They have done it again. Ajax have given another lesson taken directly from their core values: talent, respect and boldness.
After impressing football fans last season with a daring and offensive game in an outstanding Champions League performance, the Dutch club has also taken action off the pitch with brave and creative decisions.
Why? Once a vision is deeply embraced and shared among a team, decisions are just consequences from this philosophy. A close family is what players, staff or employees form at Amsterdam, a bond that goes beyond colours.
“Best of luck, Frenkie” is the message that Ajax sent to De Jong when he signed for FC Barcelona via Mundo Deportivo, one of the top sports media outlets in Spain. Since when do football clubs buy full-page ads to wish good luck to a player who is leaving? Or cover a full city bus in Barcelona stating: “Barça, enjoy the future like we do”?
Now they have scored again. Ajax have recently announced they have signed a new agreement through which the club will offer equal conditions for men and women in terms of minimum salary, vacation days or health insurance. “Another step towards professionalism, that we hope other clubs will follow”, stated Daphne Koster, Women’s Football Director at Ajax.
Clearly, there are valuable sports business lessons we can take away from Ajax, including:
1. Every decision from any club department counts when being consistent with our values and brand personality
2. Creativity allows us to differentiate ourselves and become remarkable by adding value in uncommon occasions
3. Acting boldly, according to your principles, is one of the most effective strategies to lead a market niche
4. Stakeholders also represent a golden opportunity to leverage synergies even though they can be seen as rivals at first
Let’s hope this vision will be shared among more sports organizations that will join in creating value together beyond colours, from and for football fans.
This article was written by Xavi Bové from the Marketing Team at the Sports Business Institute Barcelona. To contact Xavi directly you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Sources: BBC, Ajax & Mundo Deportivo