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Get Your Gold Medal Designs Ready

Frank Jackson, 07/12/2016,

Did your store miss out capitalizing on the peak of the Pokemon Go craze? No worries because a huge event is upcoming soon that you should already be planning for:

The 2016 Summer Olympic games!

This is a great opportunity for you to tailor your designs and your products for consumers likely to get caught up in the spirit of the games.

As a wise public service announcement once said, “The More You Know…” so here are some details that will help spark your creative process for building sales during the Summer Olympics.

The Deets

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held August 5th - August 21st in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the Opening Ceremonies taking place at Maracana Stadium.

During the games, consumers worldwide will watch some of this generation’s greatest athletes compete in events ranging from swimming and hurdling to Taekwondo and table tennis. Media consumption, television viewing habits, and even shopping behavior will change. This is an opportunity to really showcase your best products and the best storytelling referencing top athletes competing at the highest level.

The Olympics are full of iconic images

The Olympics are full of iconic images that go back all the way to its inception in ancient Greece. Do keep in mind – it’s a bit tricky for non-sponsors to promote their products using the Olympics, especially when it comes to sportswear. Phrases and symbols such as the Rio Olympics logo; the mascots; words like Olympic, Olympics, Olympiad, including plurals and derivatives; the Olympic motto ‘Citius Altius Fortius’ infringe intellectual property, so handle with care.

Although you can’t use an image of the Olympic rings image to generate sales, you can still make a winning statement with unique products that carry your brand’s voice. To capture the essence and spirit of Rio, think about various lifestyle merchandise like water bottles, posters, phone cases, beer mugs, t-shirts etc, and see if there is anything of patriotic value that you can design for those products.

For example, Marks&Spencer) a retailer in the UK are running a campaign called “on your marks,” featuring M&S heels on a starting block. This is a brilliant move: they are making use of their brand name, and the starting block makes you think about the Olympics, without actually using the Olympic brand.

The answer is to get creative. Some may use artwork of the Olympics as they were in 776 BC, others may use sports related slogans, or reward their shoppers with “gold.”

IKEA is another company taking advantage of this limited time opportunity. Their latest, TILLFÄLLE, is inspired by the colors and patterns of Rio, featuring bold patterns, mixed colors and an air of Scandinavian minimalism. The perfect blend of their persona alongside the Olympic brand.

Another thing you can try is to employ phrases and puns with sporting themes, or use verb + time phrases that simply reference the Olympics, such as “celebrate this summer”, “enjoy the events this summer”, “be a part of the sporting landscape this month”, or “entertain yourselves in style while watching the events.”

Hot Topics

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If the names of most Olympians sound unfamiliar, it’s because many of these athletes live in anonymity until the Olympics begin. But every four years athletes in sports generally uncovered by mainstream media earn a chance to compete on the world’s stage. Here are a few athletes that should be generating the most headlines, and therefore are the ones to keep your marketing eyes on:

  • The boxer formerly known as Lenroy Thompson changed his name to Cam Awesome after missing the 2012 Olympics because he failed to report his whereabouts to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Awesome, (count us as big fans of the name change) will turn 28 during the Games, and is a favorite for the U.S. super heavyweight slot for Rio after taking the bronze medal in the 2015 Pan-Am Games. He might be among the most quotable athletes in the U.S. delegation, having called himself “the Taylor Swift of boxing.”

  • Vashti Cunningham’s father, Randall, was an highly popular All-Pro NFL quarterback. But his daughter could reach a pinnacle of her sport, one that would rival her father’s illustrious career. At the Rio Olympics, Vashti is the favorite to win gold in the high jump. At the U.S. Indoor Championships in March, the 18-year-old jumped a height of 6’ 6¼”, the best in the world in 2016. A month later, with a jump of 6’5”, she became the youngest ever to win gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

  • The massive hype surrounding the U.S. women’s gymnastics team heading into Rio is largely thanks to Simone Biles. Biles was the first African-American to win the world all-around. She will compete in that event, floor exercise and beam for the U.S., which is favored to win the team championship in Rio. She is not just the favorite to win gold in the all-around, but has the kind of inspiring story the media loves: Her mother struggled with drug addiction, and she was adopted by her grandparents when she was three years old.

  • Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first Muslim woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team and will become the first American athlete to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab. Muhammad, who owns her own fashion brand, is ranked 12th in her discipline, the saber, according to the International Fencing Federation. She was part of the U.S. team that took gold at the 2014 World Fencing Championships. Muhammad took third at the USA Fencing National Championships in 2015.

  • Kerri Walsh Jennings represents half of the greatest women’s beach volleyball duo of all time. She and Misty May-Treanor won gold at the past three Olympics. The pair won 21 straight Olympic matches, dropping only one set—to Austria at the 2012 Games. But with May-Treanor retired, Walsh Jennings will chase her fourth straight gold medal with a new partner, April Ross. Walsh Jennings is finally healthy after surgery in September to repair a torn labrum, and she and her new partner are sixth in Olympic provisional rankings, the highest of any U.S. pair.

  • Will Team USA female archers channel their inner Katniss Everdeen and reach the podium? The U.S. women haven’t won a medal since 1988, when the team event was added to the program. Khatuna Lorig, who is trying to make her sixth Olympic team, trained Jennifer Lawrence for her role playing Katniss in “The Hunger Games.” The U.S. women have their strongest team in history, demonstrated by their No. 2 world ranking, but if they fail to qualify a full team for Rio in June, only one woman will compete in the individual tournament.

  • Sally Pearson has one of the best comeback stories of the Rio Olympics. At the Diamond League meet in June 2015, the 100-meter hurdler fell and broke her lower arm. According to Reuters, via the Guardian, she suffered a “bone explosion” in her wrist and feared that she would have to have part of her arm amputated. But after surgery, she has recovered and is set to compete in the Rio Games. Pearson, who won gold in the 100-meter hurdles in London, is a favorite to repeat as Olympic champion.

Final Tips

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In addition to updating your products and designs, there are a host of other important marketing techniques to consider while prepping for the Olympics.

Make sure your online ecommerce store or website’s keywords and SEM campaigns are adjusted to reflect current Olympic trends that will capture consumers.

Engage your social media base (Twitter, Facebook) in the Olympics and shopping at your store by tying sales promotions to the success of the US at the Olympics. Perhaps every time Olympian scores a gold medal you offer free shipping or you offer percentages off based on US Olympian success and medals placing. Use your social media strategies to enjoy the events. Use Facebook, your business blog or Twitter to share enjoyment of the Games with your customers. Use polls, ask fun questions, get your followers to post pictures of themselves doing sports, or jumping hurdles wearing something patriotic — anything that’s fun and engaging.

Find real connections between your business and the Olympics. Promote those connections in placements on your site’s home page and in email marketing campaigns. If there is no immediate connection, try linking to hot events or athletes. For example, take 10% off a product if the US wins a gold medal on the track that day, or discount a service if an athlete makes it to the next round.

Don’t just limit yourself to your own country. If you have the ability to sell products internationally, make sure you’re being enthusiastic about other nations teams too. Look out for interesting news articles about the Olympics that reflect your ethics. If you specialize in products for women, turn your attention to individual women athletes who have overcome hurdles (see what I did there!) to be at the Olympics. Get those in action and you’ll be all set. Let the games begin!

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