Olympic Heartache, Brands Under Pressure

With the close of the Olympics and all the excitement it brought, I can’t help but look back from at another time of my life when I was in competitive sports. As a former gymnast, I get butterflies in my stomach just watching the Olympic athletes march onto the gym floor on competition day. It takes me back to all the meets that I competed in and the numerous hours practicing routine after routine perfecting and improving my balance, coordination, flexibility, strength, and agility. Our coaches pushed us to do our best every time without mistakes. We were judged not only on our tricks, dance and skills, but also on the way we looked.

As I sat watching the women’s U.S. Olympic gymnastics team on TV, my heart broke for the sport. How could two former Olympians themselves criticize and further stomp out the dreams of one of the gymnasts?

Jordyn Wieber, a 17-year old gymnast whose dream was to compete in the Olympic all-around finals, failed to advance to the finals by a mere one tenth of a point. When the U.S. team marched off the floor at the end of the competition, Jordyn was in tears.  To add salt to her wound, rather than letting the girl whose dreams were just deflated walk to the locker room to compose herself, the security officials directed her to the media corral for interviews.

I understand as a marketing professional that watching someone else’s shattered dreams can make a great news story. It also becomes that replay moment in the media. But, everyone needs a moment when under that much pressure.

In marketing isn’t the same?  Pressure to ensure your brand is always at peak performance with your customers watching, observing, championing and critiquing every move. Sometimes brands stumble when trying to introduce a new logo, product packaging or entering new markets. As fellow marketers and professionals, rather than joining the chorus of critics, perhaps we can give our industry colleagues a moment to pause and learn.  We can benefit from their lessons learned, because after all, it could have very well been us.

Posted on August 20, 2012 in Ideas

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