Soon the world will be glued to their TV screens watching athletes jump, swim, run and generally make the rest of us feel pretty unfit in their pursuit of an Olympic gold.
Every four years the Olympics reinvents itself: high-tech uniforms, more events, bigger and better opening ceremonies. But every once in a while something happens that changes the games in a bigger way. For Australia that year was 1956 when Australians were first able to see the green and gold as coloured television was introduced, and in 2012 it is the use of social media.
Social media will change how people interact, take part and connect with those involved in the games. So what opportunities are there for marketers?
Smart brands have already jumped aboard, connecting the public with their sporting heroes. Because as we all know, as marketers, loyalty is gold and who do consumers feel loyal to? Their family, friends, celebrities, sportspeople and teams.
But loyalty also works on degrees of separation. People have a high level of loyalty to a friend but there is a one degree of separation level of loyalty we have to a friend of a friend.
Samsung have maximised this opportunity by creating an app ‘How Olympic are you?’ which allows Americans to view how connected they are to US Olympians using online connections to create that bond. This personalises the Olympics for the public and makes them feel more connected and loyal towards athletes, with Samsung being the brand which opened up the channel for those people to feel closer to the athletes.
The majority of the enjoyment of watching sport comes from being amongst the crowd, cheering, booing and high-fiving complete strangers when your team makes it across the line. But for most of us, being a part of the crowd watching the Olympics live will be a distant dream, so the next best thing is watching it on television.
Social TV is all about peer-to-peer interactions while sharing a broadcast audience. While it has been available for some time, social TV is only really starting to take off. Most of the social TV that is being embraced at the moment is based around popular light hearted TV shows and, in particular, reality TV shows.
It is currently being used to check-in to TV programs, to engage in real-time chat, to vote, for social network integration and to offer exclusive content to users and viewers. It can offer fresh opportunities to enhance the viewer experience, drive interactivity, community and walkability, but most importantly it can be used to leverage a brand.
If you have ever been on Facebook or Twitter in the middle of a popular sporting game you would have seen the feeds on each of these platforms being dominated by conversations about this game.
Sport, and the Olympics in particular, unifies people, and whether you play it yourself or watch it, there is a huge urge to share the experience. Fans love to talk to each other and relive the experience and social TV will amplify this. It will boost emotions and make the traditional viewing experience superior.