Methods to use the summer time of sport in your advertising and marketing to advertise extra buyer loyalty

The summer of sport offers a great marketing opportunity, but are brands risking alienating viewers by relying on the images of well-trained, young athletes? Jacqueline Bourke, Head of Creative Insights EMEA at iStock, emphasizes that the Olympic Games are a great opportunity for companies to celebrate the feeling of togetherness and show greater belonging by showing people of all abilities and body types playing sports.

The long awaited Olympic Games certainly did not disappoint. It may have taken five years, but Team GB has already taken home many outstanding victories; from Tom Daley and Matty Lee, who won gold in men’s synchronized jumping, to Charlotte Worthington, who won the first ever Olympic BMX Freestyle gold with her breathtaking 360 degree backflip.

In addition to the celebration and enjoyment, we experience that the Olympics also offer a unique opportunity for companies to get in touch with their customers on a topic that appeals to so many people: sport. No matter what industry you are in, the celebrations and togetherness that the Olympics create are common themes that unite and involve all communities and customers.

Photo credit: bernie_photo

At iStock we have put together four important marketing tips to effectively use the summer of sport to increase customer loyalty.

Be inclusive and relatable

While Simone Biles made her incredible gymnastic performances look effortless in the past, the Olympic gold medalist was open about the fights she faced at these games. After experiencing the “twisties” that led Biles to retire from multiple competitions, she spoke about the importance of maintaining her mental health, saying, “My physical and mental health are first and foremost medals that I could win” .

It’s a precious reminder that athletes, like everyone else, experience the challenges and pressures of real life. Therefore, when visualizing sports, it is important to make sure that your images are relatable.

Show people of all abilities and confidence levels attending and choose images that reflect real life rather than just relying on stereotypical images of successful young athletes. Also, consider the variety of fitness options on offer, from wheelchair basketball to senior yoga to buggy groups, and make sure you include intersectional identities such as body shapes, types, sizes, abilities, age, and gender.

Take into account both emotional and physical fitness

While many people expected to see pictures of Tom Daley diving for gold at the Games, it came as a surprise to many to see him knitting in the stands during the competition. Daley writes that learning to knit and crochet helped him pass the Olympics. According to our iStock Visual GPS study, which regularly polls over 10,000 people worldwide, 93% believe that taking care of yourself emotionally and physically is equally important.

So, think about fitness and exercise, think about it holistically, and point out the emotional rewards people get from proactive self-care moments like taking a walk in nature or taking time out on a relaxing hobby.

Also, think about the ways in which they use fitness to recover from the stresses of daily living. Add images that depict a wide range of proactive self-care moments. This can be anything from eating healthily to exercising with a friend in the garden.

Visualize the joys of nature

Watching the Games this summer has inspired many to get outside and get active, with searches on iStock increasing 60% for “outdoor family” and 131% for “mother nature”. Especially since 2021 is still the summer of their stay for many, people are increasingly exploring the beauty of the British countryside and reconnecting with nature.

Take into account the different ways people incorporate nature into your visual content, this could be a hiking trip with friends, camping with the kids, or just a game of table tennis in the garden. Visualizing the mindful way people engage in outdoor activities will be particularly popular with your customers of all ages.

Celebrate togetherness

The Olympic Games brought a lot of people together this summer. Our research shows that 86% of people worldwide are looking for ways to celebrate the good things in their lives.

Imagine the joy and celebration people feel when they get together to watch their favorite sport, whether it be a simple barbecue with friends in the garden or watching the games in the pub.

Even if some people still feel uncomfortable in large gatherings, it pays to also consider the way many people are connecting virtually and partying with loved ones from afar. We know this is incredibly important to people because, according to our research, 82% say technology helps them feel connected to others.

After a year of lockdown and the ongoing stress of the pandemic, the summer of sport is an opportunity for companies from all industries to connect with and celebrate their customers.

By Jacqueline Bourke
Head of Creative Insights EMEA

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