3 Marketing Lessons From Tokyo 2020 Olympics

On your marks, get set… pause!

The onset of the novel coronavirus in December 2019 was a big blow to the 2020 sporting calendar. Nearly every sporting event, major and minor, was moved, canceled, or postponed. However, this year, we’ve been elated to welcome the rebirth of sports.

In the past few months, we have been thrilled and entertained with the WRC Safari Rally, UEFA Champions League, Euro 2020, NBA finals, Copa America, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the ongoing English Premier League, World Athletics U20 Championships, La Liga, Bundesliga just to mention a few. And there’re many more big sporting events in the pipeline for the remaining part of the year.

If you haven’t already, get your popcorn (or tissues) ready for some live action!

Embodying marketing lessons from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games

More often than not, we associate sports with fun and leisure but there is more to it than meets the eye.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant once said : ‘there is no greater metaphor for sports than life itself!’.

The situations players face in the game, on the field or track, have plenty in common with life’s situations: be it in parenting, relationships, leadership, financial fitness, and even business.

Marred by the pandemic and postponed for a year, with plenty of health precautions, strict social distancing rules, and limited attendance, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been phenomenal. Once the games kicked off, life lessons were seemingly dropped in our laps. These important life lessons learned through sports also directly translate into business growth and success.

1. Do not underestimate your competition

Lamont ‘Who?’!

Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs Jr. rose from anonymity into the Olympic spotlight by becoming the first Italian to ever qualify for and win the men’s 100 meters Olympic final. Now the fastest man in the world, he’s one of the astounding stories at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.  

No one had him on the radar going into the finals. Even his rivals! 

Speaking after the 100-meter sprint, bronze medalist Andre de Grasse said,  “It’s crazy when everyone runs so fast – 9.80 from the Italian guy, I didn’t expect that.  I thought my main competition would have been the Americans, but he definitely came to play.”

Fred Kerley, the silver medallist, also admitted that Jacobs was off his radar going into the final. “I really didn’t know anything about him … he did a fantastic job,” Kerley said

Never underestimate your competition; your fiercest competitor could be the one whose existence you simply don’t know of. Whether the competitive waters are calm or you’re currently sitting atop your industry,  do not forget that your competitors are lurking. So how do you actually get started with competitor research so as to get ahead of your competition? Here at Reactionpower, we conduct the best-in-class competitor research and analysis to position you as the number one voice of authority in your industry. We want to know your competitor’s inside and out to make sure you stay ahead of your game as a business leader. 


2. Embed wellbeing at the heart of your workplace culture

Simon Biles,  an American artistic gymnast, with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals and the most decorated gymnast in history, drew the whole world’s attention to the importance of mental health. Biles withdrew from the floor finals to focus on her health as she was dealing with a mental condition known in gymnastics circles as The Twisties. 

“At the end of the day, we’re not just athletes or entertainment,” Biles said. “We’re human, too, and we have real emotions, and sometimes people don’t realize that we have things going on behind the scenes that affect us whenever we go out and compete.”

The number of people experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety has surged amid the Covid pandemic. No one has been left unaffected by COVID-19 and this is why it’s more important than ever to be attuned to our mental health needs and make our mental wellbeing a priority. 

Your mental wellbeing is your greatest business asset. Click To Tweet

Businesses that invest in building and maintaining good mental wellbeing report higher productivity and sales, more creativity, and customer satisfaction. Importantly, the business becomes known as a good place to work making it easier to recruit and retain your top talent.

3.Turn adversity into opportunity

Sidhartha Babu refused to let a tragic motorcycle accident that left him paraplegic dampen his spirit. The self-taught and self-coached shooter from Kerala will represent India at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. He was a former martial arts teacher before he was involved in the accident in 2002. Despite the painful circumstances, he turned his childhood love for rifles into a passion for target shooting. With no coach or formal training, he managed to hone his skills using knowledge gained from books at the library.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, one time said: “Every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” Hard times present you with the chance to change course, reinvent yourself or find an undiscovered bridge that will get you over the hurdles. (Forbes) The coronavirus has led to unprecedented disruptions for businesses the world over and staying afloat requires new creative and innovative approaches.


Do you have any lessons you have learned from the Tokyo Olympic athletes that have helped you in your business?

Comment below.


Gladys is a marketing pro with years of experience in content marketing management. She enjoys strategic thinking to make sure all proposed marketing efforts are in line with company objectives and meet the desired success metrics. Her forte includes copywriting, art direction, and social media management. Specializing in brand activations and event promotion events, she approaches each campaign with an entrepreneurial mindset and a passion for growth. Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and trying out new recipes.

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