Connecting to the Games
amidst uncertainty

And getting it right together.

After over a year of pandemic-caused devastation, this summer’s Games in Tokyo will spotlight much-needed stories of heroism, nostalgia, and inspiration from around the world. Tales of resilience and acts of overcoming challenges will bring positivity and hope forward after months of uncertainty. 

In preparation, we’ve been listening to the conversation around the Games, preparing new product solutions and advising brands on how to best prepare for activating up to and during the road to Tokyo.

What we know

We wanted to share insights we’ve gathered from conversations on Twitter. According to a 2019 Twitter study, Twitter was the #1 platform where people expect to first hear about new stories from Tokyo.1 We’ve built on that momentum since then as the volume of conversation about sports has been prominent and continues to grow with 59% more people on Twitter Tweeting daily about sports in 20212 vs. YA. This is even more significant with mentions about the Games where Tweet volumes grew by 73% in May 2021 vs. April 2021.3  Though the experience will be different with restricted live audiences, people are still excited to follow the events in real time. It’s not surprising that 60% of people surveyed on Twitter want to watch the events on TV after seeing content on the platform.4

What we're doing

We’ve been making product improvements to best discover content and converse about moments by putting the conversation around the Games front and center. This includes adding new Topics that will provide the latest content about their favorite sports, teams, and athletes. We’ll introduce event push notifications to update people in real time so they can tune into what is happening. The Games will be everywhere on Twitter — across Search, Event Pages, and Trends — plus a dedicated destination that curates popular, real-time content and information from Tokyo. Fans choose Twitter to follow live sports events because they want to know what’s happening on and off the field in real time. Simply put, Twitter is the roar of the crowd.

What brands can do

We learned a lot during the ambiguity and complexity of marketing throughout the pandemic. We’ve taken some of these past learnings coupled with the current context of the conversation on Twitter to create guiding principles for advertisers, which we’d like to share with all of you. 

1. Demonstrate your support.
Before and during the event, we encourage brands to elevate positivity by prioritizing any opportunity to amplify unique, uplifting, and inspiring stories through campaign messaging and creativity. These may include athletes’ backstories, exhilarating competition outcomes, moments of cultural unity, and more.

2. Practice self-awareness.
Consider whether your planned sponsorship and association with the Games relates in any way to the day-to-day conditions of the pandemic through the eyes of the people who use your products. Consider how your Marketing and Communications teams are aligned on what your brand has been doing in recent months to support its community, industry, employees, and customers throughout the pandemic, and assess what role this plays in your overall creative messaging and tone.

3. Keep up with the conversation.
Staying up-to-date on how your brand is being talked about will enable your teams to capitalize on positive trending moments, as well as authentically react to and address any happenings related to your brand presence in real time. We have a variety of tools, product features, and insights capabilities that can help your Brand, Communications, and Agency teams stay current with the latest events and circumstances and help to navigate your responses to them.

4. Plan for flexibility.
In the event that the Games don’t go as planned, it’s important to proactively prepare for how your brand will acknowledge and respond to these changes, as well as adjust your tone, creative messaging, and media strategies.  Assess each of your sponsorship components from teams to countries, athletes, and more when conducting these scenario plans, and consider how they might be questioned or viewed in light of unplanned circumstances. 

5. Consider what people need to know and how you can help.
As part of your scenario planning, consider what utility or support your brand can offer to fans and consumers in the event of changing conditions during the Games. This could include keeping the following constituents top-of-mind: frontline staff and healthcare workers, local customers and employees in Japan, and athletes your brand is associated with and their countries of origin.

Undoubtedly, the challenging events of this past year will bring some big changes to the Games and to the viewing experience, but one constant has remained throughout: Twitter is where everyone goes to connect and talk about what’s happening in sports. I’m more hopeful than ever that there are going to be many incredible moments, performances, and personalities that will drive major conversations on Twitter all summer long, and I can’t wait to be part of the conversation.

Sarah Personette (@SEP) is the VP of Global Twitter Client Solutions.

1. Tokyo 2020 Twitter Insights study conducted by Sparkler and commissioned by Twitter, Nov. 2019, Global, “Where would you first expect to hear about this story?” {Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube}, Preferred users of each platform: n=2356 Twitter users, 9279 Facebook users, 4050 Instagram users, 562 Snapchat users, 5368 YouTube users
2. Twitter Internal Data. Daily avg. Comparing Tweets from Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020 to Jan 1st, 2021 - May 15th, 2021. US Only.
3. Twitter Internal Data. Comparing Tweets (global) from April 2021 to May 2021
4. Tokyo 2020 Twitter Insights study conducted by Sparkler and commissioned by Twitter, Nov. 2019, Global, “Would consuming any Olympics-related content (e.g highlights, reactions, expert opinions etc.) on the following platform(s) encourage you to watch the Olympics later on TV?” {Twitter - yes}, n=17520 monthly Twitter users

  • Sports
  • Perspective
  • The Conversation

Related Content