How to Market the “Summer Games” without the O-Word

Author: Robyn Parets | August 19, 2016

The much-anticipated summer games (Olympics) have arrived, and if you’re like many sports enthusiasts around the world, you are likely glued to your television or at least your Twitter feed to stay on top of your favorite events in Rio.

If you’re a small business owner, the excitement surrounding the international athletic event is also an opportunity for you to create a winning buzz around your products and services—even after the closing ceremonies. In fact, it’s not too late to jump on the marketing bandwagon with patriotic and athletic-themed campaigns and promotions.

Before launching any campaign

Before you create any promotions or deals surrounding the Olympic games, it’s important to first understand the ins and out of words and terminology you can and cannot legally use. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) owns the trademarks and rights to a long list of Olympic-related words, logos, artwork, and phrases, such as the famous colorful rings. In fact, unless you operate a news media outlet or have express permission from the USOC, you are not legally entitled to use this list of terms and words to promote your business. According to the brand usage guide published at Team USA, you can’t even create social media posts that contain these words, trademarks, or images unless you are an official sponsor of the games. However, you can get creative by using words that everyone associates with the Rio event, such as “summer games,” “show your colors,” and “be a gold winner.” In the end, thinking outside the box while tying in themed promotions can yield winning results.

Here are three suggestions that may help propel your business to the top of the podium.

  1. Offer incentives that celebrate customers who show their true colors—that is: red, white and blue

    For example, if you run a restaurant or fitness studio, you can run an in-store special promotion or offer discounts to patrons who wear patriotic colors on certain designated days. You can even offer additional deals to those who share photos on social media sites wearing their red, white, and blue colors while in your establishment, according to the Small Business Association. Another tip: You can launch the deal before the Olympics close on August 21 and continue it into September. You can also run weekly promotions all centered around the patriotic colors of the USA.

  2. Engage your customers and clients on social media

    The games in Brazil are indeed a popular topic on social media, and you can certainly take advantage of this. You can post about the Olympics as long as you pay attention to the USOC social media guidelines. You can also play up the competitive nature of the games by running social media contests on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This creates a level of excitement for the winning prize. To make things even more fun and competitive, you can create three tiers for your contest winners: bronze, silver, and a grand prize of gold.

  3. Launch a summer games-themed email campaign

    You can send out an e-blast before the Olympics end and then continue these emails after the fanfare in Rio has died down. Here are a couple of fun ideas tied into the summer games:

    • Campaign Monitor suggests sending out daily updates on winners and new events this summer, like kite surfing. You can then discuss what’s new and exciting at your business You can even take this a step further by offering a sale where customers can find out their savings amounts by clicking on a link that will reveal a particular score. The higher the score, the more they’ll save.
    • Invite customers to enter a contest via email by sending in their favorite winning achievement or what they like the best about a particular product or service you offer. You can choose a winner or several winners and offer prizes. You can then highlight these winners in your upcoming e-blasts and in your store or office.

Remember: The key to any successful marketing campaign is to be creative and engage with your customers. They will appreciate your efforts, especially if this means they may win a prize at the end of the games.

Ready for more?

Apply for funding and find out if you qualify today

Want to learn more?

Subscribe to Fundbox Forward for expert insights and tips every week so you can grow.