Two weeks since the fanfare of Rio’s Closing Ceremony, days until the Paralympics begin, and there’s plenty your brand can learn from the triumphant Team GB.
Our nation walked away from Brazil’s most-famous city, and the Olympics, understandably ecstatic. This is the broadest and most significant medal yield in the modern history of the U.K. at the Games. And the first time ever that a country has performed better than when it held the event.
Finishing second in the table, with only the ever-dominant U.S.A. doing better, those who remember Atlanta in 1996 could be forgiven for wondering quite how we managed this. After all, back then we returned with just one solitary gold, finishing an ever-so-slightly embarrassing 36th in the overall league table. That was behind the likes of Kazakhstan and Algeria.
So what changed? That performance- which branded our athletes the ‘Team of Shame’- acted as a catalyst for a wholesale rethink on how we invest in sport. In the subsequent Olympics, we finished 10th (2000 and 2004); 4th (2008); and 3rd (2012). That’s a startling improvement, and one we can easily link to a boost in overall funding and improved strategies.
Back in ’96, the country was pumping a ‘meagre’ £59million into athletics per year. Today, that figure has risen to £350million, and the vast majority is ring-fenced National Lottery funding, and therefore immune to the austerity cuts impacting on many other areas of the budget. To break it down to individual wins, every medal we came away from Rio holding cost around £4million.
Cash alone isn’t enough to secure these kind of results, though. The way in which the money is spent has been described elsewhere as ‘ruthless’ and ‘uncompromising’ (New York Times, no less). Put simply, we are piling quids into the sports we think Team GB can succeed in. The powers that be are playing on, and building upon, the strengths already present in the country’s talent pool.
I shouldn’t really need to explain exactly how this relates to business, but just in case let’s do it. Forward planning for the mid and long-term future, regular iterations on processes, and constant assessments to ascertain where improvements could be made, with a focus on making marginal gains in the most likely areas for success, are all par for the course when it comes to improving the fortunes of any brand. Forget this and you could well be languishing mid-table, returning home from each day in the office lagging behind the competition.
Final Brand Table- Rio Olympics 2016
Gold – Team GB – In four years our boys and girls have more than doubled their 372,000 Twitter followers, but 100,000 of those joined during Rio alone. That’s some performance. Oh yeah, and there were loads of lovely medals.
Silver – Coca Cola – That’s Gold was one of those marketing ideas everybody wants. The simple slogan- both branded across adverts and hashtagged- became the most used branding on social media during Rio 2016.
Bronze – DFS – By furnishing Team GB House in Rio, the furniture giant began creating exclusive behind the scenes content from the address, which was then used in ongoing brand pushes for videos, images, and news stories.