The Olympic Brand
Every four years, it’s the same feeling! A reluctant return to the routine after an epic celebration of speed, skill, stamina, strength and spirit that combine to present the Olympics. During this phase of fighting these withdrawal symptoms, it got me thinking – ‘How simply amazing is this quadrennial event that continually endures to evoke the same ‘high’ – every single time.’
The Olympics is probably the ‘icon’ of all iconic brands. The ‘modern’ Olympics, an ironical prefix to a 120-year brand, has stayed as a sportspersons ultimate frontier of achievement and glory. From just 241 athletes in 1896 to over 11,000 in 2016, from 14 countries then to 207 countries now, from boycotts and wars to politics and protests, the games within have always stood tall.
The ‘Olympic’ brand blueprint in many ways has been its hallmark. It’s values of- ‘Friendship, Respect and Excellence’ have remained unbroken. It’s motto of ‘faster, higher, stronger’ are followed and practiced with purpose. It’s symbol of the five rings and its meaning have seen no design change. In fact, several countries have even changed their national flags over time. The idea of universality has been firmly etched in the colors of the Olympic flag with every national flag containing at least one of the flags six colours – including white. The intersection of the rings which suggest bringing the worlds athletes together, on a closer look, in my view, even feels like an outlined panorama of a world map.
The Olympic brand makes a perfect case of a brand respecting its heritage and still connecting with evolving sensibilities. Unchanged are its traditions of the anthem, the lighting of the torch in Hera, the torch relay that follows, the release of the doves at the opening ceremony and the Olympic oath. But this is not as if to suggest the Olympic brand is resistant to change- it does evolve in keeping with the times. Be it the inclusion of mascots since 1968, the embracement of five more sports for Tokyo, the insertion of the oath of the coaches, the participation of women in every sport and standing in solidarity with the worlds refugees with the team that competed under the Olympic flag in Rio.
The Olympic brand reveals the reality that you may effect change, however without ever compromising your core values. The values underpin every brand into what they grow to become. If the founding premises is strong and even if some of the brands dimensions’ change, it continues to endure. The Olympics pay perfect heed to this principle and I just can’t wait for the return of this sporting spectacle to ignite that incomparable feeling again when one witnesses the human spirit at its very best – ‘faster, higher, stronger’!