Light the Torch! Creating Culturally Relevant Content

Olympicsby Benton Olivares

It’s almost time for the Olympics and for the inevitable, horrifying realization of my own squishy physique compared to the pantheon of perfected human specimens. (Oh, it takes her 4 seconds to run 40 yards? It takes me at least 30 seconds to climb out of this couch to get a soda out of the fridge.) Along with the thrilling display of sport and international cooperation, the Olympics undoubtedly ushers in a multitude of emotionally charged video content. Reportedly, there are over 7.8 billion views on YouTube alone concerning the Olympics – past events, qualifying rounds, gold medal winners, and branded content. It’s time we learned from this; creating culturally relevant content can boost brand awareness.

According to Adweek, video content analytics company, Zefr, claims there were 390 million views in advertising pertaining to the Olympics, the bulk of which went to brands who aren’t sponsors – Adidas, Under Armor, and Puma, to name a few. What does that tell us? The companies garnering the most buzz are flourishing in the wake of the cultural event, especially athletic apparel brands (since it’s the Olympics, you dig?). Whether or not your company is a sponsor to the Olympics, for example, brands can still create an impact and reap the benefits of contributing to the social trend.

Companies that can adapt to cultural trends and define a voice can gain more brand awareness among potential consumers. If you can put your messaging in front of or in accordance to a social phenomenon, the more likely new customers are going to click on your video content. David Rosner, EVP of Strategic Marketing at Zefr, says, “Anything that has huge prolonged cultural attention is going to be something that a whole part of YouTube culture will find… ways to talk about it.”

That’s excellent news for any brand: you can ride the ebb and flow of trends in our culture without paying top dollar to sponsor those events. Of course, you’ll need to be careful with any phrases as to not infringe on copyright, but those limitations can be freeing, creatively speaking. Brands should carefully consider how they can cash in on popular events. Do you want to tastefully parody the whole enchilada? Or would you rather tap into the hearts of consumers who are, for example, already moved by the majesty of the Olympics?

Don’t think of it as riding on the coattails of any particular cultural trend; it’s simply being a part of the conversation. Add your brand’s voice to the topic, see what lands, and hopefully you’ll reach a whole spectrum of potential consumers that you wouldn’t have, otherwise. Trends come and go, but staying on top of the latest fads can score your brand more awareness. Think of it as being Crush and company riding the East Australian Current from Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Those turtles with their surfer-dude nonchalance all ride the current, but they do it in their own flavor in different shells to add a unique voice. “Noggin! Duuuuuuude.