Monday 7 March 2011

3 Really Important Learnings For the Dutch from The London 2012 Olympics Bid Approach

Isn't it great when someone reads your blog post! Even greater when they think it is okay too!

Below was my reaction to Loek's and Geert's comments:

Thank you for reading my blog and for your nice comments. I have read the infrastructure document you talked about and it is great to hear that you have already spoken with the key figures of the 2012 bid. Indeed one of the key success criteria for the London bid is cited as being, the step by step plan and legacy. However they did not say they were “ready” when they went for the bid – because then the IOC would not have been able to say that the games will have a big and lasting impact on the country.

London worked on the bid as far back at 15 years before [1997] and 12 years before a report was delivered to parliament with recommendations, it was not until 2003 that they got the go ahead that was 9 year out. So the Dutch timings seem to mirror what happened in the UK with even more time to activate the necessary support locally for the bid, which for London was at 95% just before the bid.

Beyond infrastructure, there are 3 really important learning’s for the Dutch from the UK bid:

1. BEST CITY CHOICE - after three failed consecutive United Kingdom (UK) bids (Birmingham in 1992 and Manchester in 1996 and 2000), the decision was made to bid with London, given the clear indication that it was the only city in the UK that had a chance of being selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when put up against other world cities in a competitive bidding process, even though Manchester held the Commonwealth Games in 2002. Once this choice was made, differences where quickly put behind them and to the outside world they communicated a “united front”. The choice of Dutch city will be crucial and Amsterdam seems to be the obvious choice for historical and awareness reasons in particular, think about it when you ask foreigners to name the 1st Dutch city that comes to mind, 100% would name Amsterdam.

2. RIGHT BID CHAMPION – after an unsuccessful start to the UK bid under the Direction of Barabara Cassani, a successful American business woman living and working in London; it was decided that they needed a strong sporting ex-Olympian to lead the bid. Someone with enough charisma and business clout to convince the IOC members and have the energy and passion to get the British [not just Londoners] people behind the bid. Sebastian Coe was the obvious choice for Britain an ex-Olympian himself, a very good networker, but not in your face, in a subtle way and able to click with different nationalities. On top of that he fit perfectly with the message about “opportunities for youth”. I am unable to name this combination in one person for Holland, but it could be a duo, with a sporter like Esther Vergeer, as she would fit very well with a Dutch bid message like “Celebrate difference, challenge the status quo”.

3. CLEVER MARKETING – London used every opportunity to promote the (possible) bid, using every worldwide and local sporting event to promote the bid or to network with the right people to get the message across about aims of the different stages of the bid and the desire to go for the Olympics. Holland needs to do this, ie. Making the most of the opportunity to promote the “Netherlands as the gateway to the London 2012 games” – it seems that currently the Netherlands has missed this massive marketing opportunity and that is a shame, but could be salvaged still with an organized approach.

It is great to hear that there are many learning’s that have already been taken into account from other successful bid, especially London as it is a good base for comparison, and infrastructure is one of those, but not the only one.

Cheers Claire

Kees de Voogd • @ Claire, thank you ! I have two questions:
1. how different was the Paris bid from the London Bid, and why do you think they lost ?
2. how about finances, as far as I understand that is also a very important aspect of Olympic bidding.


Claire Powell • @Kees, It is not to do with being "ready", as Paris was 90% ready and London still had 4 stadiums that needed building in 2005. London spent 17M pounds [25M dollars] on their bid, but I am sure this included lots of wastage - I can't find any public bid figure for Paris [even if I search in French in Google], which suggests that it was also a large sum of money. The words "trust & relationships" can explain the difference and this is created by "getting inside the heads of the decision makers, understanding what makes them tick and giving them what they want to hear/see, without the arrogance & within the IOC standards!" [which is a sound marketing and sales strategy].

Thursday 3 March 2011

Compare Apples with Apples: Rio 2016 or London 2012 learnings!

I slept so badly after Monday evening at the Linkedin Group Olympics 2028 group meeting at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, and I think I know why! It was such an interesting, but at the same time frustrating event, that I had so much to process and hence I couldn't switch off.

I should have given up trying to sleep and got up and written this blog post immediately ...

Learning from others who have been successful in gaining the Olympics, is very important, in fact crucial in any plan [especially a marketing and bid plan], but it is essential to ensure you are comparing "apples with apples" and not "apples with pears" otherwise you run the risk of drawing the wrong conclusions.

Why compare Brazil and not London 2012? I know a study trip to Brasil is far more exciting than one to London with its Dutch like weather conditions, but when doing analysis of what works and doesn't work, you must compare like with like or as close as you can get.

I feel qualified to write about this as half of my family live in Brazil and the other half in the UK near London, and despite being British myself, I have lived in the Netherlands for the last 12 years. Also I have 15 years experience in "Measurable Marketing" projects.

The London 2012 bid experience would have made a better learning platform for the Dutch Olympic bid [2028???] because there are lots of similarities between the Dutch and the English situation/people ...

  1. The people [despite being lovely] are very cynical, skeptical, need to be sold to and are not by nature proud people and more importantly they need something solid to get behind and support, for them it is not automatically an honor to host the Olympics. [However Brazilians are by nature optimist, hopeful, trustful, proud people who see getting the Olympics as a real honor].

  2. The people are overall less sporty and passionate about sport, other things bind the British and Dutch people more. [For the Brazilians music and sport are everything. They went into mourning for a week after their loss in the world cup, in fact they got 2 days off work and school to get over it and my nephew who lives there, wouldn't answer my SMS messages!]

  3. The selling reason, "THE WHY US", is not obvious and requires very clearly thought out reasons and messaging locally/nationally and internationally. [Unlike Rio where this reason was simple "Pick us, South America has never had an Olympics, we are ready to party and show that South America can pull this off and make you proud."]
Then there are the even more obvious reasons why London would make a better base for comparison and learnings:

Same continent [where many Olympics have taken place and many bids have been focused], same level of economic development, small sized country with many mid sized cities close to each other [issue of compact/dispersed games], low percentage economic growth potential and the same level of infrastructure and infrastructure challenges.

I would encourage the Dutch Olympics 2028 bid organizers to take the learning's from the London 2012 bid team; many of whom have moved on, but are very approachable; into consideration in order to help create the right plan that will work for the Netherlands and the Olympics 2028 bid.