What The Olympics Teaches Us About Branding

To remain relevant, a brand must always evolve.

The modern Olympic Games, which began in 1896, allowed only amateur athletes to compete. Consider the 1980s, when amateurism restrictions were eased, enabling paid athletes to compete.

The United States sent a basketball “Dream Team” to the 1992 games, a team of professionals that annihilated every other country’s basketball team. Professional athletes can now compete in every sport except boxing in order to keep the games competitive.

While your overall brand may remain consistent from year to year, critical marketing methods must evolve to be competitive in your sector. When you’re in the same arena as professionals, you can’t perform like an amateur. Is it time to up your game?


Competing at the top levels requires the adoption of innovations and ideas.

woman running competition

Olympic track and field competitors do not use the same training methods and performance regimens as they used four years ago. New technology, analytics, and information introduce enhanced training methods, equipment, and workouts to help athletes attain their full potential.

The same is true for your company’s brand. If your competitors are utilizing mobile marketing, for example, you should be as well if you want to stay in the game.

Why? Because you cannot improve performance, acquire a competitive edge, or keep today’s consumers completely engaged if you continue to employ yesterday’s technology.


What matters most is the customer’s impression of the brand.

When you see the Olympic emblem or the Olympic flame, it evokes distinct thoughts and mental ideas. Each person’s interpretation of the symbol’s meaning may change slightly.

Some may recall daring displays of talent, while others may recall rude displays by medal winners on the podium.

What is the public’s view of your brand? What do customers think or feel when they hear or see your company’s name or logo? Make sure your brand’s emblems and messaging signify something significant to you.


Victory does not happen by chance.

person swimming on an olympic pool

Olympic athletes train for hours every day, in difficult and unpleasant circumstances, when they feel well and when they don’t. They put forth a lot of effort and train a lot.

They’re ready for anything when they go into the ice, snow, track, or mat. They don’t get the gold medal by chance; they get it by being prepared, remaining awake and razor-focused, and pure dedication. Luck has no role in this equation.

Being number one in your field does not happen by chance. You work hard, give excellent service, and provide a fantastic product. You charge a reasonable price, deliver on time and on budget, and ensure that you meet your customers’ expectations.

It has nothing to do with luck; you are just better prepared than your rivals to capitalize on possibilities for development. Your task is to remain there by adjusting to the times.


The back story is frequently the better narrative.

Why do so many people watch the games? What entices people to sit and watch their favorite games or players with rapt attention? It’s because, at some level, they’ve established an emotional attachment to the sport or to a certain individual.

Perhaps they can connect with the athlete’s background or passion of the sport on a deeply personal level. Perhaps it’s the athlete’s tenacity in the face of tremendous obstacles. Whatever it is, it is true. It’s natural. It’s a personal matter.