What We Can Learn About Influencer Marketing From The Winter Olympics

Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn have been capturing America’s attention (and marketing dollars) for years, but for the 2018 Olympic games in PyeongChang, companies are rolling the dice on underdogs. The value here lies in what these influencers can provide for your marketing campaign (for more info on influencer marketing, check out this article from the Targeted Persuasion blog). As the hype around influencer marketing grows, even small and mid-sized companies are jumping on board to capitalize on this low cost way of reaching customers through new channels. Check out these stars who have already made a splash at this year’s Winter Olympics.

  • Chloe Kim is a snowboarding sensation and her ability in the halfpipe is only matched by her social media savvy. Her gold medal winning performance, combined with her ability to generate buzz online, has made her a great asset to brands like Nike and Visa. Okay, we admit it. We cheated a little here by including Kim in a list of ‘underdogs.’ But at only 17 years old it’s safe to say Chloe is just getting started. And she’s already cashing in.
  • Red Gerard: This 5-foot-5 17-year-old became the first American to capture gold in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle. Brands like Red Bull and Protec are happy they signed this rising American athlete early.
  • Perrine Laffont: With only 15,600 Instagram followers before the games started, this 19-year-old Frenchwoman was not on many people’s radar, but after winning gold in the Women’s Moguls, her influencer marketing value will shoot up, if not her Instagram followers.
  • Mark McMorris: 11 months ago, this Canadian snowboarder was in a medically induced coma after a snowboarding accident, but on Sunday, he was standing on the podium with a bronze medal in Men’s Slopestyle. This type of comeback story is inspiring to all and creates a perfect influencer marketing storyline.

Even Alibaba, one of the largest companies in the world, is looking small with their “To the Greatness of the Small” Olympic campaign.

Alibaba sees the value of local connections that smaller-name athletes have in their respective countries.

However, if you’re running an advocacy group, political campaign, or small business, landing an underdog Olympic athlete may not be feasible or practical. That doesn’t mean you should turn your back on influencer marketing. In fact, you can still leverage the advantages of a local influencer by looking for activists, trendsetters, or personalities in your community. Take the Humane Society of Charlotte, for example, who enlisted the help of Panthers head coach Ron Rivera for their Safe Bet. Adopt a Pet marketing campaign.


Need help finding an influencer in your community? Try hiring a communications or public relations firm like Targeted Persuasion to give you a hand.