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PROFILE: Martyn Lambert - VP of Marketing EMEA, Avaya

It seems strangely appropriate to arrive at Avaya's Guildford offices in the blazing heat of an unexpectedly warm early spring day. Firstly, because this kind of very un-British weather reminds the visitor that Avaya is a US company, and the heat haze and impressive, if understated, corporate HQ would seem more at home in California than Surrey. (Even though the company is actually based in New Jersey.) Secondly, because the sunshine, sense of optimism and clear skies – and more importantly conspicuously-branded minibus parked outside the main entrance – reinforce the link the brand has with the event of the year, and probably of the next four years: the FIFA World Cup.

As its biggest and only dedicated B2B sponsor, Avaya stands to benefit enormously from the month-long tournament and is not turning down any opportunity to promote its involvement. Having committed $100 million over six years on the deal, this is readily understandable.

This commitment to marketing is bold, particularly for a company that is only six years old: Avaya came into existence in 2000. It might even be considered arrogant to invest such large sums in what is essentially a single event, which – if not managed or leveraged properly – could spell disaster for the company and its brand on a global scale. Given the turmoil that the IT sector has endured in recent years, putting all your marketing eggs in one basket might not be wholly recommended.