Athletes aren't the only ones preparing to bring home gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. With Oct. 30 marking the 100-day countdown to the games, brands are ramping up their social efforts to capitalize on the excitement.
Building on the passion and pride the 2010 Vancouver Games brought to Canada, fans are increasingly eager to support Canadian athletes as they compete for a place on the podium. And with these games likely to be the most mobile and social to date, companies have a huge opportunity to tap into this active, global fan base.
"There's greater activity in the social space than ever before – in particular a fan focus and engagement that is unprecedented in previous Olympic Games," said Derek Kent, chief marketing officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
He also discussed proliferation of platforms that brands have to reach their audience: "There are just so many avenues for brands to engage with fans," he said.
Established platforms like Facebook and Twitter won't cut it. Fans are also consuming content on visual channels like Vine, Instagram and Snap Cha and brands will need to ensure they're engaging back.
With such a breadth of platforms, brands also have to be critical of their content strategies. Video content is consistently gaining popularity for brands looking to capture emotion and excitement around events. The Olympics present a perfect opportunity to capture and share video content encapsulating the anticipation, passion and competition the games bring.
The Olympics present fans and and athletes the opportunity to be a part of something bigger and bolder. Smart brands recognize this and align themselves with the idea that an investment in their company equals an investment in those five iconic rings.
Being aware of the audience for Sochi is also vital to brands' partnership strategies, Mr. Kent noted: "We know that fans of the Canadian Olympic team are youthful and the athletes themselves are young, and you've got to speak that common language," he said.
For youth, this language is not talking at them, but involving them in the conversation. This is more relevant for brands now than ever before as successful Winter Olympic campaigns will mobilize this demographic to serve as brand ambassadors, creating and sharing social content.
Successful campaigns from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, such as the HBC Red Mittens, were measured in terms of units sold. Consumers around the world embraced the country represented by the mittens. But for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, success will not be measured by a single metric. In this fast-paced mobile environment, popular campaigns will encourage engagement with an audience that shares, contributes and creates content around their campaign.
Smart brands will recognize that to make an impact in Sochi, effective audience engagement and platform breadth reign supreme. So as the countdown continues and anticipation for the games builds, how creative will Olympic partnerships get?