Some might say The Olympics have been around forever. The Ancient Greek Games are believed to have begun around 776 BC, whilst the Modern Olympic Games were initiated in 1896. Some things have changed, in order to keep the games contemporary and competitive; and others have stayed the same.
As you build a brand, there are many things you can learn from the Olympic Games and their journey as an enduring, relevant, global brand. How did it last so long? How did its managers know what to change, and when? Why has it remained relevant, and how does it maintain rapt audiences after all that time?
Let’s see what we can learn about how to build a brand…from the Olympic Games.
How to Build a Brand: Olympic Style
As we teach you how to build a brand, you’ll hear words like flexible, consistent, relevant, targeted…and The Olympic Games serve as a great example of how to enact these principles, and more.
Here are a few tenets of the Olympic brand that your brand should model in its own unique way:
- An Effective Visual Brand Identity: The Olympic logo that we recognise today was created at the inception of the Modern Olympic Games. Pierre de Frédy Baron de Coubertin designed the logo with five coloured rings to represent the world’s inhabited continents. The interlacing of the rings represented unity. All of this still remains true, and is highly representative of the Olympic Games. One thing that isn’t mentioned in Coubertin’s description is the choice of shape. Circles represent inclusiveness and infinity, both tenets that the Olympics demonstrate. Because the logo was designed to be symbolic of the games’ values, because it was simplistic, and because it was displayed often and during Olympic experiences, it came to be associated with the games and is now a universal symbol of not just the Olympic Games, but of global togetherness. This should inspire your purpose as you develop your brand’s visual identity. A pretty design is never enough.
- Flexibility with Adherence to Core Values: The original Olympic Games were initiated as an offering of worship to the god Zeus (the god of sky and thunder, and king of all other gods), they were used as a channel through which to spread political propaganda, women were not permitted to participate (although one may have slipped through), and all games were held at Olympia (in Greece) every four years (a time period which came to be known as an Olympiad). As you know, all of these things have changed. However, the values of [mostly] friendly, fair and peaceful competition have endured. As times, trends and consumer preferences change, your brand will have to make necessary shifts in order to stay relevant. Chariot racing may not be appropriate for the Olympic games of the 21st Century; however, foot races and wrestling still are. Another demonstration of flexibility is seen as the Olympic panel assigns every host country to design its own proprietary trademark which accompanies the Olympic logo, and the unique history and culture of the host country are integrated into that year’s marketing. If your brand teams up with other brands in this manner, an approach like this will help to build your brand.
- Consistency in Communications: Fans of the Olympics know they can watch the games on TV every two years. They recognise the tune of the music. They know that the medals awarded will be gold, silver and bronze, and they are familiar with the procedures of the opening ceremonies (the lighting of the torch), the awards ceremonies and the closing ceremonies. This is all familiar, predictable…and therefore deserving of trust. All brands should strive to establish this level of trustworthiness with their target audiences—so they know what to expect and that you can be relied upon. This doesn’t mean you can’t change procedure; that will be necessary at times. What it does mean is only make those changes when your ideal customers’ wants and preferences demand it. Notice that with each round of Olympic Games, the individual country’s Olympic trademark changes, but the Olympic rings logo, which accompanies it, remains the same. This is an example of consistency working together with flexibility.
- Attention to Ideal Customer’s Preferences: Some Olympic sports get more air time than others. Some athletes get more notice than others. And occasionally, a sport is cut from, or added back to, the repertoire. Why? Because this is what the Olympic panel determines is best, considering feedback from the fans. Your brand and what it offers should never be about your preferences. It should be about what your target audience members are demanding…within the parameters of your brand’s values, mission and vision, of course.
- Demonstration of Values: It can be said that the Olympic Games’ values include perseverance, strength, courage, unity, limitlessness, and wonderment. How do we know that? Because those values are demonstrated through the games themselves, through advertisements, through highlight reels and much more. The Modern Olympic Games, founded by Coubertin, were started with tenets such as these…and they have endured because they continue to be demonstrated. As you build a brand, always strive to put the demonstration of your values at the forefront, in everything you do, and you will attract those people who share those values and who will be pleasures to do business with.
Can you see yourself integrating some or all of these principles as you build a brand? Do you have questions about how to incorporate them into your unique brand? Or are you looking for more specific advice for your brand?
Then I strongly suggest that you register to attend a B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, at the venue and on the date of your choice. Click here to get more information, see available dates and venues, and to enrol. This is a full day of interactive learning constructed around how to make your brand more credible, visible and profitable…so you can get busy and build a brand.