How Team GB’s ‘game-changing’ marketing plans aim to rally support for Rio 2016

Team GB is hoping to build on the success of its London 2012 marketing strategy with a series of “game-changing” initiatives ahead of next year’s Rio Olympics, launching a 12-month campaign to rally support away from home turf.

Today (5 August) marks one year until the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Team GB has kicked off a series of activations and initiatives with the launch of the Bring on the Great campaign. It builds on a similar strategy from 2012 but with social media set to play an unpreceded role for the brand.

Leah Davis, head of marketing at Team GB, told The Drum: “Our strategy around Rio 2016 is very much about engaging the public, getting them to show their support for Team GB and using that support to inspire the athletes.

“So if you look back to what we did for 2012 it’s a similar strategy in terms of the core action that we are looking for, but what’s very different this time is how people engage with us. Social media has changed how we communicate with our fans and how they communicate with athletes. So that’s the real game changer.”

The Bring on the Great campaign, which is fronted by eight former Olympians including Chris Hoy and Denise Lewis, will run predominately online with a dedicated campaign hub where the public can send in their messages of support. Those messages will then be used in a variety of different ways such as decoration in the bedrooms of the athletes or as branding throughout the year.

“What we’re trying to do from a social media aspect is connect the athletes to the fans so the fans feel that by submitting their messages online or via social media they can actually reach that athlete. It’s very much about using social media to bridge the gap between the two," said Davis.

The challenge then will be cajoling fans to get involved and stay engaged until the games, despite the action taking place nearly 6000 miles away. But this is a barrier Davis is confident Team GB can hurdle.

Davis added: “London 2012 was a home games so it was easier to engage the nation because it was on our home door step and people did naturally get involved with the games. [But] What we have this time around is a higher interest to engage with Team GB at least a year out- we are definitely seeing a difference where people are more interested than perhaps they were if we look back to 2011”.

According to research led by creative communications agency Krow, who also worked on the campaign, 68 per cent of Brits intend to watch Team GB in Rio with 67 per cent of respondents reporting that the brand is a team the whole country can get behind as a whole.

Two new marekting channels for the organisation include the launch of an official fan club and a partnership with Ocean Outdoor to run digital billboard activity in key cities across the country. The fan club will allow Team GB to tailor its messaging to fans who are interested in particular sports and “develop a more sophisticated” way to talk to and develop that community,

“Further down the line we are looking to push the boundaries with that [OOH] and see how we can engage in a more experiential way via outdoor digital media," said Davis. "Most of the activations will take place in 2016 and we are looking at what is different and what hasn’t been done before.”

Success of the campaign will be measured two fold; firstly by recruiting 1 million sign ups to the Team GB fan club and by increasing brand value by 15-20 per cent (measured via reporting tools).

TV activity will be led by Team GB sponsors which include DFS and Aldi.

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