As the year winds down, perhaps we can recount some of the topics discussed through the course of the year and relate them to the year’s biggest event, the London Olympics 2012.

Let’s start by asking what it is that has made the Olympic Games such a momentous event; an occasion recognised the world over; and why the Olympic movement is such a powerful organisation?  During the year we have discussed topics such as Power, Purpose, Stability, Good Balance and Brand Values amongst others.  Whilst each of the themes discussed related to creating an effective golf swing, each of these subjects could equally relate to the Olympic Games.  This merely emphasizes the fact that success in any walk of life shares common denominators.

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”  The motto was proposed by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, when the International Olympic Committee was formed in 1894.  Coubertin said “These three words represent a programme of moral beauty. The aesthetics of sport are intangible.”  Despite having been created in 1894, the motto was only officially introduced in 1924 at the Paris Olympics. Individuals and companies create brand promises and brand values and the lesson that we can learn from the Olympics is to remain loyal to the original ideals of the brand.

104 Years after the first London Olympics this city celebrated a return of the Olympics and they truly were a momentous occasion.  The amount of goodwill and the positive energy generated by the Olympics was amazing.  About 250,000 people applied to be volunteers at either the Olympics or the Paralympics.  The Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Games themselves generated amazing emotions and emotional bonds, as did watching some of the superstars on show, including the stupendous Usain Bolt and one of South Africa’s world renowned stars, Oscar Pistorius.

Here are some interesting facts that emphasize the power of the Olympics and their amazing emotional connection!

  • There were 150 million tweets posted about the Olympics
  • 80,000 tweets per minute about Usain Bolt’s 200m victory
  • 9.66 million mentions of the Opening Ceremony in a single day
  • 461 million visits on the London Olympic and Paralympics website

These figures emphasize the influence of the importance of digital communication in the world today.  Think back to our article on brand values and the negative impact of personal indiscretions on the Tiger Woods brand amongst others.

What is it that has given the Olympics such power and stability?  Early in the modern Olympic dream (in 1912) the five Olympic rings were created, symbolising the five parts of the world involved in the Olympics.  They first appeared at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

As is the case with many great brands, the logo has never been tampered with.  Perhaps the same can be said of the fundamentals of having an effective golf swing.  One wonders why some of the world’s best players tamper with their swings after reaching the highest echelons of the sport.  Many of them then regress.  There are occasions when one wonders why there is a need to change – after all, what got them there in the first instance?  They would have received years of coaching and achieved success with the fundamentals that they were taught, yet they choose to change things, often at a critical phase of their careers and often to their detriment.

The colours that make up the Olympic rings are of interest.  According to Baron Pierre de Coubertin the rings, coloured blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white background represent the colours of all the national flags that competed in the Olympic Games at that time. In the August, 1912 edition of Olympique, de Coubertin said:

“…the six colours

[including the flag’s white background] thus combined reproduce the colours of all the nations, with no exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colours of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China. Here is truly an international symbol.”

South Africa first sent a team to the 1904 Olympic Games held in St Louis (USA) and 4 years later Reggie Walker famously won gold in the 100m at the 1908 London Olympics.  Perhaps in 1912 South Africa’s flag colours of the time were covered by their colonial masters, Great Britain?

The concept of interlaced rings was originally the idea of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, for whom the rings symbolized continuity and the human being.

Medals

What about another aspect that makes up the Olympic Games, the Olympic medals won by the first 3 finishers in each event?  From 1928 until 2000, the face of all medals contained an image of Nike, the traditional Goddess of Victory, holding a palm in her left hand and a winner’s crown in her right.  For each Olympic Games, the reverse side as well as the labels for each Olympiad changed, reflecting the host of the games.

In 2004, the obverse side of the medals changed to make more explicit reference to the Greek character of the games.  In the new design, the goddess Nike flies into the Panathenic stadium, reflecting the renewal of the games.  Relate this to the successful launch of a brand and the formula that helped to gain that success.  One shouldn’t tamper with a winning and respected formula unless there is absolutely no doubt that a new formula will definitely bring improved results without impacting the stability of the brand.

Values

Of course, the Olympic movement is a massive brand with huge amounts of money at its disposal.  The fact is that when the Olympics were created they were simply an ideal with no money.  Their success over the past 116 years proves just how valuable a powerful idea can be.  Occasionally one will be impacted by something that is visually dynamic yet at the same time it can be instantly forgettable.  This again emphasizes the need to engage emotionally with one’s audience.

Oscar Pistorius didn’t win his event at the Olympics and he never won all of his races at the Paralympics, yet he was one of the heroes of the Olympics.  His brand value increased, despite losing.  He has good balance in his life and in the way that he manages his existence.  The audience form part of the Oscar Pistorius experience.  His focus is not on his challenges but rather on his purpose.  He offers something that is unique and compelling for people to watch and follow.

This makes one think of a more informal but equally well known motto, also introduced by De Coubertin.  “The most important thing is not to win but to take part!”  De Coubertin got this motto from a sermon by the Bishop of Pennsylvania during the 1908 London Games.

KeNako’s students will end 2012 having learnt many lessons and having improved their lives in many ways.  Their golf games will definitely be better.  Now they have to learn how to grasp the opportunities that have been presented to them.  If they maintain their purpose, live a balanced, stable and healthy life, their power will grow and they will achieve ultimate success.  It is KeNako’s dream to allow each and every student to go Faster, Higher and to be Stronger!

By Ron Boon
Chairman