How brands can learn from the Olympic and Paralympic Games

The 2016 summer of sport drew to a close on Sunday evening, with the Paralympic closing ceremony bringing down the curtain on a memorable few months. But how can brands learn from sponsorship activations from the Olympic and Paralympic games?

As we move further into the digital age, brands, businesses, and sponsors are immersed in the most competitive landscape ever seen. They are at the forefront of transcending markets across the globe and holding influence over a far greater audience than ever before, purely because of the power social media possesses.

The use of social media has moulded this competitive landscape, but it has also paved the way for the popularity of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to rocket. Social media has built the bridge between fans and businesses, boosting engagement and resulting in Rio 2016 being the most spoken about Games in history. It can provide ‘free’ engagement with customers without the costs of travel, traditional marketing or PR – and this is what we at WePlay specialise in.

But, do not throw caution to the wind entirely though. Social media comes with its downsides as well as its opportunities. These are part of the reason for the increasingly competitive landscape, and as a business, are factors you should be aware of. Social media is a window that allows competitors insight and access to information about how the wiring of a company works and thinks. It is therefore critical to approach social media in the right way. The Olympics and Paralympics have given us examples of that.

Know your audience

It is essential you know your audience. Break down your audience by platform, then tailor your content with specific aims of engaging with them.

Samsung was the standout Paralympic sponsorship activation according to Waggener Edstrom Communications, who used the ‘Brand Agility Index’ to score the various brands from the Paralympics. Although very funny, Samsung failed to mix up their activation. From the Olympics to the Paralympics, Samsung used the same theme but with different athletes, resulting in only 1,028 global mentions throughout the Paralympic Games, and for a brand of that size, it should be achieving more.

Align targets

Social media goals need to be in sync with marketing aims and KPIs should be constructed accordingly. This will depend on what you are trying to achieve.

Sales targets are straightforward to align with – by measuring click-throughs from a tweet or Facebook post, for example. Brand awareness can be reflected through the ‘vanity metrics’ such as a growth in number of followers, but engagement and sentiment should always be assessed. For brands at the Rio Games this summer, the more noise generated from a post, the better.

 At the Paralympics, Atos reigned supreme. Although 1,658 mentions throughout the entire Paralympic Games isn’t much, they were in fact the most mentioned sponsor, beating the likes of Samsung and Coca-Cola.

Ensure relevance

People respond better if content is personal.

Give customers/fans/users the opportunity to share a post, Panasonic UK’s #Superfans campaign was a perfect example of this. All fan photos posted with the hashtag #Superfans were posted on a dedicated web page on Team GB’s official site, and Panasonic UK offered extra incentives like Twitter competitions. It was then a simple case of retweeting or responding to the different entries. Such an approach is further evidence of the critical nature of user-generated content (UGC) to any brand’s armoury. 

The Olympics and Paralympics are the ultimate stage for brands to display their marketing prowess and for many, especially at the Olympics, they executed their campaigns extremely well. If you: Know your audience, align your targets, and ensure relevance , then you’re activation will always be as successful as it can be.

Converting communities into customers is something we at WePlay pride ourselves on, and with the use of these three basic steps, we will be sure to help you ahcieve your goals.