Every four years something magical happens. Countries come together, send their best athletes to one wintery-wonderful location and everyone talks about it on Twitter with all of the scores, photos and important stuff circulating widely far before they actually air 7 hours later on NBC.
It’s an amazing chance for brands to join an international conversation on a much bigger scale than even the Super Bowl provided (for more on digital marketing and the most recent Super Bowl click here!). Albeit, that chance comes with some strict guidelines.
The International Olympic Committee has put together their annual list of guidelines: http://bit.ly/1bzi7jK
I’m no expert, but they seem stricter than usual. Obviously, there is the careful use of Olympic I.P. such as logos and those mascots, we’ve all seen floating around. In order for brands to maximize their voice, support their teams and athletes and have a pleasurable digital trek into SochiBound social media here’s some important things to remember:
1. Do not use the Olympic rings, logos or other intellectual property: While many NHL teams, and organizations are supporting athletes heading to the winter games, creative needs to adhere to these guidelines. If in doubt, don’t use. Your brand doesn’t need to explicitly say “Sochi 2014″ for people to understand what you are talking about. Check out this awesome medal tie in that Sperry Top-Sider posted. It’s totally clean of infringement, yet emotionally appeals to everyone’s excitement:
2. “First Person narrative”: The IOC Social Media and Blogging guidelines clearly state: “postings, blogs or tweets must be in a first-person, diary-type format.” Meaning Brands cannot/should not recycle the first-person photos taken by company employees or journalists over in Sochi. It seems designed in such a way that communications should come in a natural- as you experience them way. If you are in Sochi, snapping a photo of your experience and making it clear that the POV is yours or someone’s and not used for commercial gain of a company. **Also note that the guidelines request that people in the background of photos give permission for photos to be posted online, so generally just be aware of the surroundings and background of your selfie.
WSJ presented an awesome alternative to coverage on their Instagram yesterday:
Complete with that oh-so-fitting touch of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, they win for most creative opening ceremonies coverage.
3. Be true to your brand: Maybe because this is just a pet peeve of mine, but I think it’s possible for brands to try too hard. We saw it at the Super Bowl with J.C.P’s mitten texting. Although other brands brilliantly responded forcing relevancy. The JCP incident can go either way, on one hand (hah get it because there were gloves), they generated a ton of free publicity on a day when brands spend millions for eyeballs. On the other hand, it was in authentic and warped my perception of the brand. The lesson in this for the Olys is of course, get your brand in the conversation. It’s crazy to be that one brand during the opening ceremonies oblivious to the rest of twitter. BUT make sure it is a solid fit. Make sure you tie it into your overall strategy and stay consistent with your messaging and goals as an organization.
WHEN IN DOUBT: Just use “Winter Games”
For more info, check out the Social Times reminders and guidelines: http://bit.ly/LI3NP2
** Opinions of this post and content are my own and not reflective of the NHL, Florida Panthers, SSE or anyone else.