Once again, the Olympic Games were a huge media event, with innumerable articles, posts and social shares saturating outlets worldwide. But even more than all the stats, updates and tabulations, most of the more memorable coverage was a bountiful smorgasbord of images.

And for good reason—images tell the story of the Olympics better than any number of words could do. And that’s not only because sports is such a visual phenomenon, it’s right in line with new cultural trends showing us that imagery resonates more with today’s media consumer, who has less time to spend reading news, has a shorter attention span and whose eye is naturally drawn more to photos, video and other graphics.

Although that trend is rather new, brands have long had this awareness of the power of imagery

Olympics coverage proves brands must monitor images, not just text

Surely Fischer and Uvex would like to be aware of all the visual mentions they got in images like this one. (Image source: Reuters)

Advertisers realized long ago that the cumulative effect of consistently flashing a brand’s logo or other imagery to TV and magazine audiences was as powerful as any messaging that marketers could concoct.

Seeing Charmin commercials on the reg, for example, builds brand familiarity, which in turn breeds a certain intangible type of comfort that consumers tend to remember when they’re shopping—even if they don’t recall (or even care about) the exact number of cotton fibers per square inch or other more tangible selling points.

The point is, images have a more powerful resonance then text

The brands who sponsor and showcase their logos on Olympian clothing and equipment clearly know this. And so do Olympics organizers, who command a pretty price for these sponsorships. But that doesn’t mean brands are keeping track of all the places the images they are featured in are appearing, and in what context.

Olympics coverage proves brands must monitor images, not just text

Photo of Shaun White’s epic snowboard run, showing the Burton brand logo.

In this case, there are plenty of reasons why these images appear online and elsewhere without any textual reference to the brands associated—namely that a bylaw in the Olympic Charter strictly forbids references to Olympic competition solely to sponsors that have paid for it. For example, athletes cannot post about their personal brand sponsors or mention any branded products (although they can appear in generic ads for those brands without mentioning the Olympics).

So when it comes time for a brand to measure and evaluate its Olympics sponsorship investment, many of those posted images are going to slip through the cracks of their media monitoring efforts—unless their monitoring firm is scouring media for imagery in addition to text. Not long ago, this was a virtually impossible task, but thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, brands can now get the “full picture“ when tabulating their media mentions.

Welcome to the new world of media consumption, where the images your brand appears in are just as important to your PR and marketing efforts—if not more so—as the text mentions you track so vigorously. It’s time to work this aspect of media monitoring into your efforts.

So where can you find this image monitoring of which we speak? Agility PR Solutions recently launched a sophisticated, AI-powered image monitoring service that can do all the things we talked about above, and more. Find out how to get the full picture of your media coverage.

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Bulldog Reporter

Bulldog Reporter is a leader in media intelligence supplying news, analysis and high-level training content to public relations and corporate communications professionals with the mission of helping these practitioners achieve superior competitive performance.

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