5 Olympic Brand Commandments for Today’s Businesses

The Olympics serve as the greatest sports event and as one of the most important conferences in the world at the same time. Over the history, they have been subject to controversy, boycotts and served as squabbling grounds between countries and political blocks. Yet somehow, they managed to survive and not only survive, but thrive. The Olympic institution and brand are stronger today than ever. On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult (impossible even) to single out a company which enjoys a similar amount goodwill today or throughout any point in history for that matter.

In this regard, there is one question worth examining: What are institutions, organizations, and companies but a group of people working united under a common idea? If this were true, then what makes the Olympics brand and ideals so true, grand and worthy of pursuing? On the other hand, what makes companies and organizations struggle, stray away from themselves and even stray from goodness itself?

As any other organization, the Olympic Games have seen their fair share of struggles. First and foremost they exist within the confines of our civilization which is susceptible to misunderstandings, conflicts, and of course war. They survived our two World Wars, all kinds of regimes, terrorist attacks, all sorts of political disputes and boycotts. For example, at the 1980 Moscow games, 62 countries didn’t participate as a result of the Cold War, and this didn’t even put a dent in the Olympic spirit.

The Olympics do not only show extreme resilience in the eyes of serious adversity but as a body, they continuously act accordingly to their established values. South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games from 1964 to 1988, as a part of the sporting boycott during the apartheid era. Saudi Arabia was threatened with a ban in 2012 unless it sends women athletes to compete and this year Russia was banned to participate in the winter games due to a state-run doping program. The International Olympic Committee didn’t ban all the athletes from Russia though. It united them under its flag, as It did for the refugee team in 2016 in Rio. This shows true value-driven integrity: not to discriminate against anyone no matter the circumstances. This value is further strengthened by the existence of the Paralympic Games.

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The Olympics are consistent in practicing tolerance and inclusion. Credit Andrej Isakovic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Olympic Committee is not afraid to make tough decisions and run the risk of being perceived as the “bad guy” in certain countries. The same can’t be readily said for businesses.

Business and states nowadays have almost a symbiotic relationship too. Rightfully so, since it’s in the businesses’ interest to lobby for less regulation, tax, and other breaks. We are well aware that this relationship can get out of hand though. There is daily news of big political corruption scandals involving financial “favors” from a big business. Yet, this is only one sphere where businesses can stray away from the good.

Let’s take Volkswagen as our latest example, which is an appropriate one as well. They are a well-known brand globally and have a long tradition to boot. Although Volkswagen is loved and revered all over the world for their craftsmanship and build quality, recently it was discovered that they cheated their emissions tests on a big scale. More recently even, they were condemned for testing diesel fumes on humans and monkeys!

For me, it is inconceivable that an organization can be true to their values and still manage to act in a vile way. A company that pollutes can’t say they respect women’s rights and if a company has appalling work conditions, it doesn’t get to say they value good design. What’s the use anyway?

We have to keep in mind that the values both organizations and businesses respect are first and foremost human values. As such, they are complementary and interdependent. One can’t choose to have tunnel vision, to respect one and ignore all of the rest.

What gives the Olympics a starting advantage in brand integrity over today’s businesses then? If they were still under Zeus’s patronage, he would have stated something like the following:

1. Know thyself

I remember the shock of discovering that the company I worked for, for my first rebranding project, had no idea who they were and what was their business about. I thought that this would be a no-brainer for bigger companies, but it turned out to be a very big brainer indeed. Luckily dusting off only one core value ( customer service ) was enough to give the company new life and direction. The same goes for any other business whether it’s a startup or 100 years old. They must be aware of who they are and what they are about.

2. Nothing is more important than human decency

These three words are enough to guide you through all of your business decisions, especially the ones which are on the moral fence. Nothing is more important than valuing a person’s wellbeing. But this commandment deserves attention when making simple and apparently harmless decisions too. We often don’t examine our decisions form a broader perspective and we don’t fully consider all of their possible implications.

3. Include, don’t discriminate

It is well known that companies that encourage employee participation in decision-making report having staff who has greater ownership of their workplace and brand. Especially if you include your staff in brand creation, you will get dedicated life-long brand ambassadors which will disseminate your business’s goal, idea, and spirit.  Otherwise, you might end up with uninspired employees which feel left out and forgotten.

4. Have a simple, fair and transparent rulebook

Sports are very simple to follow. That’s one of the reasons why everybody can follow them. By nature, they are open and accessible for everybody. This transparency allows anybody to witness what’s going on on the field or the track. Anybody can be a direct judge and this, in turn, creates the need for fairness.

A business is made of many individuals with varied backgrounds and capabilities. Having simple rules makes the system accessible and understandable for everybody. Fairness and transparency in employee treatment are key for achieving trust, confidence and long-term stability of your business.

5. Be larger than the sum of your parts

The Olympics aren’t organized in a traditional sense. Although they have their Committee and headquarters they appear and disappear into thin air every 4 years. They are more of an idea than a tangible “thing”. Same goes for any business that strives to be written in history and make a difference. Trough your business you realize the idea you have for the world so, to have a chance at greatness, your idea has to be attractive and universal enough to outlast you and your direct successors.


I am a brand strategist, designer, and content manager. My philosophy is that brands are intrinsically human, and can’t ultimately be treated with classic business and marketing strategies. To have truly successful brands we need to know our human selves and listen to our human hearts.

You can connect with me here:

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National Geographic discovers its brand roots

After reading trough FastCocreate’s article on National Geographic’s brand revamp I was left with mixed feelings. Following are the goods, the bads and the middles of their latest move.

The good

The brand is re-discovering its core. They already updated their programming by including more of what the National Geographic Partners CEO Declan Moore says is “smart content”. This decision follows the increase of 21st Century Fox’s holdings in the company and after the management team recognized the growing thirst of millennials and gen Z for programs which are “more on the intellectual side.” The new and improved NatGeo channel includes programs like the newest Leo DiCaprio documentary: Before the Flood, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, Years of Living Dangerously, StarTalk with DeGrasse Tyson, Origins etc.

Moreover, the brand aims to introduce cohesion across all of their platforms. Moore sees this trough the lens of teams taking proud ownership of the content that is being produced at the level of the whole company.

The bad

Reading trough how Moore approaches his brand was a personal shock, tofdd59a95f27a7a0cf4dd7dd67374bd2c say the least. He said that the management team has just discovered that millennials like “smart programming.” Now, whilst people chased UFOs on NatGeo, people were tuning into YouTube channels like ASAP Science, Veritasium, One minute physics and to science blogs like IFLScience, Science alert, iO9. In fact, people have been doing this for more than a decade now and to share such a statement in 2016 shows that people at NatGeo are seriously out of touch.

There is a reason why these channels and blogs are so popular, and that is in part because of the lack of quality programs on dedicated science channels like NatGeo. I can safely say that the sphere of specialty science entertainment was destroyed in the last decade with the introduction of reality TV which increasingly got out of hand and out-of-brand. Animal Planet anyone?

Moore is quite happy to recognize and capitalize on the thirst for “smarter programming”, but is not aware that he and his team is responsible for creating this kind of thirst in the first place. All this comes from a business ethic which ultimately doesn’t show passion for its own brand. It’s opportunistic in nature and leaves a dry taste of old-school marketing where only graphs and numbers are considered.

One other thing. Declan Moore practically says that teams from different platforms were not comfortable taking ownership (responsibility) to what was happening over next door. For example, the magazine team was not comfortable with decisions made by the guys over at the TV channel. If this doesn’t illustrate a brand in cohesive shambles, I don’t know what does.

The middle ground

I am glad they are taking very positive steps towards more quality programming and more brand cohesion despite what factors influence those decisions. Should they have done it sooner – yes. Has 21st Century Fox got something to do with the new programming direction? Maybe.

If they keep up with the production of quality content and if they don’t stray off-brand again, National Geographic Channel could soon be well ahead of their colleges over at Discovery & Co and can reclaim their spot as the primary authority on exciting science and discovery.

The main mistake dedicated science channels do nowadays is serving what people want instead of what they actually need. I know this sounds unintuitive, but let me illustrate. Let’s say I had a choice between a doughnut and an apple. An apple is what I need because of the fiber and vitamins, and the doughnut is something that I want because it is tastier. I would almost always choose a doughnut over an apple , but when I eat it, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t feel terrible (and less healthy) afterward.

The same goes with television channels. They make people feel terrible about themselves. They make people feel like brainless, lazy slobs and this is not something any self-aware human being would ever need nor want to feel. This lesson can be applied to any brand. Each has the power to use its position for the greater good and make the world a better place.

Тинекс – креативно изложување на производи

Пријатно се изненадив кога влегов во реновираниот Super Tinex маркет кај Драмски. Имено, ја искористиле можноста да изложат некои производи меѓу просторот на нивните ескалатори. Ова одлично функционира, најпрвин бидејќи е нешто неочекувано, а и го збогатува искуството на пазарење со тоа што им дава можност на посетителите да изберат производ во движење.

Погледнете како тоа изгледа на видеoтo подолу:

п.с. Моите познаници од социјалните мрежи ми посочија дека овој начин на изложување веќе се применува подолго време што е одлична вест. Иако не сум имал можност да влезам во некои од овие маркети на две нивоа, мислам дека овој пристап сеуште на потрошувачот му нуди дополнително и збогатено искуство на пазарење.

Вовед во студија на случајот „Внатрешно брендирање на Рептил маркетите“

Najdobar prodavac reptil marketi
Од манифестацијата за избор на најдобар продавач на Рептил маркетите

Надворешното брендирање (визуелниот идентитет) иако е важен за општиот впечаток и пораките кои ги комуницира компанијата кон надворешноста не може да биде целосен доколку  истите вредности успешно не се имплементираат и меѓу персоналот на компанијата. Ова особено важи за бизнисите кои фигурираат во услужните дејности каде човечкиот контакт е клучен за опстанокот и успешноста на бизнисот.

Рептил маркетите имаат четири главни компаниски вредности кои се практивкуваат секојдневно од страна на нивните вработени:

1. Напорна работа
2. Најдобра услуга
3. Задоволен потрошувач
4. Прогрес

Целта на внатрешното бренидрање во случајот на Рептил маркетите е да се разбуди свеста за овие вредности кои иако секојдневно се практикуваат, за нив ретко се размислува, дискутира и ретко се земаат предвид кога се носат менаџерските одлуки.

Имајќи ја предвид услугата како главна карактеристика според која овие маркети се издвојуваат од својата конкуренција, неизбежно е компанијата да го вреднува трудот на своите вработени. Затоа компанијата реши транспарентно и јавно да го оценува нивниот труд (услуга). Оцената на трудот се верифицира на секои 4 месеци, па компанијата се реши да организира 3 вакви настани на годишно ниво.

На овие манифестации, покрај наградите ќе биде доделен беџ кој вработениот ќе има обврска да го носи се до следната манифестација. На овој начин тој ќе служи како пример за своите колеги а воедно компанијата ќе покаже пред своите потрошувачи дека услугата и нивното задоволство се нешто што во компанијата сериозно се сфаќа. На овој начин Рептил маркетите земаат еден попозитивен став кон развивање на услугата преку начинот „водство по пример“ наместо досегашното „дисциплинирање по пат на казни“.

Проблематиката на внатрешното брендирање е комплексна работа и неговото успешно спроведување е долгогодишен процес кој бара имплементација на низа различни активности. Треба да имаме на ум дека станува збор за реформа или надополнување на компаниската култура (начинот на кој работите се прават) која во овој случај вработените ја имаат градено долж 17 години.

Едукацијата на вработените за нивниот бренд, воведување на нови алатки при нивното работење, подобрување на протокот на корпоративните пораки (од горе – надолу), посочување на позитивниот пример во работењето и постојаната работа со персоналот се сериозни чекори за кои раководството треба да има зрел и сериозен пристап доколку сака својот бизнис да го доведе до точка кога тој ќе биде препознаван во околината по квалитетот на својот персонал и уникатноста на искуството што го нуди. Уникатноста подразбира искуство кое може да се најде само во една компанија и тоа искуство, потрошувачот не може да го искуси на ниедно друго место. Во оваа насока, исклучително важно е раководството да е на страната на оној чија одговорност е да го спроведе овој процес (обично некој од секторот за марктинг и секторот за човечки ресурси) бидејќи овој тим во текот на својата работа ќе се соочува со сериозен отпор од страна на вработените кои се навикнати на одреден начин на функционирање долг временски приод.

Позитивниот ефект од уникатноста на долг рок е што таа неизбежно ќе придонесе до зголемување на подготвеноста на потрошувачите да дојдат да пазарат во овие маркети, а тоа се преведува како зголемена вредност на брендот. Вредноста на брендот пак е реален економски показател кој особено доаѓа до израз при аквизицијата на еден одреден бизнис. Што поголема е вредноста на брендот – толку поголема е вредноста на бизнисот кој го поседува, преведена во пари.