HomeExclusiveExclusive: AOC’s Digital Focus During Olympics

Exclusive: AOC’s Digital Focus During Olympics

Exclusive: AOC’s Digital Focus During Olympics

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport as part of the ‘Brand Break’ series, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) digital and marketing manager, Will Jago, explained the organisation’s approach to digital engagement during the ongoing Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The AOC recently launched its official digital fan hub, powered by Komo Digital, as a destination for gamified fan experiences connecting fans to the Winter Olympics, following the similar digital platform delivered by Komo and the AOC for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Discussing the engagement the Australia public has with the Winter Olympics compared to the Summer Olympics, and some digital activations such as the TeamAUS Winter Olympic Fan Hub, Jago said the connection gained from the Winter Olympics to local Australian communities is crucial to the AOC.

“Coming into the Winter Games, it’s been really positive from an engagement perspective,” Jago told Ministry of Sport.

“The thing that differentiates it from the Summer Games is everyone sees Australia as very much a Summer Olympic nation, whereas in the Winter world, we don’t use the word underdogs, but we’re very much seen as underdogs outside of Australia.

“That always gives us a platform to play on, but while I say that, the Australian Winter Olympians and aspiring Olympians don’t want us to use the term underdogs.

“It’s really quite strong, powerful and inspiring really, they’re there on their own merit, they might be a small team with 43 athletes compared to around 400 typically in the Summer Games, but as we’ve seen in these Games, the Australian athletes go toe-to-toe with the best in the world and that’s how they want to be seen as being very competitive.

“The Australian public really do get behind that, there’s never going to be the pre-Games engagement you get going into the Summer Games, but people become more and more engaged and interested in it and we see a huge amount of discovery going around with winter sports.

“People find themselves watching curling then become armchair experts in a really positive way and start to understand the technical terms.

“We see that throughout all the different sports, from the extreme snowboard and freestyle skiing sports, we all start adopting some of the lingo the cool guys are using.

“From a community perspective, what we’ve been trying to do through the Winter Games is build that connection.

“We do a lot of work in schools, where there’s things like setting educator resources to try get the kids inspire in the Olympic Movement.

“We launched two fan focused campaigns, one very simple around sending good luck messages trying to build that connection between the fans and the athletes, which we know the athletes love and gives them something to share across their channels on social media.

“The second one is getting the general public replicating winter sports and having a lot of fun with that.

“The Komo platform with our TeamAUS Fan Hub has been a really central point to what it is we’re doing; it consolidates a lot of that fan engagement and fan focused content in one place.

“There’s that social element to it, but also the opportunity to quickly spin-up daily competitions provide the different dimension to what the mainstream media provide,” he said.

When asked about the value that exists for AOC sponsors in engaging with the digital activations, Jago said: “From one side, it totally depends on what the brand’s objective is to begin with.”

“During Tokyo 2020, we had a community initiative around Olympics Live, live sites around Australia.

“When COVID took over even more, a lot of those live sites shut down and the Team AUS Fan Hub gave us that opportunity to align it with brands who were heavily invested into the Olympics Live program.

“Westpac is a great example where we were able to tweak it slightly so where Westpac were going to be the Olympics Live partner, they became the Team AUS Fan Hub partner, and it gave us the opportunity to align with their objectives and make sure they were front and centre from a fans perspective.

“It also gives us an opportunity to purpose some of the user-generated content.

“When there is so much content out there during Games time, it gives us that place to consolidate that content, which delivers value for brands.

“For example, our uniform partner, Asics, were very heavily focused on the grassroots participation space, so that aligned with our campaigns and meant all the content out there in social with kids having a go at Olympic sports in their backyard or at the grassroots level, we could gamify it and have people engaging in a more centralised way to build around the objectives,” he said.

Looking toward the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games and the opportunity for digital activations, Jago suggested sporting organisations and brands focus on the community connection, with athlete storytelling identified as a key strategy for deeper connection.

“It’s really about trying to support our partners, national federations, and Olympians wherever we possibly can,” Jago said.

“A big campaign in that respect is our ‘Have A Go’ campaign, where we encourage kids to try sports at the grassroots level.

“They may become the next Olympian, or they may build an incredible friendship group, and it will certainly have huge health benefits as well.

“It’s about driving home that message that today is the day to have a go, because in 10 years’ time, Brisbane 2032 will be here and the kids who are 10 or 11 today will be 20-21 and will be the Olympians of those Games…

“Working with athletes to tell those incredibly rich stories is really important so you are reinforcing the message of what it is to be an Olympian.

“We are always hearing stories of Olympians, and Damien Schumann, the volleyball athlete of Tokyo 2020 is a great example.

“He goes into schools and year 7 classrooms and says when he was their age, he didn’t even make the volleyball team at his school in his class, so he wasn’t one of the best 15 volleyball players in his year at his school.

“Fast forward 15 years or so and he is one of two male Australian Olympians competing in volleyball and that is an incredibly powerful story which every single sport would have access to and could collect that story and feed it out into their pathway programs.

“The stories you hear over and over again are that there are going to be some barriers and rocky roads on the way, but it’s that resilience which comes through in athletes who make it to the Olympic Games…

“When we can capture Olympians and tell their stories to the next generation, they are incredibly powerful and can be applied to the sports world, the schooling world, or the business world,” Jago told Ministry of Sport.

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