We talked to Adriano Ávila of Futbox on how to collaborate with the research and development project and share all this content wherever and with anyone and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adriano Ávila: We’re OK. My wife and I and also our parents and brothers and sisters are OK. For one, I can work from home and have been participating in online meetings for some years now. It is a privilege in my country. I am grateful for that, and I am aware of the duties and obligations that I have from the knowledge that I have acquired throughout my life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Futbox.
Adriano Ávila: I come from Belo Horizonte, the capital city of a state with many mountains and waterfalls. I graduated in Advertising in 1997 and owned a graphic design agency for ten years. In 2007 I had the idea to combine my skills with my passion for football. Brazil is a country that breathes this sport. In 2011 I got an investor partner for the portal. It took me two years to prepare and grow my collection of research and illustrations that I had been developing since 1990, in addition to the database and stopmotion animations that I had produced about the main goals scored in World Cups. These animations are the origin of the name “Futbox” (“box football” in Portuguese). In my childhood, instead of playing button football, I would design uniforms and shields, cut them out, and glue them on matchboxes to simulate players and goalkeepers. I still play with that to this day.
Today, Futbox.com offers the world’s most extensive illustrated collection of football in three languages. We research and bring back the history of world football and disseminate it with detailed illustrations and graphics and a high fidelity degree. We also have all World Cups (1930 to 2018) in illustrated format and full color, from the ball model used in each game to the complete uniforms of each match. We also have strategic content partners such as Getty Images and AFP to enrich the user’s experience when browsing Futbox.
Other sections on the portal draw a lot of attention, such as the Trophy Gallery, Derbies, and the Clubs and National Squads pages. Here we can see the full history of these institutions, the trophies they won, and the evolution of their shields and uniforms, from their foundation to the present day.
Futbox.com is co-creative. We have the “Collaborate” button with which fans and researchers, as well as other research centers, can send us photos, images, text, or even report an error. It creates a closeness between the brand and its fans. We collaborate with several countries in Europe, the United States, Asia, and our social networks to share various copyright content to promote this relationship.
All this research done over 30 years has enabled us to gain strategic knowledge about the world of football. In 2017 we opened Futbox’s branding area, where we worked on the football clubs’ visual identity as a tool for generating value and revenue. All of those uses the TFT Methodology: Tradition, Fans, and Trophies (“Metodologia dos 3Ts: Tradição, Torcida e Troféus” in Portuguese) has developed to work with the marketing departments of football and sports clubs in general. The solutions are presented sense to the market and, especially, to the fans, because of the fundamental creative and development process that balances tradition and innovation. Preserving the clubs’ history and symbols but updating and expanding them for the new scenario of the 21st century in terms of relationship, positioning, mobile access, customs, desires, and current needs.
Today we work with six clubs in Brazil. We are creating a partnership in the United Arab Emirates to publicize the Futbox brand and all the possibilities involving our products and services and our work philosophy, and how we relate to the world. You can find more details in the “What we do” section.
The great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano once said something significant: “We cannot let the duty to win overcome the pleasure of playing.” Uruguay, Argentina, and England are perhaps the countries where we can see the most extraordinary closeness between the game and the people, between football and fans.
How does Futbox innovate?
Adriano Ávila: In the way, we perceive football and relate to fans and business partners. We understand that the Club or Institution is the means and not the result. That result is the fans’ satisfaction and their sense of belonging. Whenever we achieve this, all investments made by sponsors, for example, will have a significant return and will provide a sustainable and profitable ecosystem for the environment and the market. The smart brand management of a football club, championship, or event happens when we create value between fans and sponsors.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Adriano Ávila: The pandemic has accelerated the migration of people’s habits to the digital environment. It further revealed the importance and the need to produce quality content relevant to people’s daily lives. Content and community are values that the Futbox brand promotes, defends, develops, and has done so since its foundation. We share these values free of charge on all our channels and on the blog where I write articles and publish articles from partners worldwide – always with a political, but never partisan, view. Football is a fundamental tool for understanding people and an excellent instrument for the inclusion and rescue of environmental, social, and cultural causes, promoting equality between races, beliefs, and religions, and always respecting their peculiarities. Long live diversity.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Adriano Ávila: “I like football because it forces us to take a stand.” It is a quote from Brazilian writer Luis Fernando Verissimo, with whom I identify broadly.
The most important lessons were the understanding that financial resources alone are not enough; entrepreneurs sell football, but the investors are the ones who do the trading. There has to be a constant synergy between those involved. Another point is resilience, the entrepreneur’s ability to do what you must, not necessarily what they think.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Futbox in the future?
Adriano Ávila: By always seeking self-knowledge and looking inside. The market already drives us to look outside all the time. My goal is to manage the Futbox brand as a world reference in football history, design, and branding and create a strategic ecosystem with research and IT partners worldwide.
Who are your competitors?
Adriano Ávila: Until recently, there were few. Futbox was part of the vanguard in the production and sharing of graphic and authorial content about football history. In publicizing the importance of design in the assimilation of solutions by fans and companies active in football.
How do you plan to stay in the game?
Adriano Ávila: By playing by the rules. Not the laws of the game, but the rules of ethics.
Your final thoughts?
Adriano Ávila: Rescuing the past means secure our present for future generations. Every project and enterprise involving sports need to balance tradition and innovation since they focus on people and their experiences throughout life. They are transforming memories and wishes into accomplishments. Perspective is what moves human beings.
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