Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sponsoring at the Beijing Olympics

Last week, the USOC announced that "36 sponsors and 33 licensees have teamed up to support the U.S. Olympic Committee's (USOC) Olympic and Paralympic athletes heading for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China."

What is the difference between a sponsor and licensees? "The sponsors will inject cash, products and services to support the U.S. Olympic Team, while licensees will have commercial rights to use the USA five-ring logo on their product and services."

Now I understand it costs millions of dollars to be a TOP sponsor of the Olympics Games, but companies should strongly consider being a 2008 Olympics sponsor.

Think about it. I believe there are over a billion people in China. This will be the first time that some U.S. based companies will have the opportunity to really advertise in China.

Some U.S. companies spend their marketing budget on one commercial during the Super Bowl. I would recommend to any company that they spend their marketing dollars in 2007 ramping up for the Olympics and a large percentage of their marketing budget at the Games in 2008.

Beyond the opportunity to advertise in China, companies will also have the opportunity to buy tickets to entertain guests. I expect scalped tickets to be through the roof. The only way to really secure decent tickets will be through the IOC sponsor program.

After attending the Winter Games in Torino, I saw first-hand how clients value their "Olympic experience." It is definitely expensive to entertain guests, but it is an experience they will never forget.

If a U.S. company wants to pursue sports sponsorship opportunities, below are reasons why they should be an Olympic sponsor:

* The sponsorship enhances a company’s image to help position their products and/or their sales force as leaders in the community.

* Customers associate certain positive attributes with the Olympic rings, and through research I have read, these attributes create a positive brand halo effect. In the eyes of consumers, this extends and enhances a company’s brand. The Olympic brand appeals to a wide cross section of consumers and has particular cache to people who are hard to reach from a marketing perspective.

* Consumers’ associate attributes such as success, dedicated to excellence, industry leader, progressive, blue chip and highly reputable with the rings and those companies who co-brand with them.

* The power of the Olympic rings, combined with strong brand awareness, provides companies with a distinct advantage over their competitors and is an effective tool to meet business objectives and goals. It demonstrates not only their leadership in the industry, but also their dedication to the standard of excellence exemplified by the Olympic Games.

* From a brand perspective, the Olympic rings give a company visibility, credibility, differentiation, and a unique position in whatever market they are in.

* As a function of brand management, a company’s logo will attract more attention due to the rings, and in competitive terms, no other company in their category can attach its brand to these rings. This ensures exclusivity, credibility and uniqueness in the category.

It seems like a no-brainer to me why a company should sponsor during the 2008 Olympic Games.


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