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    The Olympics Bandwagon for Brands – On or Off?

    By Charlie Cookson - Aug 24, 2016
    The Olympics Bandwagon for Brands – On or Off?

    Rio 2016 was a proving ground for the 11,178 athletes competing in the games from around the world. And, in turn, the competition was also heated for brands looking to make an impact by carving out a sliver of the spotlight for themselves.

    As such, many of the world’s most agile brands found opportunity in the occasion to amplify their positions and create relevance with audiences.

    Agile brands do this by attaching a bigger idea to the products they promote. A higher purpose that offers permission to play in a much broader space than product alone would allow.

    This undoubtedly created a temporary increase in sales for some businesses – but the tactic has also brought about a certain level of scrutiny. Some say that brands ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ with little consideration to whether the association is relevant – could do longer term damage that a short term sales spike could ever offset.

    So, how do brand owners choose the right things to associate with? How do they avoid the ‘bandwagon’ and make sure that they are building brand, not diluting it? More important still, not simply selling their soul for a few quick bucks?

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    The answer is simple. Agile brands do this by attaching a bigger idea to the products they promote. A higher purpose that offers permission to play in a much broader space than product alone would allow. This is how brands with seemingly opposing ideologies (think McDonalds and Coca-Cola) can credibly partner events such as the Olympics. McDonalds and Coca-Cola don’t stand for burgers and sugary drinks, they stand for loving life and happiness respectively.

    Singaporean brands’ reaction to Joseph Schooling’s historic gold medal win illustrates that agile brands can stay true to what they stand for, whilst finding compelling new ways to be part of the cultural zeitgeist.

    Decide for yourselves which of the below examples are ‘bandwagon’ and which are truly brand relevant.

    Singapore Airlines gave Schooling a million free air miles ‘Because the King of the Butterfly deserves a great way to fly’.

    Singapore Airlines gave Schooling a million free air miles

    The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offered a special cold brew honoring the star – made in 50.39 seconds (or close to it).

    The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offered a special cold brew honoring the star

    Mini also found opportunity to use Schooling’s success to amplify its position. Celebrating those who ‘defy the odds’ and choose their own path in life.

    Mini also found opportunity to use Schooling’s success to amplify its position

    Grab offered $3 off rides to and from local swimming pools in Singapore.

    Grab offered $3 off rides to and from local swimming pools in Singapore

    The point is that when a brand knows what it stands for – it can find ways to amplify its message faster and in more relevant ways. Opportunity lies around every corner – so get to know your brand, crystallize what you stand for and you’ll know instinctively what’s right and when you’re in danger of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’.   

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