Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

May 18, 2021

How to Align Your Brand with 2021 [Case Study: Olympics]

Today we are answering the question on every entrepreneur’s mind: How do I align my brand with 2021?

We are witnessing a profound and permanent shift in how business is getting done. It’s happening right before our eyes. In just this past year, we’ve all been served with a collective reminder, both painful and beautiful, that we are all inextricably connected. What people need from the brand’s they love has changed, and it’s up to the entrepreneurs of the world to listen carefully and answer the call.

Today, we are going to take inspiration from one of the world’s most resilient and unifying brands of all time: The Olympics. And I’m going to give you exactly what you need to align your brand message with 2021 and beyond. If you’re ready to dive right in, just do me a favor and hit that like button for me, because I find it so inspiring to know that entrepreneurs like you are out there with ideas and innovations that are going to help lead the way to a greater future. If you stick around until the end, I’m going to give you an exclusive download for a branding checklist that will help you on your journey.

The Winter Olympics are happening in 2021, but it’s branding will still say 2020. It sounds like a problem, but for a brand as solid as the Olympics, it’s hardly even a hurdle. Instead of scrambling to get all new branding made to say 2021, the Olympics are pivoting their message to dedicate this year’s games to all that we’ve endured and are collectively striving to overcome as a connected humanity. The Olympics are modeled after the resilience and endurance of the human spirit, and in 2021 the Olympics have never been more on-brand. At least not in our lifetime.  

Let’s take a closer look at some of the hallmark aspects of the Olympics brand, and consider the ways we can use this stellar example to help our brands Come Out of Nowhere in 2021.

The Olympics are Different Yet Familiar

Every fourth year, the Olympics take place in a different location somewhere in the wide world, with many different athletes, different opening ceremonies, and yet the feeling we get from watching the Olympics is always so familiar. The emotional experience of watching the Olympics is something we recognize as sure as we recognize our own hometown, and yet the Olympics are notably different than any other sporting event on Earth.

The Olympics doesn’t allow any on-field branding. This alone sets it apart from other sporting events, simply because it isn’t covered in sponsor advertising. There’s only one logo to be found, a logo that is familiar to the entire world. The five interlocking rings that represent the coming together of all 5 continents. Visa paid 65 million dollars for permission to associate it’s brand with the timeless 5 rings logo for the next four years. But you won’t see a giant Visa banner plastered up behind the medals podium, nor will there be Visa advertisements running along the walls of the ice rink because the Olympics aren’t about the sponsors, the hype, the ego…It’s all about the games, and representing your country of origin, giving your all in the spirit of friendship and fair play.

NBC paid $4.38B for the 2020 Olympic broadcasting rights. The Olympics is one of the most desired brand affiliations on earth. Why? Because the Olympics brand represents something that cannot be replicated. Audiences around the world are compelled to witness the Olympics, because nowhere else can we find a more palpable way to experience the true, “spirit of the games.”

The Olympics are spontaneous and unscripted, there are no canned responses like the comments we hear from NBA players after a game, or rehearsed conflict like we find in other reality television. In this way the Olympics are different. Every participant is flushed with a genuine passion for their sport and their country of origin, a hopefulness that can’t be faked, and an enthusiasm that is contagious…and in this way the Olympics are always wonderfully and wistfully familiar.

In 2021, demand for authentic human connection is at an all-time high. We all just went through something together; a major pandemic. And although we all went through this thing together, many of us found ourselves isolated like never before. When creating a new brand or remessaging your existing brand to Come Out of Nowhere in 2021, think of how you can deliver a familiar feeling of connection to humanity, while still acknowledging that things are different. Brands that try to carry on as if nothing has changed, are going to be missing out on golden opportunity to help their brand community feel less alone in their experience. The brand that knows them best will be the brand that wins their loyalty in 2021, and no matter what business you are in, brand loyalty is your business plan.

Next we have, A Spotlight on Collaboration

Is your branding message for your audience, or is it against your competition? The only success is shared success, and in 2021 we need each other more than ever. The Olympics has masterfully aligned it’s branding message in 2021 from one of competition, country vs. country— to one of collaboration and showcasing how great we can be not only as individuals, but as a collective. Even the Olympic logo of the five rings, each representing a different continent, are all intimately intertwined, and telegraph the tremendous value of unity and collaboration.

Divisiveness has no place in an Olympic arena, and it deserves no place in your branding message. The world’s consumers are tired of divisiveness, we are weary of standing against our fellows. Refresh and renew the spirit of your brand community by pivoting your message to being one of what goodness we can accomplish when we join together as one.

An ancient proverb says, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

Using your brand message to shine a spotlight on collaboration in 2021 will make your brand like a soothing balm to help people’s hearts and minds begin to heal. You can do this by having a higher purpose, one that will make the world a better place. Make supporting your brand synonymous with making people’s lives better, and your customers will take great pride in the good they are doing in the world through the expression of your brand.

And finally, Celebrating the Triumphs of the Human Spirit

With each and every Olympic event, we are introduced to remarkable new people who have dedicated their lives to competing in the Olympic Games. We learn of their adversities, their setbacks, their grit and determination. Throughout each event there’s soaring triumph, crushing defeat, tears of relief, cheers of elation…the emotions are real, and relatable. It’s beautiful, and painful. It’s a testament to perseverance, and that’s exactly what the world has had to do in these past several months. We’ve persevered. We’ve endured, and now is the time to celebrate the unbreakable collective human spirit that is rising up above the fray and moving forward with our love intact. It’s the collective pride of a planet resurrecting, and we are all a part of that victory. That’s something to celebrate, don’t you think? Recreate this Olympic-sized homage to the human spirit in your brand by sharing your stories, and the stories of your brand community. The real and relatable human experiences of not only surviving this worldwide upheaval, but having emerged stronger than ever before.

So now you have three ways to pivot your brand message that will resonate deeply with the world in 2021. They are:

Be Different Yet Familiar

Put a Spotlight on Collaboration -and-

Celebrate the Triumphs of the Human Spirit.

And, I want to give you one more resource: Exclusive access to a branding checklist for connecting with your audience in 2021. Having it on hand will make it much easier for you to determine how you want to align your branding message. I’ll include the link in the description below, so be sure to download that. You’re going to love it.

Thank you so much for joining me! If you enjoyed this blog entry follow me on FB and IG and subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don’t miss a single thing. I release new videos every Tuesday and Thursday, so treat these episodes as a masterclass for becoming an Inspiration to Millions with Branding. And as always the way to becoming an Inspiration to Millions starts with our motto: Love What You Do and Love How You Do It.