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Helping Brands Go for the Gold

At Taylor, marketing for the Olympics is all about storytelling
  • January 30 2012

You might say that Taylor has been training for the 2012 Olympics in much the same way the athletes do—drawing on years of experience and practicing with discipline in order to give the best performance of their careers.

For a public relations agency, that means forging partnerships with some of the world’s most admired consumer brands, then utilizing their sports, lifestyle and entertainment assets to drive engagement.
According to Christian Alfonsi, EVP of strategic planning at Taylor, it’s not hyperbole to call the Olympics “the greatest sponsorship marketing opportunity on the planet.”

“It’s a global sporting event that transcends nationality and language,” Alfonsi says.

People tune in to follow specific sports or athletes, to show support for their native countries or just to enjoy the international rivalries. Watching the Olympics can be political, patriotic or personal, and is often all three.

“A key driver in coverage of the Olympics is storytelling,” Alfonsi says. “The audience is as interested in the background stories of the athletes as they are in the actual sports, if not more so. If a brand can connect to those human interest stories, that can be powerful, authentic and extremely effective.”

For example, during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Taylor worked with Procter & Gamble on its “Thank You, Mom” campaign saluting the mothers of U.S. Olympic athletes. This campaign will also be central to P&G’s efforts around London 2012, which Taylor will again support.

Founded in 1984, Taylor has its own story to tell—the agency’s business philosophy calls for an alliance with only 15 client partners and every client partner relationship is managed by an agency principal and a strategic brand planner. The agency’s long-term approach is the long-term approach: Instead of one-off projects, Taylor works on extensive and in-depth marketing and public relations strategies, building and defining brands over years instead of seasons. Taylor has an unmatched history with the Olympics, too.

“London 2012 will be Taylor’s 15th consecutive Olympic Games leveraging sponsorships for category-leading consumer brands,” says John Liporace, managing partner at Taylor. “That’s every Summer and Winter Games since 1984. This legacy, spanning almost 30 years, has provided us with experience and insights about the Games that are unmatched in the PR discipline.”

And, Liporace adds, timing is everything. “One of our guiding principles is to create programs that engage target consumers not just during the Games, but during the critically important lead-up to the Games as well,” he says.

Taylor recently commissioned proprietary research to explore the changing audience for the Olympic Games and the explosive growth in social media conversation surrounding the Games. The 2012 Taylor Consumer Engagement Survey yielded several noteworthy insights. For example,  tablet users are the most avid fans of the Olympic Games, and Mac users are more engaged with the Olympics than PC users. Another intriguing finding is that from early morning through lunchtime, more than half of moms are actively using social media sites to post original content/comments about events like the Olympics. These details represent only a small sampling of information that Taylor has gathered.

“For corporate sponsors of the Games, partnering with an agency that has unique and deep expertise is critical to maximizing a sports marketing opportunity of this magnitude,” Liporace says. He points to Taylor’s understanding of the various Olympic governing bodies and the guidiance the firm provides client partners in leveraging the marketing assets each governing body offers.