Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A View from the Top

After a series of cloudy and overcast days here in London, I woke up this morning to the sun shining through my window and cheery London glowing below! We had to be ready at 7:45 a.m. to head out to Deloitte, one of the sponsors of the Olympic Games.

At Deloitte, we met with Craig James, one of the project managers of Deloitte's relations with the Olympic games and a Deloitte consultant. He spoke to us about Deloitte's relationship with the games and the framework of their campaign. Deloitte's sponsorship is the most interesting I've seen yet. Instead of solely paying for the rights to use the Olympic intellectual property and associate themselves with the games visually, Deloitte uses their consulting services to work closely with LOCOG, the British Olympic Association, and other Olympic and Paralympic organizations to help organize and execute the games. They truly want to make a difference as an Olympic sponsor, and their company has done that through many of their services, such as procuring all the equipment needed for the games, organizing travel routes for employees in the city to avoid congestion, and helping to build some of the temporary venues in the Olympic park. Employees at Deloitte, including Craig, have even worked with LOCOG on special projects for full years. Deloitte associates themselves with the London 2012 Games not just through money, but through playing a part in executing the event. They started by helping London prepare it's bid for the games, and it's great to see the large impact they have as sponsors as the games approach.

This smart sponsorship strategy and Deloitte's dedication to truly make a difference with the games is also utilized in their campaign strategy. Deloitte's ads describe the work the company's done to help prepare the city for their games, and they place them in small markets to target their high-profile clientele. While I've often become dissatisfied with sponsors and the monetary goal they have, Deloitte really shows me the value of a sponsor for the Olympic games. They truly serves as a "partner" to the Olympic games as they work hand-in-hand with Olympic organizations to develop and organize every facet of the Olympics. The success of the games will illustrate Deloitte's success as a consulting firm, which can earn the company more clients. Deloitte can illustrate their quality work via the Olympics, and their sponsorship can help their business and help them make a difference with the 2012 London Games. I promise, Deloitte didn't pay me to say all this — check their website out for yourself and you'll understand the smart nature of their sponsorship!

St. Paul's Cathedral
Our meeting with Deloitte ended at 12 p.m. and the rest of the day was ours to explore the city yet again! I traveled to St. Paul's Cathedral with my friends and we got to tour the amazing structure. Built by Christopher Wren in 1675, the architecture is incredible. The cathedral is often referred to as "the Nation's cathedral" and it served as an important landmark during the Blitz of World War II. The cathedral was a prime target, and was twice bombed and damaged. It was guarded by a series of people throughout the war. After England won the war, the cathedral served as a site of celebration for the people of London.

Our group had the chance to climb the stairs up through the domes of the cathedral. The first flight contains 275 stairs and takes you to the Whispering Gallery. In this domed room, you can whisper against the wall on one side of the room and someone on the other side can hear it. We then climbed up to the Stone Gallery, which was outside, and we took in the 360 degree breathtaking views of London. We then kept climbing and after reaching the 528th step of our trek, we were at the very tip of the dome. An unobstructed view allowed us to see the city from an incredible vantage point. The winding streets, the Thames river, Tower Bridge, Millenium Bridge, the London Eye — all of it was laid out before us as we gazed down 85 metres up from the ground. It was an incredible view, and an experience I will always remember.

Kensington Palace

Tired from the long walk up and down the dome, we then took the tube to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park to soak up the sun and visit the Kensington Palace, the palace where Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry reside. We got a bit lost in the park and took a long trek through it to reach the palace, but the gorgeous weather made it a great adventure. Once we reached Kensington Palace, we strolled around the beautiful grounds. We even took a snooze in the front yard, and I did cartwheels! Thanks Queen Mum for lending us your front yard for the afternoon :)

We came back to our Liverpool area afterwards for a group dinner at Nando's, a delicious restaurant that specializes in chicken. It was a great sunny day in the city, and tomorrow we have a busy day with 3 different visits to Olympic organizations and media companies. Looking out my window from my flat as I write this blog post, I can see the St. Paul's dome glowing in the distance. It reminds me that like today, a new adventure will be coming tomorrow.
The Queen Mum's Garden :)
View with the Tower Bridge!

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