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The Olympics Games is the world’s oldest sporting event, or rather a major sporting event to cap all kinds of sporting competitions across the world. Competitors from all nations gather in one place to compete against each other in a battle to gain supremacy and domination in sporting activities and make their respective countries proud.
To some extent, a sport event is highly related to branding. The question is how can branding have an impact on an event like the Olympics? And how can sports branding establish the identity of an Olympic Games destination (or in other words, destination branding)?
Branding and sport
Two main layers show the relationship between sports and branding; first, how the branding process can help sporting extravaganzas share their messages and values to people who can help them become a strong brand; and second, how a brand can create a strong personality for each athlete associated with it. Let’s take a look at the ongoing London 2012 Olympics.
The Olympics is held once every four years. Unlike its predecessors, the current Olympics has become a strong brand. How did this happen? The answer is simple: A brand becomes strong and everlasting if it has a distinctive and strong message that defines what the Olympics are. In the case of London, as you may have seen, the message conveyed is simple and grounded: How the sport gives inspiration to people across the world. Imagine if the London Olympics had no message! The event would be short-lived in the minds of people and would be easily forgotten.
With branding, anything is possible. The question is, is it enough to only deliver a message? There are still things that need to be done to ensure the message is be consistent throughout the event.
As you may have seen, the word “inspiration” has been translated onto every design. The core message will help people understand the brand more easily. If you observe the design, you will have different feeling and perception of the Olympics, especially when comparing the current Games with the previous ones. With this design, there are simple values that they like to share to inspire people to explore new perspectives when watching the Olympics.
Sports branding = Destination branding
When a sports event has already become strong and powerful, with the branding in place, then the question is whether the process is completed. The answer is no. There is still one aspect left that shares the spoils of the event in a positive way: London as the venue of the ongoing Olympics. If you plan to hold a sporting event, always consider what impact will it have on the location.
There are several impacts when holding this kind of sporting event. If people want to come to see the event, the first thing they do is not look at what kind of sport their nation is participating in, but is instead what the venue is like. People will directly seek information on the venue via Google.
That’s why, when you want to hold a sporting event, bare in mind that you must also brand the destination. If you look at the current Olympics, perhaps the organizers did not have plenty homework in this regard. Why? Because it is being held in London, a city that people already know of. The organizers are already confident about what the city can offer in terms of infrastructure.
But is it enough? Creating destination branding does not just involve talking about infrastructure. Certainly, infrastructure is important, but there are also several factors that must be considered in creating a proper and unique destination. For me, the most important thing is the story behind the city itself. What is the message that you would like to convey? What is the unique thing about the destination and what differentiates it from other destinations that also attract people? These attributes will help create the branding of a destination, which will then be a complete picture with the infrastructure and also the sport event itself.
Finally, I would like to ask a simple question: Are you ready to create a unique and unforgettable sports event? If so, then let us create it together.
Galih Rangha Putra is senior brand consultant at DM IDHOLLAND and Daniel Surya is its chairman and president for South East Asia.