Don’t fall at the final hurdle

Don’t fall at the final hurdle

It’s fair to say the Communications team in Rio has had their hands full during the run up to the 2016 Olympic games. Doping scandals, the Zika virus, a virtually bankrupt host City and venues not being completed on time. It’s not over though – one week in and the water in the diving pool has turned green! A test for even the strongest of communications plans, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It begs the question – how prepared can you be? Is your company ready for every eventuality and will your communications strategy survive the toughest of tests? You may think this doesn’t apply to you – after all, the Olympics is a global event facing intense scrutiny over every problem, no matter how large or small. We’d argue that even though the circumstances differ, the principles remain the same.

Take Usain Bolt for example, the world’s fastest man and undisputed superstar of the games. The tag line on his official website is ‘the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen’, but even he needs a plan to reach his goal. In Rio he will be looking to defend is his Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles for a third time and you can guarantee his preparations started the moment he won in London 2012.

The point is, even the best need a strategy and that involves preparation. If Bolt just pitched up at the athletics track and ran, he’d probably get a bronze; maybe even a silver, but with a clear plan he has been able to become one of, if not the, greatest athlete of all time. Every aspect of his training and competing is planned to the finest detail, every scenario covered and he knows exactly what he must do to achieve his goal. It’s not just down to him as an individual; as with most success stories, he’s got a strong team surrounding him, in this case a dedicated team of coaches, physios, nutritionists, national associations – the list goes on.

So if you want your organisation, service or product to succeed – have you considered whether you’re prepared for a crisis? Is your comms team the Usain Bolt of your operations, ready for all situations with the right people ready to step in when needed?

Preparation is key – Rio was nine years in the making with the original bid proposal being submitted in 2007 and the city was finally confirmed as the first South American host in 2009. Fast-forward seven years and it’s fair to say the path to Rio has been a rocky one where circumstances have constantly changed and new challenges have been thrown up (we’ll skip over the well reported details about this).

Let’s be honest – change is probably the one constant these days, in all walks of life. How can you be ready for something you’re not aware of, I hear you ask? The reality is it is possible to prepare for different types of scenarios, of which many can be predicted; and there’s always the option of balancing negative stories with the positives.

With an Olympic games on your doorstep, it’s not hard to find some good or emotive news. Where else could a 21-year old British swimmer from Uttoxeter break world records and romp home to gold? Where else could the usually ice cold and world’s No.1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic, be reduced to tears? And where else could Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee, who once swam to save her life when attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, showcase her sporting talents?

It may seem worlds away from an everyday communications plan for a business in Britain, but we’re dab hands at finding those golden nuggets happening in your company and helping you prepare for different eventualities – so you feel prepared under whatever pressure you face. If you’re reading this and thinking you may need some help, don’t fall at the final hurdle and get in touch.

Patrick Giffney

Firework PR

Follow Firework PR on Twitter @fireworkpr

Posted: 12 August 2016

Share your views

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *