6 Key Lessons from the Olympics for Market Development Funds
So it’s over, 16 days of immense sporting achievement despite the security risks, the weather and traffic jams. Reflecting on the great success of the London 2012 Olympics, below are six lessons that can be applied to your Marketing Development Funds Program.
Variety Can Strengthen a Portfolio
The Olympics is an eclectic mix of sports ranging from the glorious 100 meters to archery and beach volleyball. There is something for everyone, and it benefits from the variety of activities that take place to make it such a great event. The key point here is that variety can strengthen a portfolio, it is the balancing of the portfolio that is essential. There is no doubt that like the Olympics, MDF programs need to have a complete portfolio of activities and they should be managed to achieve an effective balance between them.
Application of Clear Rules and Standards
The Olympics sets clear rules and context for their competition, you must achieve a standard to compete in the games and then your country can select you. These two steps of qualification and selection contribute to the maintenance of high standards within the games. In essence the same two things could be applied to your MDF programs, your guidelines and business rules are used to qualify an activity as possible, but it is planning and authorisation that confirms selection. The success of an Olympic team owes much to the selection process and the pre games planning, MDF activities should be subject to the same rigour.
Consider the Context of Your Program
The context of the Olympics is set not only by its history but the venue of the games. This year the opening ceremony in the UK featured Isembard Kingdom Brunel (the guy in the stovepipe hat played by Kenneth Brannagh) who was an engineer of great prowess and contributed hugely to the “Industrial Revolution” in the UK. To someone familiar with the history of the UK that sets a context, it was reported in one international newspaper that the person was Charles Dickens a notable English writer of such classics as Oliver Twist and Great Expectation. So the opening ceremony set a context that most of the world did not understand or were mystified by! To a certain extent the same situation could occur with your MDF program, if the goals or direction is not set clearly as a context one cannot expect comprehension and hence good execution.
Effective Tools and Logistics
26 sports, 17000 athletes, 20,000 journalists and over 9 million tickets sold to attend the games at 9 main event sites. The logistics and the tools to support the games quietly and efficiently worked in the back ground providing the foundation for success.
But it was not always perfect, the world watched as a lonely fencer sat dejected at the end of the fencing run after the greatest disappointment of her life, Shin A Lam of South Korea lost her chance for a gold medal due to a faulty clock that stopped at 1 sec left of the match. Later in the week she was awarded a special medal to recognize her for "aspiration to win and respect for the rules".
At the end of the day everyone depends on processes and tools to deliver and in this case the competitor was let down. The games are becoming increasingly electronic and automated, everyone depends on tools and processes being fool proof, accurate and consistent. As your MDF programs are supported by tools and processes the same lessons can be learned.
Clear Expectations and Support
These Olympics were the most successful for Team GB who won more medals than ever before, there is no doubt that home field advantage played a huge part in teams and individuals doing better than ever before. The sportsmen and women were comfortable in their surroundings and knew the expectations of the nation. The crowd support at every event for the local competitors was immense, whilst 80,000 people were in the stadium, 60 million people were behind Mo Farah as he swept to victory in the 10,000 meters. The point to understand here is that clear expectations and support leads to higher levels of performance.
Invest Time and Effort
Finally the games excels because it is recognition for the competitors, and just getting to the games is motivation in itself. This year many of the people who had a brief period in the spotlight as they won medals in minority sports or were just recognised as a competitor realised their dream. To reach that point they have been hugely motivated and have been happy to sacrifice their time and effort to achieve the goal. The idea of people investing time and effort to improve their performance is a great target for your MDF programs or any programs that encourage the adoption of a brand and its values. The challenge is how you develop your program to motivate participation and engagement.
When all is said and done the Olympics is a sporting festival where the best in class compete against each other………
“the best in class compete against each other”, sounds like the channel to me!