Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Pieces of the Puzzle

The Queen leaving Buckingham Palace

Today, our day began at the British Olympic Association offices. Our group heard from Joanna Manning Cooper, who serves at the Head of Public Relations and Media for the London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG), the division responsible for putting on the games. Joanna is in charge of all the communication regarding the 2012 Olympic games, which includes all the UK and international press. Joanna explained to us that hosting the Olympic games is the equivalent of staging 26 World Championships in 17 days and 20 Paralympic World Championships. There will be 25,000 accredited media correspondents attending the games, and Joanna is responsible for those journalists attending events plus the media coverage from all journalists regarding the London 2012 games.

Her job isn't easy to say the least, but Joanna laid out her simple communications strategy for our group. I never realized the importance in creating a comm strategy until Joanna showed us her plan. With such a large and complex event, she stressed that having a simple plan for how the games are presented to the media is critical. Without a plan, there is no way to ensure that the same message about the games is being broadcasted to all types of media. Mixed messages and conflicting viewpoints could easily be spread throughout the media, creating turmoil surrounding LOCOG's work if there wasn't a comm strategy. I really enjoyed learning about Joanna's organizational plan for handling the media before, during, and after the games. Needless to say, it showed that my communication studies work at U of M will definitely come in handy if I choose to work in the comm field. 

The Queen Mum herself!

And now, for the most regal part of the day! After hearing from Joanna, our group ran to the tube stop and through the gates of Buckingham Palace to try and catch a glimpse of the Queen of England as she made her way from the palace to Parliament to make a speech and open Parliament. We ran through the streets, and made it just in time as the horse guard and royal band played their opening notes for the procession. Two carriages slowly rolled out of the palace gates, with one containing the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, and another containing her crown. We raced to the main mall and were able to catch a glimpse of her and her husband! She looked adorable, and it was difficult for me to grasp the power she has. Besides the fact that she rules over an entire country, can disband a government at any moment, and is wealthy beyond belief, she seemed just like a normal grandmother on a day out :)

The Telegraph
After the excitement of seeing the Queen, our group headed off to a company visit I have been anticipating all week: Telegraph Media Group. Telegraph Media Group is responsible for various publications including The Daily Telegraph, which is a national newspaper that is widely distributed throughout the UK. It was so exciting to see the newsroom where the well-known paper operates and is published everyday. We spoke with Jacquelin Magnay, the Olympic Editor for the Telegraph Media Group. Jacquelin described to us how the paper is taking an analytical viewpoint when writing about the games, and has enlisted a variety of former Olympic athletes to help them tell the story of the games and examine the event. It was interesting that Telegraph openly exhibits their support of the games, with Olympic-themed decorations hanging throughout their offices. 

Olympic decorations at Telegraph
Though I was first concerned about the ethical nature of this, I think that Telegraph can openly support the games and serve as a critical and honest observer.  Telegraph has found a great balance in showing their excitement for the games and rousing the excitement of their readers while also utilizing a critical eye in every story they write. Telegraph may look forward to the games, but that doesn't stop them from writing about shortcomings in ticket sales, transportation methods, and other issues with the Olympics. I really enjoyed learning about their balance between Olympic spirit and journalistic analysis. It showed me that as a journalist, I can still have passion and support for the topics I write about while also bringing the truth to readers.

After lunch at Telegraph, we raced over to Chancery Lane to meet with members of the Octagon, a sport marketing company that helps corporations deliver their Olympic sponsorship campaigns effectively. Octagon also represents various athletes, including Michael Phelps. Octagon presented to us various case studies about their work with corporations, and it was interesting to see the different approaches they've taken to reach audiences and help businesses maximize their sponsorships, such as a zip line at the Vancouver games that promoted British Columbia Tourism. The meeting again showed me the various ways an Olympic sponsorship can be properly executed if a plan is developed. An Olympic sponsor can easily stick the Olympic logo on their products and hope for the best, but utilizing a creative strategy and plan can help a corporation use the Olympic sponsorship in ways they never imagined. A proper plan can turn an Olympic sponsorship into a positive investment that helps improve not only a corporation, but the Olympic Games and consumer experience. All it takes is a plan and proper execution, skills that Octagon seems to have mastered throughout their longstanding partnership with the Olympics.

This blog post may seem all business (besides me chilling with the Queen), but today was an amazing day of seeing many perspectives of the Olympic games. It was interesting to compare LOCOG's media strategy with The Telegraph's content regarding the games and Octagon's marketing campaigns. Jacquelin explained the analytical lens Telegraph uses when writing about the Games, which is the very angle that Joanna and LOCOG work so hard to make sure is positive. Octagon then talked about how they try to promote the Olympic sponsorship corporations through the media, and how LOCOG works to protect the many Olympic sponsors from ambush marketing. We got to view all the parts of the Olympic machine today, and I come away from the meetings in awe of the amount of work going into these games. Each division has worked hard since as early as 2003 on each facet of these Olympic Games. I know the world will see the fruits of their labor in 79 days when the spotlight turns to London as the games begin.

The Queen makes her way through the streets

No comments:

Post a Comment