Special Olympics Australia
There are still widespread misconceptions and stereotypes about people with an intellectual disability. Along with a common belief that people with a disability are not able to make a significant contribution to the community – they are often denied opportunities to experience life, to explore their potential and achieve success, because it is assumed that their potential is limited. The Special Olympics Australia brand had the potential to break through common stereotypes and empower people.
Special Olympics are a global not-for-profit organisation whose central goal is to transform the lives of people with an intellectual disability through participative sport. Each week in Australia, dedicated volunteers provide quality sports training to almost 4000 athletes in over 250 sports clubs across the country. Those who participate in Special Olympics improve their fitness, develop greater self-confidence, and grow socially and spiritually.
Although Special Olympics Australia is intended to be positioned as a way to support people with an intellectual disability through sport, external perceptions are very different from ‘on the ground’ operations.
A majority of these misconceptions are as a result of the organisations name – the use of the word ‘Olympics’, while an overwhelmingly positive association, implies that it is solely an elite event occurring every four years. While the word ‘Special’ has many negative associations, which contribute to the segregation of people with an intellectual disability.
In order to create a brand which breaks through common stereotypes and empowers people with an intellectual disability, the brand promise of ‘Reach your personal best’ was developed. This positioning became a vital building block for the articulation and expression of the brand, allowing the individual and unique stories of Special Olympics Athletes to come to the forefront in order to further break down audience stereotypes.
A series of affirmation prompts were also developed to create a motivating language across communication items. They were created to increase brand awareness and encourage participation across all audiences – a way for everyone to express who they are and who they want to be.
Overall, the new positioning created an exceptionally strong platform, which all audiences could engage with. From their fund-rasing focus, to their volunteer network, to their corporate partners, ‘Reach your personal best’ provided motivation for all audiences to positively align themselves with Special Olympics Australia. After all, who wouldn’t want to reach their personal best?