What comms lessons can we learn from the Olympics?
Try as I might to find another blog topic this week, ignoring the Olympics seems pointless. So here’s a few thoughts on what we all as comms professionals have potentially learned over the last couple of weeks – aside, of course, from the rules of handball and that you can’t get away from Paul McCartney.
1. Expectation management works, as this Time Out cartoon brilliantly sums up http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2012/08/02/olympic-travel-woes-expectations-vs-reality. Telling us repeatedly that London was going to be a transport disaster zone has left us all pleasantly surprised that we can still get from A to B. Nice one, TfL.
2. So does media training. Medal winners have been professional, articulate and on message. I’ve lost count of the numbers of references to the importance of funding and messages of thanks to supporters I’ve heard in the last two weeks. Given a platform, the various sports funding bodies have made great use of it.
3. Spending huge amounts of money to be an event sponsor needs a bit of creativity, but again, some brands will defy many people’s pessimistic expectations of large-scale sponsorship. BA, BT, Coke, P&G, McDonald, Cadbury – all have done some great work at times, and all (in my humble opinion) should gain from association with such a successful games.
4. There’s still room to be cheap, cheerful and creative though. The Post Office painting post boxes gold is genius – costs about £20 and has been EVERYWHERE.
5. This has been the Social Media Games in more ways than one. This great HuffPo piece (based around Wildfire research) shows the impact that medal winning has on an athlete’s social media presence – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/03/london-2012-team-gb-athletes_n_1736516.html – you like someone, you find and follow them. In contrast, unwise use of social media has cost some athletes the chance to compete or got them sent home early, for criticizing other countries/ being racist or, in this case, posing like idiots with guns http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/olympics/article-2156796/London-2012-Olympics-Nick-DArcy-Kenrick-Monk-sent-home-early.html .
6. That said, it’s also been a Games that newspapers and websites still love a good picture – print and online media alike have run riot with creative visual images. Try The Guardian’s online gallery if you want to bring a few memories flooding back http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/olympics-2012+content/gallery !