The Rio 2016 Olympics start August 5, and when they do, a flurry of highly produced, super expensive ads from national and international companies will saturate TV and social media.
Does that mean small business owners should ignore the event and its potential promotional appeal? Not a chance, said Mihaela Lica Butler, Principal Partner at Pamil Visions PR, who shared some ideas with AAbaco Small Business, a division of Yahoo, in the run-up to the London games in 2012.
Butler said lots of businesses can get creative in hitching their operation to the various events and athletic stars.
“For example, Marks & Spencer (M&S) ran a campaign called ‘on your marks,’ featuring M&S heels on a starting block,” she said. “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 logo,” which is protected by law, said Butler. (She’s not kidding about that; in 2012, a florist in the U.K. had to take down a festive floral-themed Olympic ring display.)
“The answer is to get creative,” she added. “Some [businesses] may use artwork of the Olympics as they were in 776 BC, others may use sports related slogans, or reward their shoppers with ‘gold.’”
Other ideas to try:
Show Your True Colors. Hector Rubio, director of eCommerce for Gameday Merchandising, suggested small businesses “see if there is anything of patriotic value in your inventory, especially if it is unique. Reach out to stores with patriotic items before the event so they can be ready to sell them before the event.”
Use Social Media to Stoke Competition. Sabina Ptacin, co-founder and CEO at ‘PRENEUR, said social media can help you have fun and engage customers with very low costs. “Engage your social media base (Twitter, Facebook) in the Olympics and shopping at your store by tying sales promotions to the success of the U.S. at the Olympics,” she suggested. “Use hash tags to tie your business to the Olympics. For instance, if you were Checkerboard Pizza you could do #CheckerboardOlympicDeals or #CheckerboardGoingforGold, and offer a discount or deal to anyone who re-tweets your company’s hashtag.”
Read more about and get inspired by some of the all-time best Olympic promotions.