We’ve won an Olympic medal – now what?

winner-1548239_1920Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Your athletes have gone to Rio and performed on the biggest stage of all (unless they were playing golf or football – moot point).

They return victorious (and in Club Class, the lucky so-and-sos).

But what next? How does your sport’s NGB (national governing body) make the most out of this brief spotlight before it sweeps onto Premier League stars and the Ryder Cup.

  1. Plan

It’s not too late for this. It rarely is.

The window of opportunity is undoubtedly brief but it hasn’t yet shut. If you want to make the most of it, take some time out with your team and think about your sport is going to take advantage of it.

If you didn’t do this before the Games, make a note in diaries to do so at key points in the next cycle – world championships, nationals, Games etc.

Make it a regular part of the preparation process, even if you are not expecting a result. Just like you should plan for a crisis, you should also plan for success.

2. Prioritise

Unless you have to, don’t carpet bomb with your efforts.

Your organisation has a strategy. So whatever you do to make the most of your medallists, focus your efforts in areas that serve your pre-defined corporate objectives.

Think about whether you need to focus on participation, on partnerships, on commercial growth or elsewhere. And make your efforts affect those outcomes.

3. Be realistic about media opportunities

At the time of writing, Team GB has won 56 medals across 21 disciplines. And whilst there is  a lot of appetite for Olympic riches, the stories move on quickly from one day to the next.

With 22 golds across 14 days so far, there’s a lot of metal to mine for journalists. Elaborating stories about being held up at gun point appears inadvisable so think about how you move from phase to phase with your athletes to keep the momentum going.

4. Scratch the surface

If you haven’t already in your pre-games planning phase, find out a bit more about your athletes.

Apart from being good at their sport, is there anything else that lifts from the pack – an X-Factor style family story, a significant barrier overcome, an obsession with cars, watches, shoes?

If you can move your athlete from the sports pages, to lifestyle, health or feature channels with your insights, you’ve captured an opportunity.

Roll on, Sports Personality of the Year…

5. Think broadly about your stakeholders

The cache of an Olympian immediately after a Games is high. Think (and talk to them) about how you make the most of that with your stakeholders.

Would your funders, sponsors or partners welcome a photo opportunity for their owned channels to recognise their contribution? Would they value a meet and greet as an exclusive staff incentive?

How can you use an athlete to market an upcoming event or conference? Is there a campaign or policy push where their addition would add clout? How can the athlete’s image be used in your owned channels to serve your strategic outcomes (remember Point 2; no carpet bombing!) How can you make the most of the success with your membership.

6. Plan again

Following any campaign or programme, you should get into the habit of the debrief. What did you learn? What mistakes did you make? How can you improve next time? What knowledge does the organisation need to have on record should you fall under the proverbial bus to make it work next time around.

PS Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Perhaps apocryphally, it refers to the cry of the Vegas croupier when a hand was won. The minimum return on a blackjack bet was enough to buy a decent chicken dinner at the casino. No medals for knowing that though.


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