‘Move on from COVID-19’: Distraction, digitalization and direct engagement will be the core strategy for Olympic 2021 marketing, says GlobalData

As we edge closer to the Olympic Games, leading data and analytics company GlobalData notes that brands will need to be creative with their Olympic marketing strategies, both finding topics that move away from talking about COVID-19 and towards areas that resonate with customers such as social responsibility, and using a digital strategy for increased engagement.

Alice Popple, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Current uncertainty surrounding the games creates significant challenges for brands, and they will need to effectively place their products and services at the forefront of the games, yet still reach consumers from afar. This is particularly as attendance has been capped at 50% of capacity – just 10,000 spectators per venue. Further, a survey by GlobalData shows 74%* of global consumers are still concerned about the pandemic – putting a strain on opportunistic marketing.

“Spontaneity can lead to rash decisions and wasted resources – to plan an effective marketing strategy, brands need to be creative to establish a campaign that is relevant and significant for consumers in Japan and those watching across the world.”

Another GlobalData survey also revealed that almost a quarter (21%)** of global consumers are looking for general entertainment from brands to provide joy and relief from the pandemic, while 34% want to know about brand initiatives adopted during the pandemic.

Popple continues: “By recognising consumers’ needs for entertainment and reassuring initiatives right now, brands can take a different marketing route away from the pandemic and focus on separate, but significant topics that resonate with consumers. The Muller campaign, which partnered with British athletes to celebrate female empowerment during the Tokyo Olympics, did this well.

“In fact, corporate social responsibility is a vital topic for Olympic marketing campaigns to ensure consumers feel respected and safe. Japan’s vaccination rate has been slow, and, naturally, many Japanese consumers are uncomfortable with the idea of hosting an international sporting event that will see swathes of crowds – brands should tread carefully and promote responsible spectatorship.”

Another trend that will be evident is digitalization – limits on international and domestic tourism have made it fundamental to reach consumers from their homes. A total 35%* of global consumers admitted to GlobalData that they are spending more time online, particularly 25–44 year olds, which makes digital media a relevant marketing channel. Further, 55% of global consumers – and 63% of Japanese consumers – are staying at home as much as possible during the pandemic.

Popple adds: “It is likely that we will see brands collaborating with smart home systems during the Olympic games and digitalizing their services to provide a unique selling point. For example, Chipotle launched its ‘Chipotle IQ’ app, which allows consumers to directly engage with the brand and win prizes for correctly predicted sports scores, which would work seamlessly with the 2021 Olympic games.”

* GlobalData’s Q2 2021 Consumer Survey, quite or extremely responses combined

** GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey

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