If there’s one event that brings nearly the entire world together—sorry, Russia!—it's the Olympics. Held this year in Rio de Janeiro, the financial benefits of playing host are not lost on Brazil. This means that, much like the world's Olympic boxing teams, the International Olympic Committee came out swinging hard against unauthorized marketing associations known as “ambush marketing.” The marketing world is objecting to a particularly aggressive tone from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for perceived copyright infringement prior to this year's games, including "pre-game” cease-and-desist letters sent to large companies that may be tempted to co-opt Olympic popularity. Some industry pundits have gone so far as to call the IOC “ruthless” in its efforts to protect the “Olympics Brand.” Such ruthless tactics include banning the use of popular hashtags.
Branding, and particularly brand equity, often get a bad rap in companies, most especially in the marketing department. But they shouldn’t. They're one of the most powerful aspects of a business that can have a dramatic impact on a company’s bottom line. I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve worked for that made phenomenal products and were marketing those products well, but paid absolutely no attention to their brand or treated it as some icky thing that dinosaur marketers cared about before the advent of digital marketing.