What makes a good Olympic story? Now that the Games are well under way in Brazil it is worth looking back at the example set by London in 2012. Aside from the gold medals and broken records, the 2012 Olympics are widely seen as a business success story.
This event held in London was a massive operation: there were sporting venues to build, thousands of athletes and officials to accommodate; hundreds of thousands of supporters to transport and cater for; merchandise to manufacture and sell; security; cleaning; promotional campaigns… the list goes on.
The contracts for Olympics-related work were awarded for the most part by the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). Most importantly, not all of them were awarded to large companies. In fact, nearly three-quarters of all contracts, worth around £2 billion pounds, were awarded to small and medium-sized businesses. What can we can we learn from this?
Communication is key
In any major event, one of the biggest challenges is to keep the public informed. From newspaper adverts to websites and other forms of digital communications, there have never been so many options to pick from. This provided Games attendees and the general public multiple ways to get the information they needed on venues and events. This was particularly important as it provided Londoners with information about possible disruption. By adopting this approach, the organisers reduced the potential for confusion and frustration.
Communication by itself is not enough. The value of a brand is markedly enhanced by customer service experience. London 2012 is no exception. An excellent standard of service gives any business an edge while showing a more human side. This will in turn help to retain clients while contributing towards a wider customer base.
Leaving a legacy
Too often in the past the Games have left behind a trail of bad business decisions and crippling debt. Expensive sports facilities are often left abandoned or severely underused. It is therefore essential to plan ahead and find ways to involve small and medium companies in this process. While it is recognized that many SMBs struggle with capacity it is important to admit that by their very nature these are more flexible and responsive than larger multinationals. These qualities will certainly come in handy when the Games draw to a close.