Running rings around the competition. What London 2012 can teach us about marketing. - Wet Leisure

It is probably safe to say that everyone considers the Olympic Games in London to have been a success. Just how big a success is down to a matter of personal opinion, but the event and the coverage that surrounded it won the hearts and minds of a nation.

What are the lessons that can be learned to grab the public’s attention for your own business?


Probably the biggest single lesson that has come out of the Olympics applies not just to the area of sales and marketing but also to your entire business structure.

That lesson is, teamwork.

The athletes and participants were all highly competitive and motivated individuals who were aiming to win a medal that would go around their own neck.

However, every single medal winner thanked the team that had supported him or her. They thanked their coaches and their trainers and everyone who had contributed to their success whether that involvement had been large or small.

Every Olympic win demonstrated that a team with a clearly defined and commonly held goal that worked together to achieve that end was the formula for success.

And the other amazing thing was that from the nations point of view, people loved to hear that story over and over and over again.

People enjoy working together in teams. They like to know that there is mutual support in that team and that all the team members are striving for the same end.

If you can bind all the members of your business together into a strong team, then who knows what you might achieve?

Be proud of who you are and what you do.

Every athlete and every nation that participated in the Games was proud to be there, proud to be taking part.

Whether they were from a global power like China or the USA or whether they were representing a tiny country that perhaps not many people had even heard of, they waved their flag, played their national anthem and wore their colours with pride.

Not every business can be the biggest in its particular field or area but every business can be proud of what it does and what it has and can achieve.

Pride is neither arrogance nor smugness.

To be proud of the service that you deliver, you have to know that you have done a job well, that you have looked after your customers and exceeded their expectations.

Customers sense that pride and are attracted to it. They want to do business with people who take a pride in their work.

Be true to yourself. Be individual, be a character.

The contestants in the Games that truly captured the public’s imagination were those with character.

They had their own quirks, they had their own way of doing things and weren’t afraid to show it.

All businesses are different but all too often they try to appear the same.

In the same way that there are rules to each event in the Olympics, there are commonalities to each aspect of the wet leisure business. Every pool, spa or sauna business is going to be doing something roughly similar to each and everyone of their competitors, but what makes some stand out is how they go about doing those undertakings.

Try to be ‘all things to all men’, and your business may come across as appearing to be bland or offering a ‘me too’ service.

If you do things in a distinctive and characterful way then you may not appeal to everyone but the customers that are attracted to you will be staunchly loyal and sing your praises to all their friends.

Little things make a big difference.

In a world where the difference between winning and losing is measured in hundredths of a second, there is no surprise that all the competitors were big fans of attention to detail.

Where this became much more noticeable though was with the British cycling team.

They dominated the cycling events and put their success down to ‘cumulative incremental improvements’.

In plainer English, what that means is that they took something as relatively straightforward as a person riding a bicycle and studied every last separate detail and aspect of that and improved every area even if only by the smallest margin.

When all those improvements were put together, they added up to 7 Gold medals.

In running a business, we can often see areas where small improvements could be made but fail to do so as it appears that the gains aren’t worth the effort.

If you make a number of those improvements then that argument fails flat on its face. There are some more tips and advice on just that here.

Be sociable.

London 2012 was the first truly ‘social media Games’.

Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn was full of opinions, comments, praise and yes, criticism of the Games and the competitors.

The world of social media seems to grow in scale, scope and importance every single day.

It provides the perfect platform to show off your teamwork, your pride in your achievements, your unique character and your attention to detail.

If you still haven’t entered the world of social business, here are links to some simple advice to help you set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account.

The 2012 Olympics were a great success and one of the ways to win in any activity – including business – is to learn from those that succeed.

We hope that this article has been of use to you.

If you have any ideas or insights that you would like to share, then please use the comment box below to add them.

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One Response to Running rings around the competition. What London 2012 can teach us about marketing.
  1. Sean Corscadden 20th August 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Jamie – really well written piece. Gold medal for you!


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