The closing ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup before the final between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City stadium in Soweto. AFP

The closing ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup before the final between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City stadium in Soweto. AFP

The 1982 World Cup will forever be remembered as one of the most iconic tournaments of all time. I recall my father and one of his friends cheering on Cameroon like their lives depended on it. And I can still recall Tardelli’s tears in the finals.

That was my basic introduction to the games. To date, it has remained the best World Cup of my life.

In those days, you got two 30-minute sections of football highlights every weekend on national TV, and the occasional 30 minutes on a Wednesday night.

Understanding the Fifa World Cup’s popularity isn’t a mystery — you just have to think like a boy. And, what boy doesn’t dream of thwarting the other team with fantastic dribbles and tricks, all under the approving eye of the world? Mix in patriotism and passion, and it’s a young boy’s fantasy.

Times may change. People may change. Cultural and consumer modes may change. But what makes young boys tick hasn’t changed; and since that first exposure in 1982, the World Cup has always brought my fantasy world to life.

That’s what successful brands do – they understand their consumer, opening for them windows to exciting worlds and possibilities. Apple, Google, Skype and Amazon are certainly strong brands.

But what of the future?

Will they have the staying power of, for instance, Heinz or Coca-Cola? And how have these household names endured? What are the secrets of their success, and what can modern brands learn from them?

The annual Interbrand Survey has just revealed that Coca-Cola has retained the No 1 spot as the top brand, with Apple taking the number two position. What the Interbrand list tell us is that the most enduring brands keep their customers happy.

Enduring brands keep true to their values, listen to their customers and innovate only where necessary. They don’t grab at the latest platform or piece of kit to be first for the sake of it – they concentrate on the core idea and use media cleverly and effectively.

The World Cup cultivated my own love for football, leading me to discover other players like Maradona and Lothar Matheaus. All these years later, I still remember the wonder and the fun.

This is why it is so exciting to entrust this coveted experience to my son. At six, his imagination is boundless and his love of sport is burgeoning. Beginning this Saturday, boyhood memories will be rekindled for me while new ones are created for my son.

Through such rituals, the World Cup will become woven into his life – to be cherished and shared for generations. The majority of happy couples I know overwhelmingly cite hard work as the key ingredient to a happy relationship.

Not the grinding slog but rather the hard work you love doing because the rewards are going to be high. The same is true of enduring brands.

What is your brand doing to open windows to wondrous worlds, to empower people to greater possibilities, to thrill them? What connections are you creating? What rituals are you fostering today that will remain relevant 80 years from now?

You can do it with any product or service. All you have to do is understand your consumer, give them what they long for and deliver it consistently.

Right now, I am experiencing my usual state of growing agitation and excitement as we grow close to the tournament. In the East African time zone most of the group stage matches will be played after midnight, but who cares?

For me and my son, it will simply be the continuation of a family tradition.