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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 Olympics as a B2B Marketing Proposition

The essence of sponsorship is the right of association, as enshrined in the International Chamber of Commerce’s definition:

‘Any communication by which a sponsor, for the mutual benefit of sponsor and sponsored party, contractually provides financing or other support in order to establish a positive association between the sponsor’s image, brands, products or services and a sponsored event, activity, organization or individual.’

The difference between the Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sporting events is that they are the only property that offers sponsors virtually nothing but the right of association.  Unlike other platforms, which will build in assets and benefits to their sponsorship package like perimeter board branding or event tickets, the only direct benefit you get from investing in a Games sponsorship is the right to use certain logos and marks.  Even then, these must be approved on a case by case basis. Everything else, including hospitality tickets, comes at an incremental price.

So Games sponsors cannot rely on a nice big advertising value equivalent from broadcast brand visibility to justify the fee internally.  They are forced to be much more disciplined in their assessment of how a Games sponsorship will create an acceptable return on investment. These sponsors must focus on who their target audience/s are, why partnering with the Games is relevant to them, how they are going to communicate those messages effectively and what is the desired behavioural outcome.

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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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The role of digital media to the success of London 2012

November 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm PST

Many consider Beijing 2008 as the first digital Olympics; I agree as it was the first Olympics after the launch of YouTube, Facebook and the iPhone.  At a time Beijing was the most-watched Games in history, thanks to YouTube which generated 16.5 million views through IOC’s digital channel (International Olympic Committee).

In the past 4 years digital media has evolved significantly; that surely will make London 2012 take the digital sports experience to another level and make it the first mobile digital Olympics. Smartphones and tablets now outsell desktop and laptops. Today there are more than 800 million people on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter and 10 million on Foursquare (Source: Management Today) and more than 35 hours of video is uploaded every minute on YouTube (Source: Infographic: OneLily) , which makes YouTube the second most visited search engine after Google. Mobile, social media and Internet interaction have become essentials embedded into our daily behaviour and as such will play a vital role in London 2012’s success.

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Digital Britain: Creating a Compelling Online Presence

September 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm PST

How does a business become a category leader that fully leverages their online activity for market development and growth? I’ve previously described the process of using social media as an online lead generating tool, attracting prospective customers towards the corporate website.

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