Reasons to be cheerful
“What shall I talk about with my blog this week?” says I to a colleague here at Ipsos ASI, as I emerge from a meeting-induced coma. “I’m stumped. Give me some ideas.”
“Talk about how depressed we are after the Olympics,” comes the reply.
But I’d counter that there are a lot of reasons to be cheerful, not least of all the great things that the most recent Ipsos MORI poll tells us people feel post-Games. There are also reasons to be cheerful in the world of brands and communications.
In the first place, the Games proved just how cheerful we can be here in Britain, which is to say rather a lot. Many people seemed to be blown away by the fact that there was an irrepressible joy that suffused even the most hardened old grumps and fun-haters during those short weeks. Heck, even the media joined the joy parade. What’s not to love about that?
And that’s important to all of us in marketing: emotion. Our global research shows that positive emotion, especially when it’s positive active emotion, is much better linked to positive outcome measures (for example purchase intent) than is negative emotion. This means that, if brand communications can tap into this well-spring of joy and good feeling they can benefit. And there are a lot of mechanisms to do this.
From a sponsorship perspective, it seems now that more doors are opened, with increasing interest in other events – from the Paralympics to the Commonwealth Games and everything in between. This means opportunities for a variety of brands and advertisers that go beyond the major sponsorships. Now that the nation has discovered the joy of sport that is not football, rugby or cricket, there could be more opportunities for other brands to get involved. That’s great for sport and that’s great for brands and advertisers (which is also, if done right, great for the economy).
What it doesn’t mean is that everyone should jump on this particular bandwagon by using Games, athletics, swimming, [insert sport here] imagery. As I said last month in my blog, just tacking onto the Games themselves in any tangential way, when there are already so many formally attached to them, makes it incredibly difficult to cut through.
Not to mention, it lacks creativity, in my opinion. I urge you to look beyond the face of the Games and look for what drove this reaction: enthusiasm, authenticity and engagement. The athletes themselves embodied all of these qualities and inspired them in the rest of the nation.
Enthusiasm for what you do – whatever you do – shines through in the execution. The same goes for brand communications. Love what you do. Let others see that in all media, especially in social.
But to be false in this enthusiasm is worse than failing to capture it. Authenticity not only imbues trust but it also confers credibility, which is critical to driving action specifically linked to your brand. Remember that, even if your brand is telling an outrageous story if it’s authentic to the brand’s personality, it can still be credible. Like your uncle who always tells the terribly punny jokes: it is who he is and so you groan along.
Engagement with the audience, with the topic (in this case sport) at hand, with the greater desires of the public is critical. The Games did this eloquently by having more than just a “sporting” reason for being, but by having an underlying promise: to inspire a generation. The Games delivered and so can we all deliver on our promises to our own targets, be they large or small. A true idea that looks to big motivations about life is much more likely to be successful than a small idea. Of course the Games have a different reason for being than an FMCG brand, for example, but the source of success, regardless of this, is delivering against the promise.
So, yeah, I’d say there are reasons to be cheerful, in spite of the end of the Games… unless you’d prefer to be known as an old grump and a fun-hater.