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How Social Media Changed The Game For Tokyo 2020

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games have been all over the internet for the last few weeks, even months. Unless you live under a rock or on a digital detox, you know all about this event. It has been pretty hard to miss.

Running an event of this size in the middle of a pandemic with a million restrictions was difficult. But the International Olympic Committee seems to have aced it. 

Image Source: New York Times

When the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 Olympics, things were looking grim for this world-class sporting event. But, in the true spirit of the games, the IOC used this time to prepare themselves better, innovate, and not give up until the finish line was in sight. 

For this new normal, the team came up with innovative, real, and digital-centric marketing strategies. This ensured that not a single person in this world missed any update. Whether or not you are a sports fan, you will know what’s going on. And that indeed came true. 

Such an impressive feat shows resilience in the face of adversity. And that is something most businesses and marketers need today to survive in the changing times.

So, what can they learn from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ success so that they can keep the torch burning too? 

Let’s take a look. 

Tokyo 2020’s Marketing: A Novel DTC Approach 

Even though it is an event, the Olympics is a brand in itself. Whether it’s the summer or winter games, the Olympics excites people about the logos, branding strategies, and, most importantly, sponsorships. 

This year the excitement went beyond branding and advertisement. It was all about duplicating the experience of a non-COVID-era Olympic event with innovative outreach and marketing strategies. 

To make this happen, the International Olympic Committee devised a novel approach – Direct to Customer marketing. This time it was all about the viewers, their favorite athletes, and the love of sports. Every content piece championed genuine stories, and it worked! 

And it worked how? The 2020 Olympics’ channels broke all traffic records. This generated over 3.7 billion engagements and a total follower count of 75 million. The cheer that should have come from the stands reverberated from mobile phones and laptops. All because the IOC decided to put people first this time. 

Time and again, social media has shown us that by projecting authentic stories and humanizing our brand, customers are more likely to engage with us. And the IOC proved it with the 2020 games. 

A record number of people tuned into digital platforms, and it actually pulled in the younger generation for a change with these strategies. 

But that is not all there is to learn from the Tokyo Olympics marketing and content game this year. 

With businesses reopening and slowly returning to normalcy, we can use a page or two from the IOC’s digital campaign playbook.

So, Kimp brings you the top marketing lessons from the Olympics social media content for the best digitally promoted event of the decade. 

A Road map to how the Olympics social media changed the game for Tokyo 2020: Lessons + Content Ideas 

It’s been about a week since the Tokyo summer Olympic events ended. But the buzz is still on. The Olympics marketing team created an immersive virtual experience across its digital platforms such as website, app, and social media. This helped boost brand awareness for the events, bring in new audiences, and ramp up the engagement metrics like nothing before. 

But the road to here was difficult. The team saw the bigger picture from day one and kept at it until the last bell rang.

And that is a road that all of us have to walk down to make our campaigns successful. 

So, let’s check out the steps that led to Tokyo 2020’s marketing success. 

1) Know Thy Audience 

The key to success in social media is your customer rather than your brand. To deliver content that evokes emotions and engages the audience, it is only right that you know everything about them. For example, a study showed that millennial audiences were more excited about the games than any other demographic. And this may have been a pivotal point in the IOC’s digital marketing campaign. With this data they had the confidence to embrace social media. 

Source: GWI

That is why, this year, the Olympics social accounts were active everywhere, right from Snapchat to Twitter. Eventually, it led to a greater volume of content, helping this become one of the most successful digital campaigns in sports.

Traditionally, it is the older TV-loving generation that many consider as a demographic for these events. But indulging in social listening changed the game for Tokyo 2020 Olympic marketing. 

Kimp Tip: Keep your brand mentions on, and use analytical tools to understand the customers in detail based on demographics, content preference, and social media platforms. You can then plan a content marketing strategy with ideas that will work for this audience specifically. It will also help you plan your design elements, like color, font, and design style. 

Not sure which design style works best for your target audience? Try them all out with unlimited design, and revisions, from Kimp Graphics

2) Omni Channel Presence 

How many Olympics-related posts did you see this time around? You probably lost count even before the games started. Now think about the last Olympics. Yes, you got to know the medal tally from somewhere but did you see so much of it on the Olympics social media channels? We are sure you did not. And this is not a coincidence. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic marketing team made a conscious decision to have an omnichannel presence. The event had 20 active profiles on various social media platforms to ensure they didn’t miss any demographic. And they also have a website and an app. Why do this? Well, to improve accessibility for the content they so painstakingly created. 

If you are a marketer, event organizer, or small business owner – this is important for you too. You must understand that every platform has a unique audience divided by content preference, age, and even geographical location. An omnichannel presence ensures that your content receives the maximum distribution efforts. 

Kimp Tip: We understand a content marketing strategy with an omnichannel presence is easier said than done. Tokyo 2020 had a huge team, but not every creator or business does. However, you can still establish a decent omni channel presence for your brand by employing content repurposing. With a few tweaks, edits, and adaptations, your blog can go on Instagram, and your tweet can be a great Snap story. 

Check this guide on content repurposing by Kimp or connect with Kimp Graphics and video for more insights into this process! 

3) Bring in the buzz 

The “Road to Tokyo” campaign started way before the actual events. In fact, the first video came out a year ago. The Olympics social media pages were abuzz with all the schedules, teasers, and updates anyone could need for this event.

Any new launch right from product to the event takes a lot of hard work and planning. So, when you actually drop the content, you need all the eyeballs you can get on it. Generating buzz for these announcements is a core part of your marketing strategy. 

Get people talking, generate FOMO, and sell out on the first day itself – just like Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Some content ideas to generate buzz for your business on social media include: 

  • Video teasers and trailers for the event or product launch on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • A countdown on your website, landing pages and/or social media. 
  • Micro-content such as educational videos, behind the scenes of the launch preparation, and puzzles across social media channels to keep the audience engaged. 

Above you’ll see a BTS Video of the #RoadtoTokyo posted on the Olympics social media accounts before the event’s launch. 

Kimp Tip: Every piece of content that you post on your social media pages must celebrate two things – your brand and the message. Be sure to include brand colors, fonts, logos, and other significant elements in every graphic design or video design post. This way, you can improve brand recall while building momentum for the launch too. It’s a win-win.

Looking for branded edits for your Behind the Scenes content? Check out Kimp Video today! 

4) Keep it Real 

We know that the Tokyo 2020 marketing campaign had one central element – people. Accordingly, all the Olympics social media profiles championed actual people, their stories, raw emotions, and relatable content. It is hard to spot a post that does not do this.

True to their DTC strategies. Tokyo 2020 achieved success by speaking to the audience directly in a way that tugged at their hearts. For brands looking to build a rapport with their virtual customers, this is a very significant takeaway.

Customers prefer brands and businesses that display their human side. A distinct brand personality makes it easy for someone to stand by you always. 

So, go ahead and fill your feed with your photos, customer images, video testimonials, and user-generated content. This shows customers that there is a person behind their brand who cares about showing the human side. 

And keep in mind that on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, photos with faces tend to receive higher engagement than those without. 

Kimp Tip: Apprehensive about shooting high-quality, professional photos for your brand consistently? Do you not have enough customer photos for your social media content? Don’t worry. Kimp Graphics can turn your raw images into high-quality graphic-design enhanced posts for your social network. Or we can create realistic illustrations for you, just like the Tokyo 2020 team did. 

We can also create video testimonials using static images that your customers send you through a Kimp Video subscription. 

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An example of Olympics social media content
Source: Instagram

Above is a snapshot of a very real Instagram feed from the Olympics that puts the spotlight on the people while also bringing in branded values in the mix. 

5) Leverage the power of videos 

Repeatedly, we see how video helps brands improve their engagement metrics and build a credible audience base. This is because video is a crowd favorite format. It’s no wonder every social media platform is pushing it. Even outside of social networks, videos can help you improve SEO scores, landing page conversion rates, and product page views.

It is the gift that keeps on giving. 

And with the Olympics being a sporting event, video was a very obvious choice for a primary medium for the organizers. But the best part is that the team put together a diverse video marketing strategy that spread across platforms and touched all the right points.

Some techniques that we saw in action include: 
  • Live streaming events on YouTube, their Website, and app. 
  • Facebook and Instagram live sessions with athletes, experts, and other notable celebrities. 
  • A montage or compilation of event videos compiled by themes, moments, and events. 
  • Outtakes or special moments from these videos for their social media feed. 

Kimp Tip: For a small business, video production can be a laborious and expensive affair. But, if you run an event management company or a business with an internet presence you can’t ignore the impact that video makes. Try a Kimp Video to help you with editing your footage or creating videos from your images and brand elements for your social media channels.

Adding thumbnails, intros, outros, captions, and editing are just some of the tricks in our bag. Contact the team to get a comprehensive list of Kimp Video services. 

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An example of Olympics social media content
Source: YouTube

The Olympic’s YouTube channel was a content treasure chest this summer. Curated playlists, diverse content, and live streams all in one place. Notice how each playlist has a distinct visual language but ties in with the Olympics’ brand. That is the power of good design. 

6) The filter game is good 

Filters are the rage today. If you want customers to participate in your promotional activities and support you from the comfort of their homes, Filters are a must.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics team worked with Facebook and Instagram to launch a custom AR filter on these platforms. Users who wanted to support their athletes and get the maximum Olympic viewing experience could then use those.

And they also created other cool experiences for fans like being able to mirror the mascot Miraitowa’s movements and earning medals for that performance. 

If you want to replicate this for your business, you can connect with a design team to turn your branding elements, like logos, imagery, or brand name, into a filter that people can interact with, easily. 

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics AR filters at a glance
Source: Snapchat

Kimp Tip: Filters can do wonders for your brand. User-generated content and engagement skyrockets with it. But designing it right is very important. Be sure to imbibe your branding design and values in that filter. Talk to your design partner to check how the filter can improve your brand recall in the market. 

7) Best of Both worlds 

Yes, we know that the world is slowly reopening, and most companies hope that virtual events become a thing of the past soon. After 18 months of lockdown, it is only natural. 

However, if you consider it carefully, you will realize that virtual events can be a great way to promote your physical events and storefronts or business locations. The Olympic marketing team ran a 24-hour workout marathon with athletes just before the Olympics began. 

They used this virtual workout event to generate web traffic to their website via a landing page with highlights of old events, a link to social media profiles, and sponsor details. 

This also helped them become one of the most talked-about topics online within a few hours.

All things that you want, where you are reopening and kicking off events after a long gap. 

Kimp Tip: Create an event web page for your business. It can be for an event, a product launch, or even just an announcement. Redirect all your ad traffic and social media outbounds to this page. It becomes easier to capture data and helps immensely in SEO efforts for a particular event or product. 

Check out some landing page design ideas by Kimp for some inspiration to get started.

Go For Gold In Your Marketing With Social Media & A Kimp Subscription 

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were not just an inspiration for athletes worldwide. They also sowed a new seed of hope for all small businesses, marketers, and content creators. 

The marketing team showed us that social media is an important tool in the post-pandemic era to reach customers and make our brands shine on and offline.

Kimp Graphics and Kimp Video subscriptions can help you achieve these goals with ease. With unlimited requests, revisions, and expert designers, you will ace this social media game in no time.

Ready to create high-quality, interactive, and dynamic content for your social networks?

Contact Kimp today. Sign up for the free trial to experience Kimp for yourself.