Going for Gold?

Sharon landscape web cropWe’re now just hours away from one of the biggest sporting events in the world; an event that draws millions of people to one place, with a single focus, for just 16 days – the Rio 2016 Olympics! In fact, it’s one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world, allowing businesses to promote their products and services to a global audience.

Some businesses will be using the Olympic Games as a vehicle for launching their new products or services in that country. The likes of McDonald’s and Coca Cola, will be using it as a global profile-raising / corporate social responsibility opportunity. McDonald’s spends an estimated $100m on its involvement in the Olympics and in 2012 was reported to have paid an additional £75m to extend its sponsorship deal until 2020.

This must mean there are some positive benefits of linking your brand with a global sporting event, right?

The Olympic values of Friendship, Respect and Excellence, can ring true for any business but what can we take from these values and how can we link them to our own business activities?

Friendship – we could interpret this to mean likes, shares and engagement across social media. According to Twitter, 35 percent of users follow businesses to get discounts and promotions. Not every small business has the funds to support this type of activity, so how can you do it?

Twitter conversations often peak around large national events or sporting occasions. Get involved and use a hashtag linked to that event (for example #Rio2016) to create engaging tweets that focus on the event and encourage followers to join in your conversation. Keep the conversation on track and refer people back to what your business does with subtle promotional messages. However, don’t bombard or hijack the conversation, this will only damage your brand.

Respect – Deliver good customer service. Most businesses will strive to do this on a daily basis, but it has a far wider reach than answering the phone politely and dealing with enquiries. Take it a step further, listen to your customers and what they want, not what you think they want. Act on feedback, ideas and analysis.

If you respect your customers, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say and respond positively, which will increase overall customer satisfaction. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to promote your business, and if your customers are happy and satisfied, then they’re likely to share their experience with others.

Create a personality for your brand, engage with your customers and followers, act on feedback and listen to their ideas.

Excellence – Now, I’m not suggesting any of us are perfect, but by providing insightful and relevant tips and information, people will look to you for advice. Engage new followers by regularly creating interesting and useful content for them in your blog. Creating a blog allows you one more indexed page on your website and gives people a reason to keep coming back to your site. Give them excellent information, top tips and make your business their first point of call for advice.

Share some timely images!

And finally, as the Olympic teams prepare themselves for the opening ceremony, bear this one thought in mind: using photographs or videos in your communications, particularly on social media, will ensure your content is shared more widely.

Having a bank of high-quality, on-brand images means you’re ready to go should the moment arise and boy did it arise for Oreo during the 2013 Super Bowl!  Check out their famous ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet during a 30-minute blackout at the Superdome: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/oreos-super-bowl-tweet-dunk-dark_n_2615333.html.


This post was originally published in issue 91 of Lincolnshire Business magazine.