02/24/2014 10:02 am ET Updated Apr 26, 2014

What Brands Can Learn From the Olympics

Olympic success is not limited to the slopes in Sochi.

The 2014 Winter Olympics give business leaders the opportunity to engage with consumers on an emotional level, and with the stronger connection, brands can drive sales and brand value.

The Olympics are one of the top global sporting events, providing a particularly unique platform for a brand to develop an emotional, memorable connection with its consumers. The games not only run for two weeks, but also reach millions of viewers around the world through a multitude of channels, including social media.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has seized the moment with specially-developed advertising during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The "Thank You, Mom" campaign links the emotion of the games directly to using a positive message to sell P&G products and exponentially elevate the connection between deep family relationships, innocent beginnings and a winning strategy for growth with the brand. It has been a winning formula for P&G, and they have taken the same approach in previous Olympics.

Of course, you need a quality product or service for the powerful and memorable messaging to support in the first place. Within the P&G portfolio, Pampers sets a high standard. Pampers naturally play an important role in the early stages of our children's lives, and the company's efforts to include insights on love, protection and caring in its brand messaging hit an emotional note across its audience, regardless of national origin or culture. This is what makes the brand so competitive and successful -- it speaks a language that customers can relate to.

Team USA hockey player T.J. Oshie gained popularity during his shootout victory over Russia, which helped him gain more than 130,000 new Twitter followers and a mention from President Obama. From there, Oshie's social media posts on and off the ice, such as those about his fiancée, helped him form an emotional connection with his new, diverse fan base, keeping him relevant. This is something brands should learn from as well.

Brands, like Oshie, can leverage the global passion for the games to talk to, and relate with, consumers. And, even without the big advertising budgets of global sponsors like P&G and Coca-Cola, they can leverage the spirit of achievement and pride behind the Olympic Games to develop their own messaging.

At Maaco, while we may not have an Olympic-size advertising budget, we often look for partnership or sponsorship opportunities that provide high return on investment. We look for opportunities that are not only memorable, but also actionable in terms of promotional value and reward for our consumers, franchisees and partners. We also have loyal consumers who advocate for our service, brand and quality craftsmanship and we create innovative campaigns to connect with consumers.

Brands should drive messaging around timely and topical opportunities -- like the Olympics -- that provide gold-medal opportunities to connect with consumers and keep their brands relevant.