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Olympic Shackles: Be Careful About Social Media Posts

Olympics Social Media


I found myself wildly shouting at my television the other night cheering on Lilly King, the West Side Evansville native and Olympic newcomer, as she neared the end of her race.

She, of course, took the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke competition.

But I couldn’t post any congratulations on any of the Calibre Computer Solutions’ social media channels – unless I wanted the strong arm of the International Olympic Committee’s legal team threatening me.

Millions of people watch the Olympics.  It’s a hot topic of discussion almost everywhere you go.

Businesses naturally want to tie into Olympic fever.  But all companies, even small town shops, have to be extremely careful about how and what they communicate.

The United States Olympic Committee warns: “Do not create social media posts that are Olympic themed, that feature Olympic trademarks, that contain Games imagery or congratulate Olympic performance unless you are an official sponsor as specified in the Social Media Section.”

Violations will most likely get you a letter demanding you remove such content.  Failure to do so could result in costly legal action against your business.

Adweek Magazine recently published a summary of forbidden activity by businesses during the Olympics:

  1. Businesses can’t use any of the Olympics’ trademarked words or phrases.These terms include:
  • Olympic
  • Olympian
  • Team USA
  • Future Olympian
  • Gateway to gold
  • Go for the gold
  • Let the games begin
  • Paralympic
  • Pan Am Games
  • Olympiad
  • Paralympiad
  • Pan-American
  1. You can’t use terms that reference the location of the Olympics, such as:
  • Road to Rio
  • Road to Pyeongchang
  • Road to Tokyo
  • Rio 2016
  • Pyeongchang 2018
  • Tokyo 2020
  1. You must not use words that incorporate the word “Olympic,” such as Mathlympics, Aqualympics, Chicagolympics, Radiolympics, etc.
  2. You can’t use hashtags that include Olympics trademarks such as #TeamUSA or #Rio2016.
  3. You cannot use any official Olympics logos.
  4. You cannot post any photos taken at the Olympics.
  5. You can’t feature Olympic athletes in your social posts.
  6. You can’t even wish them luck.
  7. Don’t post any Olympics results.
  8. You can’t share anything from official Olympics social media accounts. Even retweets are prohibited.
  9. No creating your own version of Olympic symbols, “whether made from your own logo, triangles, hexagons, soda bottle tops, onion rings, car tires, drink coasters, basketballs, etc.”
  10. “Do not host an Olympic- or Paralympic-themed contest or team-building event for employees.”


Some businesses, like Seattle-based Brooks Running Company, who sponsors a dozen Olympic athletes, find ways to creatively challenge the IOC’s rules. 

In July at the Olympic track and field trials in Oregon, Brooks hired trucks to drive around with generic messages that read “Good luck, you know who you are, on making it you know where.”

So how can your business join in on the popularity of the Olympics?

Experts advise, “Very carefully.”  Think creatively and outside the box.

What do you think of the IOC’s stringent rules?  Send me an email at

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“I’m Not Just Buying A Computer,” He Said. So What Was He Buying?

Business Relationships

I don’t know Greg.  But Greg knows me, even though we’d never met.  He’s read this column for the past several years, sharing in my personal stories and technology insights.

He urgently reached out for help when Windows 10 unexpectedly took over his work computer Memorial Day weekend.  Although I was on vacation in Chicago, I called him, provided brief assistance, and told him I would have my technicians reach out to him first thing on Tuesday.

My technicians followed up as promised and quickly reverted his laptop back to Windows 7 so he could resume work.

When Greg recently purchased a new business and needed an office computer, the former owner told him to just go to one of the big box stores and pick up a computer.

Instead of following that advice, he told the former owner, “I’m not just buying a computer; I’m buying a relationship.” 

Then he promptly called me to discuss his needs and order the right PC to fulfill those requirements.

Greg understands that in life there are certain areas in which the relationship you have with a vendor is significantly more important than the product or service itself.

It’s probably also the reason the director of a local non-profit organization sought my counsel about some email issues they were experiencing and to provide feedback about suggestions they had received from their web designer and their current IT provider.

I gave him my honest opinion – go with your IT provider’s recommendation.  I provided him some insight into potential problems they could experience with that recommended solution and suggested a way to proceed without being locked into a horrible experience.

I could have suggested that our email service was his only best option, but I knew that for his particular situation, what our friendly competitor offered would fit their needs.  And there was no compelling reason for him to switch right now.

The director previously reached out for my input about whether or not he should upgrade his computers to Windows 10.  (My reply:  Absolutely NOT!  Discover why in my free report at

Building relationships on trust, courtesy, and common sense is what I strive for each and every day with every client – home user or business user alike.  Not just ringing up a transaction.

I work to get to know my clients.  What they like, their hobbies, their families, and more.

Relationships transcend any business transaction.  Having a great business relationship with your doctor, dentist, auto mechanic, realtor, financial advisor, insurance agent, and computer technician are among some of the most important ones you can develop.

The Cheers theme song sums it up perfectly:

Making your way in the world today

Takes everything you’ve got.

Taking a break from all your worries

Sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,

And they’re always glad you came.

How are your relationships with various business professionals?  Is it time go where they know your name and they’re always glad you came?