As the Olympics nears, the number of related new surveys is mounting. A recent example is a study commissioned by Interbrand looking at consumer opinion of the ‘fit’ of sponsor brands with the Olympic values.

The report has come in for some flak after concluding, a little obviously, that consumers think adidas a better fit than McDonald’s. Yet, it is still an interesting and legitimate question to explore. Indeed, in a social media context, it may be the key question to ask of any sponsorship proposition, touching as it does on the whole issue of authenticity. Does a ‘good fit’ mean a good social media performance is easier?

Compare, for example, each sponsor brand’s ‘fitness’ score according to Interbrand with the PRINT Index score of social media effectiveness on Sociagility’s London 2012 Social Scoreboard. The first point to note is that there is no significant correlation – positive or negative – between good social media performance and relevancy to the Games in the minds of consumers.
This is unsurprising really, when you consider that some sponsors are going to be trying harder than others to use social media to demonstrate how and why they are participating. As previously reported, some are simply proving more skilful than others.
Plotting this ‘fit’ and the sponsors’ social media ‘performance’ against each other reveals some interesting insights.
Adidas ranks highly on the Interbrand scale perfectly matched as it is to Olympic values. Why, though, is its social media score so low? Is the brand still holding back, saving itself for a late run, or is social media simply not seen as relevant for its sponsorship activation?
P&G, by contrast, with deeply average ‘fit’, puts in a stellar social media performance, based on a long-running strategy. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola, which (despite a less than intuitive connection with sports performance) is seen to have a good ‘fit’ on the Interbrand axis but still seems to be struggling to keep up on the social media scale.
British Airways is seen as having a good ‘fit’ with the Games amongst British consumers, and the airline also scores well in terms of social media effectiveness. Visa too, seems to be making some running. But looking at both brand ‘fitness’ and social media ‘performance’, one has to wonder why ATOS, Dow and GE are even in the game.
So what can brands take from this data? First, for those where the fit is seen to be weak, an effective use of social media to tell their stories may help change those perceptions. And for those where the fit is seen to be strong, it’s a case of use their social media presence to drive content, conversation and community.
Which brings us back to McDonald’s. It’s obvious why they want to be associated with sport at a global level, but you would have to conclude that making this connection work positively still requires significant work – capturing both hearts and minds and tweets and likes – if it is to fully leverage its expensive sponsorship. On the evidence of this Interbrand data and Sociagility’s performance tracking, it’s just not happening.
The London 2012 Social Scoreboard tracks all the main London 2012 Olympics sponsors’ social media performance on a daily basis. See for information about how the scores have been calculated.