LA2024: A lesson in branding authenticity

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This article originally appeared on MediaPost.

Predicting the future is no simple task. Knowing what’s popular next week is difficult enough, let alone a decade from now. But for cities bidding to host the Olympic games, it’s exactly what they have to do.

For brands looking to the future, two things always hold true. First, change is constant. The way people feel, how they act, where they assign their loyalty never stands still. Second, authenticity is key. The most successful brands consistently commit to their beliefs, their capabilities and the value they deliver. It’s how they make themselves relevant, constantly adapting to (and often influencing) an ever-changing world that makes them successful.

For Olympic bidders these are the only guides. The current bid, Summer Games 2024, has a slew of famous candidates but there’s a shining example of branding authenticity from an unlikely place. It’s a city known for its ability to “fake it ’til you make it”—Los Angeles.

As the U.S. representative, LA2024 is a refreshing brand in a dated world.

With a fresh look and a bold story, it relies on experience and positivity to make the case for Los Angeles. As it launched earlier this month, it’s easy to argue the strengths and weaknesses (there are many!), but one thing is indisputable—the brand is credibly and believably true to the City of Angels and the people who live here.

A powerful story from a city of storytellers. The brand isn’t just about L.A. the place, but the opportunities it offers and what people can achieve. Like a great film, it brings people in and connects to emotions. It gives people hope, highlighting the place where dreams actually do come true.

Diverse and inclusive experiences. Angelenos know that a good crowd makes for a good show, and right from the start, the brand casts a wide net, focusing beyond athletes to highlight how the games bring excitement and positive impact to local, national and international communities, just like the city itself.

A plan to profit. L.A. has a proven record of running an economically successful Games (see: LA1984). And the plan to use over 95% of existing venues puts a smart “more with less” approach on the table. In a time where the typical games run huge deficits, where better to buck the trend than a city that’s done it before.

Signature confidence. LA2024 isn’t yesterday’s Games, it’s an audacious new vision for the future. Any time the “re-words” (reinvent, reimagine, rethink, etc.) make an appearance, there’s a risk of sounding boastful. Convincing the IOC a “new Games” is needed requires them to admit the current state is broken, not something everyone does lightly. But then again, a sense of overconfidence is a famous trademark for the Hollywood bigwigs, politicians and people that call L.A. home.

For better or worse, the brand is unapologetically and distinctly Los Angeles. Even the tagline, “Follow the Sun,” which encourages people to aim high and follow their dreams, feels like manufactured L.A. But then again, it is a realistic proposition.

Nobody knows what the future holds, and only time will tell if the LA2024 brand is successful. But if the games do take place stateside, you can guarantee they’ll be sunny, welcoming and full of optimism.

Also known as, a typical day in L.A.

Nick Miller is a senior strategist with Siegel+Gale. Follow him on Twitter: @nicknackmiller

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