With the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games just around the corner, and a slew of Sports-centric ads about to come at you hard and fast, this is the perfect time to reflect on how smart brands are taking a very different approach to national and international events.
Digital and Content marketing have been on the upswing for years now, and that has certainly affected your year-round marketing plans — but stop to consider what this means for a huge televised event like the Olympic Games. Billions of consumers around the world will be watching day and night as their country competes for the Gold. Not only are they tuning in to the games on TV, but even more are turning to YouTube as a means to watch and re-watch their favorite moments. Now you might be thinking, “Great, we know they like videos, so let’s make a big expensive commercial!” but I’d advise you to reconsider.
Consumers have been trained for years to ignore obvious ads that try to sell them just about anything, even when they’re actually interested in the product or service on display. Instead, it’s become all but mandatory that brands become publishers, putting out consistent streams of content that matter to their respective audience. It may seem less effective for your bottom line, but it’s vital to long-term growth that brand awareness be key.
Are you a Women’s Apparel brand? Great, maybe you could put out an infographic on Olympic uniforms over the last 50 years. How about a small Rock Climbing Gym? I bet your members would love to see which Olympic athletes climb regularly. Or maybe you’re an E-commerce company selling flowers and gift baskets? Surely a video on young athletes thanking their moms, dads, and coaches for their support would tug at Olympic-viewers’ heartstrings.
Content marketing isn’t flashy, it isn’t advertising, and it isn’t all about selling on the spot. What it is about is making sure that your audience trusts you, and recalls your brand when it’s time to purchase. The Olympic Games are the perfect stage for these more drawn out content campaigns because they unfold over the course of a few weeks, as opposed to the annual Super Bowl game that only captures audiences’ attention for an afternoon.
For a great example of content marketing on a large scale, let’s rewind to the 2014 Winter Olympics, when P&G ran its incredibly successful “Pick Them Back Up” campaign based on the aforementioned insight. This multi-video series celebrated Olympians and the people that got them there, and made P&G one of the most effective Olympic sponsors in recent years. Would they have been nearly as successful if they had only produced one loud and flashy ad? The short answer is no.
P&G is not necessarily a brand that incites passion in consumers, which makes it necessary for them to create these storylines if they want to foster that passion through original content. They trusted the power of content marketing when it didn’t align with the typical “pay big bucks for one commercial” philosophy of Olympic Games past.
It’s important here to note one huge thing that P&G did right from the very beginning – it aimed to create a video series around a viral theme, not just a viral video. Similar to what Dove did with their Real Beauty Sketches, they took a topic that would keep viewers emotionally engaged and created pieces of content around it. They created content that makes people feel good, content that they want to share and talk about, not to mention watch over and over. It keeps their brand top of mind with nothing but positive associations.
After the initial success of the “Pick Them Back Up” spot, P&G capitalized on the content by releasing multiple videos around this authentic social theme. By creating multiple pieces instead of only one, they not only further developed this theme and deepened the brand association, but they kept people interested. Once viewers saw the first video and inevitably enjoyed the content, they didn’t need to stop there. They could go online to the P&G website or YouTube channel and see more from the series.
And herein lies the beauty of content marketing. A brand creates content that is relevant to its audience — videos, blog posts, infographics, or even social media posts — and forms a lasting relationship that keeps them top of mind. Not because of a big in-your-face advertising campaign, but rather because the content they created meshed so seamlessly with the consumers’ lives that they actually paid attention.
So this Olympics season, take advantage of the unique things your brand has to say about the event, the athletes, the teams, and everything in between. Make yourself a resource for engaging, informational, emotional, or inspiring content that matters to your particular audience, and keep them coming back for more. If you need help in brainstorming original theme ideas, read posts like this one from our blog or contact the smartest, most creative content marketers you know *wink wink*.