By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director
In 1988, four men from Jamaica made history when they entered the bobsleigh race during the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Jamaica—a country whose tropical climate keeps it warm year-round—had never competed in the Winter Games before. But after seeing a local pushcart derby, two American businessmen living in Jamaica proposed forming a bobsleigh team—and earned the support of the country’s Olympic Association.
Now, a Jamaican bobsleigh team is sure to attract attention no matter what. But when the U.S. ice hockey team was eliminated, American media stations needed to fill airtime—and chose to focus instead on the Jamaican bobsleigh team’s four-man event, leading even more people to learn of this unlikely team.
Jamaica’s appearance at the 1988 Winter Olympics inspired the 1993 movie Cool Runnings, which was a box office success and grossed $154.9 million worldwide.
Now, 34 years later, people still know about the Jamaican bobsleigh team that made history—despite not even placing in the top 10. Why? It’s an amazing story.
When we watch the Olympics from our living rooms, it can be hard to connect with the athletes. After all, not many of us can do backflips on a snowboard or a triple axel on the ice rink. But we may be better relate to the snowboarder who battles depression, the women’s bobsleigh world champion who is raising a child with Down syndrome, or the teenage skier who was adopted—and after we read or hear their stories, we’ll remember their names and root for them from our living room couch.
Author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
When we hear Olympians’ stories, they become real people who face challenges, setbacks, disappointments and triumphs. We hear their stories and we learn their “why.”
So what does any of this have to do with marketing?
As marketers, we’re all constantly seeking out ways to connect with our audience. Storytelling should be a priority for marketers because it forms a human connection and elicits a response. Storytelling is a powerful tool for transmitting knowledge and information, and, when done correctly, it differentiates you from your competitors and makes you memorable to your customers.
As you settle in to watch the 2022 Winter Olympics, take a second to think about how you can tell your organization’s story—and give us a call for help.
Image: Getty Images
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