taking “selfies” every chance they had, instead of playing soccer.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Giannis Fetfatzidis, Kostas Fortounis, Fanis Gekas, Panagiotis Glikos, Jose Holebas, Stefanos Kapino, Giorgos Karagounis, Orestis Karnezis, Kostas Katsouranis, Panagiotis Kone, Giannis Maniatis, Kostas Manolas, Kostas Mitroglou, Vangelis Moras, Sotiris Ninis, Avraam Papadopoulos, Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Dimitris Salpingidis, Georgios Samaras, Andreas Samaris, Michalis Sifakis, Dimitrios Siovas, Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Vasilis Torosidis, Georgios Tzavellas, Alexandros Tziolis, Alexandros Tzorvas and Loukas Vyntra.

All our interactions amongst each other and with others who are not Greek are a reflection of the powerful Greek brand. Being in the spotlight for 15-minutes helped propel good vibes and positive energy to our nation at a time going into one of the busiest tourism periods in Greece in a long time – breaking records and bouncing back to where tourism in Greece was pre-2004. Bravo!

Bruises eventually go away. So too will the bruised brand of Greece.

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BouliBrand is a boutique marketing + entrepreneurship + communications + branding movement focused on creating vibrant, purposeful and revenue-generating media experiences on a partner-by-partner basis. With strategic partnerships in New York, Toronto, Athens, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Shanghai, we work directly with savvy, driven and optimistic clients wanting to produce fresh platforms of communication and target nouveau markets internationally with their startup businesses and services. BouliBrand is propelled by Georgios (George) Stroumboulis (Γιώργος Στρουμπούλης) - an internationally seasoned marketing professional with tangible business experiences across multiple industries and diverse cultures. To learn more about BouliBrand, Georgios and the stimulating team spearheading the BouliBrand movement forward, get in contact at www.BouliBrand.com, www.Facebook.com/BouliBrand, www.Twitter.com/Stroumboulis (@stroumboulis), www.Instagram.com/Stroumboulis (@stroumboulis), www.LinkedIn.com/in/Stroumboulis, www.YouTube.com/Stroumboulis or www.Pinterest.com/BouliBrand. We all have opinions, thoughts and comments about various topics in our daily lives. Stroumboulis likes to write about his in this Opinion / Blog section. Topics and commentary may include: business, culture, Hellenism, entrepreneurship, start-ups, development, branding, marketing, financing, investment and many others. To suggest new blog ideas, please contact Georgios via his contact page at BouliBrand.com.

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