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Cisco Networking Academy Inspiring a Future Generation

There is a lot of talk about the Olympic legacy for London 2012, yet in some parts of the media in particular there seems to remain some cynicism. But over the past few weeks and months I have witnessed the genuine efforts being made by Cisco to building a brilliant future after the Games.

For example former Olympic silver medallist Roger Black and Cisco ambassador has spent the last week touring around several schools in the east end of London to highlight the Cisco Network Academy programme and inspire kids to look at Science Technology Engineering and Math subjects at school. Read More »

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London 2012 – Leaving a Lasting Legacy for Science and Math

On Monday morning, I was at Claremont High School, in Harrow, London, watching as one of the architects responsible for building the Olympic stadium kept a class of 13 year olds enthralled about the design and engineering challenges involved.

Jo Smith from the firm Buro Happold was taking a lesson from Cisco’s  Out of the Blocks StemNet programme bringing real world examples of how lessons about chemical structure; mathematics and physics were all very much challenges the stadium designers and builders has to overcome when designing the stadium and other venues for this summer’s Olympics.

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Bringing the Olympics to life

When one is fortunate enough to work on as exciting and mammoth a project as the London 2012 Games, it is easy to forget that while it might take over your life, for others it’s a distant and somewhat unattainable dream.

Certainly LOCOG are working hard to try and expand the reach of the Games beyond London and make sure other parts of the country benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity the Games coming to the UK brings. The torch relay alone will ensure that 95% of the UK population will be within a one-hour journey of the Olympic Flame, and that will certainly help.

But just this week the impact we, as Olympic and Paralympic Partners can have on people’s experiences and perception of the Games, was brought very much to life via feedback we had from our partner Pearson -- who are working with Cisco on the Out of the Blocks StemNet programme. This programme was launched in January, using London 2012 as a catalyst to encourage children aged 11-14 to get excited about learning maths and science. So far over 4,000 UK secondary schools have received a set of free Key Stage 4 activity books.

Our colleague visiting a remote school in Lincolnshire was delighted to see the teachers using the Out of the Blocks books and how the children were excited not only about science and maths, but also for the Games themselves. As one teacher said:  “We’re in an out-of-the-way area.  The children have never seen a major event, and there aren’t any children in my class going to the Olympics – this Series brings it to life for them.”

Another said: “Endlessly kids say, ‘when am I ever going to use this Maths in my life?’  Well, this book shows you where and how…  The diving lesson sticks in my mind.  The kids are intrigued by the formulas – it makes them think how they’re useful in real life.”

Nice – now we have a chance of a lasting legacy!

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The Right ‘Rights’ – Lessons from the Cisco London 2012 Olympics Sponsorship

Correctly conceived and creatively executed sponsorship is a powerful marketing tool.  Why else would the Fortune 500, along with millions of other businesses big and small, invest precious marketing dollars in the discipline?  As mentioned in my previous blog post, the first step in successful sponsorship is having clear objectives, whether those are aimed at brand building, commercial gain or stakeholder engagement.  Clearly articulated SMART objectives are a pre-requisite for achieving the second most important aspect of successful sponsorship – securing the right ‘rights’. Read More »

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Sponsorship – Past Its ‘Sell By’ Date?

In the good old days last century, global sponsorship was the preserve of a select number of companies.  Only a handful of sponsorship properties could be considered to have global reach (The Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Formula One Racing).  A similarly small number of brands were big enough to pay the premium for gaining mass market brand exposure at a fraction of the cost of a global advertising campaign.

But technology has changed all that.  Exponential growth in computing power, the internet and mobile has created a new environment.  Brands are now able to reach customers with individual conversations pretty much anywhere in the world.

So why is it that brands continue to invest sometimes seemingly ridiculous sums in sponsorship platforms?  The Rugby World Cup is currently enjoying the patronage of Mastercard, Heineken and DHL, amongst others, even though it is being hosted in a time zone that makes for late nights or early starts for the majority of rugby playing nations. 

Next summer sees the ultimate sponsorfest in London with the Olympic and Paralympic Games  coming to town.  The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) recently announced it had achieved revenues of over £700m ( that’s over 1 billion US Dollars) from its domestic sponsor programme. At a quoted £40-80 million for a Tier 1 sponsor, and something in the region of £15-25m for a Tier 2, which must then be at least doubled cover sponsorship activation, what is motivating brands to make these sorts of investments when more direct, cheaper conversations are possible?

The answer lies in objectives.  Read More »

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