You don’t have to be following up closely on every round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to know it has been a true glow-up for the underdogs.
As early favorites such as title holder Germany and standard top contenders like Argentina, Spain, Portugal and Brazil struggled to make it past early rounds, less fêted teams including Croatia, Belgium and host country Russia delivered solid, consistent performances throughout the tournament, leaving audiences worldwide in a mix of admiration and anticipation.
Top footballers, namely Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar did not fare better, receiving their fair share of criticism from fans who seemed to have been left underwhelmed by their respective performances, while names like Croatia Captain Luka Modric’ soared up Google’s search tab as the matches unfolded.
At a time when social media stars, lifestyle sensations and massively followed influencers have stolen the spotlight and all the bucks that come with it, it may very well be far less celebrated people who are having a real, tangible and authentic influence in society, just like what’s been happening in the World Cup.
A number of recent studies have proved micro-influencers who lack the humongous following of their famous counterparts but actually take time to candidly engage with people actually have more influence on their followers, making them a more valuable asset for brands and marketers.
Just like excellence cannot be predicted by rankings, influence does not come in numbers, no matter which tools you deploy to measure it. It is a notion that can only be sensed and assessed over time and may actually take years to exert a tangible impact.
Could be entering the era of dark horses?
The question remains open to interpretation and further research. But regardless of the answer, it is time that we quit the millennial-perpetuated overachiever mentality and step into the less overhyped yet more efficient profile of the underdog.