The World Cup of The Un­der­dogs

ArabAd - - CARTE BLANCHE - By Christina Fakhry

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 we 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.

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