It's the greatest show on Earth and there's been something for everyone at Rio 2016. We've had thrills and spills, moments of intense elation and total disappointment that is not unique to the athletes but to every person who has played a role in Rio 2016. Let's not forget the thousands of people, businesses and brands who are all being judged and rated on their performance.
For us at home it's an opportunity to learn – no matter who we are or what our passion, there's been something in this Rio Olympics for everyone. Here's my top four takeaways:
- Preparation is key. These athletes have made a commitment along with their coaches and managers to do whatever it takes to get the gold. Near enough is not good enough and if you haven't given yourself the time and space to properly understand the challenge that lies ahead, you're wasting your time. The same goes for the brands who were in the enviable position of being associated with the Olympics through the rights which have cost them dearly. An Olympics campaign takes time to build, it's one day at a time and preparations must cover a whole range of contributing factors that all lead to your ultimate success.
- Every goal worth pursuing requires planning. I've loved watching so many of the different sports from the rugby sevens to springboard diving and synchronised swimming to sailing. While these sports are vastly different to each other, there's one thing they all have in common. These athletes have made the most of every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year planning and preparing for this very moment. And it's a moment that can be over as quickly as 9.81 seconds if you're Usain Bolt! Consistency and a commitment to being the best takes planning, practise and an ability to anticipate the game. The same goes for the brands behind this epic sporting event – when you plan for all the possible outcomes, you are able to execute a communications strategy that is authentic, relevant and timely.
- I've read with interest some of the commentary around our Olympians – in particular our swimmers who didn't quite fire as expected. Predictions were that they would bring home 11 gold instead of the three we're proud to have achieved. There's a couple of proposed solutions – we need to do our selections much closer to the actual Games so we're selecting swimmers who are peaking in performance. We also need to practise performing under pressure so when it's the real deal – it's a perfect execution. For brands, without preparation and planning, it's impossible to execute a sponsorship campaign that maximises the opportunity and reaps the rewards. We need to anticipate and respond to consumer needs with an execution that meets their expectations. Maybe we too need to practise performing under pressure – especially when the stakes aren't so high.
- Every athlete competing in Rio 2016 was there because they have a dream. This dream is one they have lived and breathed every single day of their lives – since they established the sport as their passion. When the sport is no longer satisfying their needs is when they have either achieved everything they set out to do or because they have nothing left to give. Anna Meares has been unbeatable on the bike winning six Olympic medals over four Olympic Games. Again in Rio 2016 she gave it everything but physically she was beaten. Anna is yet to decide her future, this may be her last Olympics but she leaves an impressive legacy. What legacy can marketers leave on behalf of the brand they represent? What enduring impression can we make on the rest of the world so that our efforts haven't all been in vein? How do we want our consumers to feel and behave towards our brand?
- I challenge you to prioritise your sponsorships and give them the same degree of planning and preparation that our Olympic athletes undertake to perform at their best. While you might not always get the gold at the time of execution, at the very least you will leave a legacy by making a positive and lasting impression on your target market.
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