This year, the Brand Marketing team worked to incorporate our ‘Be Olympic’ platform into everything produced by the Canadian Olympic Committee. Through the development of our new Brand Pillars, we worked to connect the ideals of the ‘Be Olympic’ platform to Canadians. Each of the four pillars appeal to different segments of Team Canada’s audience and help to widen our brand’s reach beyond the Olympic Games.
The first brand activation to leverage the ‘Be Olympic’ platform was the ‘Be You’ campaign, developed to celebrate Pride in summer 2018 and delivering against the COC’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy. In Toronto and Montreal, customized t-shirts were offered to fans for a minimum donation of $10 in support of You Can Play, a COC partner organization which works to ensure sport is a safe and inclusive space for the LGTBQ+ community.
Prior to PyeongChang 2018, the team led the execution of the Molson Canadian Olympic Team Send-Off that was held on January 6 2018 at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia. The event celebrated Team Canada ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Over 20 athletes and 6,000 fans came out to celebrate at an all-day festival that culminated with a performance by Juno Award-winning artist July Talk. The event featured a number of marketing partner activations including Molson, Sport Chek and Toyota.
At PyeongChang 2018, the brand team lead the opening of Canada Olympic House to the public for the first time since Salt Lake City 2002 and welcomed over 15,000 visitors during the 17 days of the Olympic Winter Games. The house delivered a welcoming and authentically Canadian experience featuring a record number of marketing partner activations and enhanced programming highlighted by regular sport celebrations. Special event programming included multiple performances by Canadian rock band The Arkells, who helped close out the house at the end of the Games. Additionally, Canada Olympic House was home to Pride House, representing the first time ever that Pride House was directly affiliated with and hosted by a National Olympic Committee.
Team Canada Brand Health Metrics:
Canada Olympic House:
Molson Canadian Olympic Team Send-Off:
As a media leader, we have the power, control and ability to tell athlete and sport stories our way, cementing our place as an emotional, well-loved and passionate brand. Our established Team Canada social platforms have given us communities that are the envy of other National Olympic Committees and even media organizations and we continue to serve this community with an increasing appetite for amateur sports content.
SportCal Media, one of the world’s leading providers of comprehensive sports market intelligence, in partnership with Hookit, a market leader of sponsorship analytics and valuation of social and digital media for sports, reported that the COC had the most social fan interactions of all National Olympic Committees at PyeongChang 2018.
The world followed the @teamcanada channels, at PyeongChang 2018, with earned media impressions of over 6 billion during that time. Following a NOC competitive analysis post-Games, Team Canada has the largest channel size per capita and is the third most engaged per capita in the world.
2018 DIGITAL ACHIEVEMENTS:
OLYMPIC.CA / OLYMPIQUE.CA:
At PyeongChang 2018, Team Canada posted its highest ever Olympic.ca page view totals, exceeding projections by more than 200% and doubling what was generated at Rio 2016, with more than 21 million page views.
While coverage of Team Canada at the Olympic Games and at world championships was prevalent in 2018, the work done behind-the-scenes to improve user experience was also a focus. The team leveraged tools to analyze what fans were searching for and created content against results, including updating stock content to reflect any changes to athlete bios or sports pages. The team also improved page load speed site-wide and continued search optimization of new and old content to enhance user experience.
TEAM CANADA SOCIAL PLATFORMS:
INSTAGRAM: Our Instagram channel received over 6.9M engagements in 2018, an increase of 292% from 2017. We verified PyeongChang 2018 athletes on the platform and integrated Rio 2016 athletes into live executions during the Winter Games, aiding athletes brand growth, reach and engagement. This year, we distributed our highest volume of video content on Instagram to date, using the massive shift in video consumption on social media to increase Team Canada’s overall engagement results. By leveraging the platform’s new features, our team created interactive content that effectively drove fan engagement and traffic to Olympic.ca. With a follower growth of more than 67%, this continues to be our most engaged social media platform.
FACEBOOK: Through our partnership with Facebook (the largest of its kind in PyeongChang), we created a branded content opportunity and integrated Sport Chek into Team Canada’s Facebook Live studio. The execution connected fans around the world to Canada Olympic House by offering them exclusive content with Team Canada athletes and fans, generating 3.6 million video views. We continued to utilize the algorithm’s favourability of video content to reach English and French audiences with unique tailored content.
TWITTER: Using our partnership with Twitter, we created “moments” around Canadian milestones in PyeongChang and ensured Team Canada’s content was incorporated into “trending moments.” By introducing our first Twitter Lives at an Olympic Games, we connected users with Canadian medallists within 24 hours of their performance. We continue to position @TeamCanada as the go-to source for Canadian athlete news. Our French Twitter account, @Equipe_Canada solidified its position as one of the largest French digital sports channels in the country.
SNAPCHAT: Through “collaborators”, we gave fans a behind-the-scenes view of Buenos Aires 2018 and PyeongChang 2018, as we built one-on-one connections with our youngest audience of fans. Utilizing “official stories” status, we expanded the breadth and reach of Team Canada content while driving direct traffic to Olympic.ca during PyeongChang 2018.
BRANDED CONTENT SALES – We delivered our new go-to-market strategy around digital sales. The team was proud of the development of a first-ever valuation model against our branded content that was used to pilot sales concepts to drive incremental revenues for PyeongChang 2018 and the quadrennial. We engaged RBC, SportChek, SAS and Toyota, bringing in incremental revenue of $502,000 against our new digital media assets, while providing $8.6 million in social media value to our partners during the Games.
DIGITAL CHANNELS AND CONTENT AUDIT – While continually producing content that is optimized for search and social, the team also evaluated every action we took in a thorough digital content, channels and products audit, including a refreshed competitive analysis. The findings of the audit have allowed us to begin to refine strategies to continue to get the highest return for our efforts in this ever-evolving space.
FAN LIFECYCLE PROJECT – Our fan and Club lifecycle project, which included fan segmentation and audience exercise, was completed. It helped us identify our audiences, the journey a fan takes with us, and opportunities for us and partners to increase the value of digital touch points and engagement opportunities to convert our passive and casual fans to Club members.
VIDEO CAPTURE AND PRODUCTION – 1,300 video posts were released during PyeongChang 2018, generating 22 million video views across Team Canada channels. Outside of Games, other major video productions included a pilot project for a potential Tokyo 2020 brand campaign series as well as a Christine Girard video series as part of her medal re-allocation ceremony that was aired via broadcast live stream.
In 2018, the Communications Team elevated the media profile of the Canadian Olympic Committee to new heights. New tools were launched, including the Team Canada PyeongChang Media Guide App, and others were further streamlined all in the interest of providing our partners in media the best possible access to information concerning Team Canada the moment it is issued. Our work led to Team Canada’s most successful year ever in media, earning over 5.7 billion media impressions.
While Canadian athletes owned the podium in PyeongChang, the Communications Team ensured that they received extensive coverage from coast to coast to coast throughout the Games. From tweeting up-to-the-minute official results and breaking news from @TeamCanadaPR, to issuing daily briefings with flash quotes, photos and a running medal tally, to a new and improved Media Guide app for Android and iOS, we ensured that media had the most up-to-date information available on Team Canada athletes as they competed. By ensuring an uninterrupted stream of up-to-the-minute information on Canada’s athletes and their performances, Team Canada generated an unprecedented 13,479 pieces of domestic media content and over 3 billion media impressions during the Games.
Additionally, the Communications Team managed the media accreditation process for Canadian media participants at PyeongChang 2018. In total, the COC facilitated accreditation to 55 journalists and photographers who provided national coverage of Team Canada. These accredited media contributed to the over 3 billion media impressions that were generated at Games. Of the 3 billion media impressions, 91% were in a positive tone. A major contributing factor to the positive tone was providing key messaging to stakeholders prior to and throughout the Games.
The launch of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s ambitious new ‘Be Olympic’ brand platform pushed the conversation around the COC to new heights. Earning nearly 45 million media impressions from 154 pieces of content, the campaign surpassed the media reach of the Rio 2016 “Ice in Our Veins” campaign by a staggering 69.8% and topped the previous high-water mark set by the Sochi 2014 #WEAREWINTER campaign by 16.9%.
The PyeongChang 2018 Team Canada Celebration in Ottawa brought another chance for Canadians to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Canadian athletes during the PyeongChang Games. Media as varied as MSN Canada and The Hill Times covered the two-day event, generating 318 stories and 55,278,371 media impressions.
Overview of 2018
With PyeongChang 2018 being a primary focus, Canada Olympic House was a marquee touchpoint for our partners. A total of 18 marketing and strategic partners contributed toward the success of the house. Highlights among the activations included: the Canadian Tire Red Door and Celebration Lounge; the Bell Family and Friends Lounge, Petro-Canada Fuelling The Dream café; and the Air Canada Flight Deck, which hosted the now-iconic The Arkells Live at COH performance.
The Partnerships Team also leveraged PyeongChang 2018 as an opportunity to connect with our partners. Hosted by Sochi 2014 Olympic champion Jennifer Jones, the COC welcomed 26 high-level executives from seven Premier National and National Partners at Games. This experience enabled our partners to experience the Olympic Games and see firsthand how their sponsorship dollars help to support Team Canada.
“Well thought out set of activities, great time to build relationships with other partners, good visibility to what our sponsorship dollars help enable.”
— COC Marketing Partner
Building on our 2017 successes, a major focus remained on partner programs and integration. Here is an overview of how our growing number of partnership programs excelled in 2018:
RBC Training Ground hosted 31 Qualifiers and six Regional Finals. The program partnered with 14 NSFs and the seven regions of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network to identify athletes into their Future Olympians Program. The program has identified over 600 high potential athletes and has provided over $1.3 million in funding since its inception.
Game Plan Day in Canada, powered by Deloitte was held for the first time, taking place across Canada in June 2018. The one-day event provided an opportunity for 60 athletes to experience skill-based training in an immersive office setting, supporting them in their transition out of sport.
Petro-Canada Fuelling Athlete & Coaching Excellence (FACE) Program continued to support the sport system, granting a total in excess of $0.5M in funding, impacting 55 athletes and their coaches.
HBC Bursary Program continued its commitment to support 50 athletes through direct-to-athlete funding for a combined total of $500,000 in 2018. Continued support of Canadian athletes through Hudson’s Bay Red Mittens generated over $1million for the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
Bell Athletes Connect Program in 2018 Bell helped over 1,300 Canadian Senior National Team athletes to stay in touch with their families cost-free while training and competing.