What Small Business Owners Can Learn From the Marketing Genius of the Olympics

The next time a small business owner asks you for an advertising tip that’s guaranteed to work, have them follow the strategy used to promote the Olympics. That’s how it is. Olympic Games.

There is a very specific plan, introduced by television networks in the United States more than a quarter of a century ago, which is followed in every round of the Olympic Games. Winter games, Summer games. No matter. The same “Magic Beans” are used over and over again. So what is the secret? Do they focus on glamor sports? No. Do they promote the big confrontations? No. Do they exaggerate the spectacle of the Olympics? Not.

They do something much more important: establish a emotional connection between the audience and the athletes, broadcasting, in advance of the matches, touching the profiles of the athletes, highlighting their struggles, fears, dreams. When the Games come, the unknown athletes are alive, breathing in people that the audience cares about, which was the goal from the beginning. Get the viewers to watch you do it worry about athletes.

Keep in mind that this is not a hard sell, which is usually what you see in small business advertising. Instead, the goal is establish an emotional connection. This is neither easy nor straightforward. It doesn’t happen overnight. And it only works if you dare to be … human.

Stop being a rigid corporate business “robot” and start being yourself. People tell me that my website is “just like me.” I take it as a huge compliment because it means that I was able to connect with a complete stranger. It also means that my web pages are different from the others. I own them. They are me

It makes a difference that goes directly to my bottom line. For example, we captured the interest of a major advertiser because the business owner liked that our “Meet the Staff website” included a photo of our dog and text indicating that it was our “Safety Directory.” He thought it was creative and fun, which was exactly what he wanted for his campaign. Most importantly, he had connected with us as people. We were no longer just another advertising agency.

You will always do better if you remember this simple marketing rule, which is at the heart of the Olympic Games marketing strategy: people connect with people, they don’t connect with things, not even something as big as Olympic Games.