"While we were disappointed it won't take place this summer, we certainly had put in a lot of preparation and planning," Holm said. "The Olympics ... is such a great event. We're sad it's not going to happen this summer, but we're looking forward to 2021, and we were excited by the fact the IOC was able to postpone the Games and (find) a new date in our home city of Tokyo."
The postponement certainly had ramifications for Holm's customer engagement team. She said Bridgestone had planned an aggressive digital and social campaign to highlight the Bridgestone brand as well as its Team Bridgestone USA stable of Olympians.
"We had in-store activations with our customers," she said. "Much of that can be successfully postponed for a year. We are just currently evaluating scenarios now as we try to stay abreast of where the consumer sentiment is, and how we can appropriately activate next summer."
The Team Bridgestone USA group is a key component of Bridgestone's Olympic and Paralympic marketing focus.
Before each Olympics and Paralympics, Bridgestone identifies a broad base of athletes who embody the Olympic experience. Then, company officials narrow the group down, using multiple criteria to select a handful of athletes who not only have a strong story to tell, but also match the tire maker's brand positioning message of "clutch performance when it matters most."
"We certainly want to support these athletes whether or not they medal or make the Games," Holm said. "But we do try to find athletes who we think have a strong chance of success for the Games, and in some cases, athletes with a proven history of success."
The most famous Bridgestone Team USA member, perhaps, is Allyson Felix, the only female track and field athlete to win six Olympic gold medals. Felix is tied with Merlene Ottey as the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history, with nine Olympic medals.
"She's a great ambassador of the Bridgestone brand," Holm said.
Along with Felix, this year's group includes: Scout Bassett (Para-track and field); Jordan Burroughs (wrestling); Missy Franklin (swimming); Will Groulx (Para-cycling); Jessica Long (Para-swimming); and Ryan Murphy (swimming). They have a combined 48 Olympic and Paralympic medals. Franklin, a five-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, is the lone retired athlete.