I recently read a lot of posts on FIF regarding how our China tour hurt our branding. Perhaps many people here don't understand the challenges of brand building very well. Or maybe their frustration stemming from our shitty displays in China is momentarily clouding their thought process. Purely from a brand perspective, our trip to China was hardly a failure. Let me state a few points on why I would consider our China tour a success from a brand building point of view:
1. Brand building is not a sprint, its a marathon. This tour was just a small step in the gradual multi-year process of building our brand in China. This isn't our first trip there, nor is this going to be our last. Our performance in those games makes very, very little difference in the whole scheme of things.
2. Brand recall & recognition: Every football fan in China knew we were there. It was big news. Being there was far, far more important than how we played. The PR that we did between games is 90% of the battle. That is probably why we booked this trip in the first place.
3. Brand association: Didn't hurt that we played Real Madrid, Bayern and Milan. Brands grow by associating with bigger brands, even if we got clobbered on the pitch.
4. Brand loyalty: We already have a huge following in China. Please do not assume that Chinese fans are more fickle than us here. Imagine yourself in China, realising your dream of watching Inter in flesh for the first time - do you really think the score or performance will put you off Inter? More likely, you will be excited just to be there, and will leave the game a much bigger fan irrespective of the score/performance. If you think these guys will stop supporting us because we lost a few friendlies, you better think again:
5. Brand growth: How many people at FIF started supporting Inter because we played well in a friendly? We don't need a survey to know the answer to that question. Most countries in Asia have as good (and sometimes even better) TV coverage of top leagues and CL than we do in Europe. The brand will grow with what we do on the pitch in Serie A, and more importantly in the CL. The brand following will grow when we make bold, big moves in the transfer market. The brand will grow with consistent & frequent trips/PR in China. The score/performance in a few friendlies will have negligible impact either way. So if Mancini used the tour to focus on fitness/tactics, he is perfectly justified.
I wouldn't be surprised if our (probably fake) interest in signing Zheng Linpeng created more interest/excitement in China than Milan's better performances. So if you are disappointed about our shitty performances in China, I can understand that. I am disappointed too. But lets not over-react and call it a failure in brand building or a missed opportunity. It clearly wasn't.
(A large part of this article has been taken from my post in the Mancini thread - I think this is the right place for the content. If you read it there, you needn't read it here again.)