During the Olympics, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor, Business Secretary and thirty-five other ministers, have welcomed around 3,000 business leaders and global figures (so far) to twelve Global Business Summits at Lancaster House in London. These guests have included over half of the FTSE 100 companies, alongside hundreds of international buyers, investors and policy makers. This is all part of an 18-day programme running into September and throughout the Paralympic Games.

Overall, hosting the Olympics is forecast to deliver around £13bn in economic benefit to the UK in the coming months and years, as businesses take advantage of the unique opportunities provided. This includes £1bn of extra sales for businesses taking part in the British Business Embassy programme, £4bn of high value overseas opportunities for UK firms in markets including Brazil, Russia and China, £6bn of inward investment and a £2.3bn boost to tourism.

We all work in a global market place. In an era where mass customisation is challenging companies to re-engineer their products and services to cater for anything for anyone who is anywhere at any time, having a global outlook is more important than ever.

Your international marketing strategy should be an extension of your UK strategy; differentiation is even more important in an international market – customers need to have a really good reason to work with you or buy from you. And increasing your profile and visibility is a key component of a successful international strategy.

Tips for local and international success in increasing your profile and visibility:

There are also four key areas that I recommend for focus, by businesses looking for increased visibility and growth:

And finally – your definition of success should equate to more than just profit, with strategic success being driven by a combination of factors. Getting these right, will help you to achieve revenue growth, financial success, and a great reputation.


Christine Losecaat is Managing Director of Little Dipper, and Consulting Creative Director of UK Trade & Investment’s Olympic Legacy Unit

To watch presentations from leading international thought leaders from The Global Business Summits at The British Business Embassy – click here: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/sectors/globalsportsprojects/britishbusinessembassy/item/323880.html

For details of the UK Trade & Investment High Value Opportunities Programme – click here: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/item/219720.html

As previously written about on the Firefly blog, we have been particularly interested in the branding guidelines for the summer Games.

Well, as the games are now underway we thought we would have a look at how brands have been reacting. It seems that a lot of people want to show their support for Team GB and the Games but, like a middle-aged mother looking after some over-excited toddlers at a birthday party, LOCOG are trying to control the fun; well it’s their party and if your name’s not down, you’re not allowed to display the rings.

However, it seems that as hard as they try, these regulations are backfiring. Data from Experian shows that following the ban of Pepsi clothing at the games, Pepsi.co.uk saw a traffic increase of 53% to their site, while official sponsor Coca-Cola’s corporate site traffic fell by 69%. Official sponsor Adidas.co.uk also saw a 20% drop in visitor numbers this Sunday, while non-sponsor Nike saw a 16% increase in traffic.

We have collected below some of our favourite competitors of the new Olympic sport we are calling LOCOG Dodgeball. If you find any more, please do take a pic and tweet them to us @firefly_comms.

Mens-hire.co.uk has produced this window display featuring some strategic typos and square rings.

Cheeky older brother, Paddy Power has sponsored an egg-and-spoon race in the city of ‘London’ in France reports The Drum, which means that there is nothing the LOCOG police can do about their billboard below. We particularly like the official Olympic venues sign post below this shot. Bravo Paddy Power, bravo.

 Everybody’s favourite offy, Oddbins also wants to play ball. Slightly passive aggressively yet hugely amusing, we think we are more tempted to buy this bottle of sparkling rosé than the Official Olympic toothbrush.

Original Penguin UK have also been participating over email, thanks to @dangrech for sending over this email alert featuring their trademark penguin in some active shots decorated with some beautifully placed punctuation.

And as the Games are taking place in Britain, it’s only right that we have a royal entry. Representing the Royals in LOCOG Dodgeball are The Middletons. The family business, Party Pieces is advertising on their website a range of ‘party pieces’ under the tab of ‘Celebrate the Games;’ one ‘party piece’ is an Olympic ring coloured ring toss game. Cheeky – and a step too far? – which according to The Mail Online could result in a £20,000 fine.

The brand police are also active inside the Olympic Park. We heard this week that LOCOG has asked volunteers to empty any non-Olympic sponsor snacks in to a clear plastic bag, which does bring a nice image to mind: people packed in to tents in the Olympic village, carefully decanting their Wotsits into zip lock bags.

Let’s see who the real winners are after the Games.



Mens-hire http://www.mens-hire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/CIMG3032.jpg

Paddy Power http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2012/07/25/paddy-power-claims-victory-poster-row-locog-after-olympics-organiser-backs-down

Oddbins http://prexamples.com/2012/07/oddbins-anti-logog-stunt-rewards-pepsi-drinking-nike-wearing-mastercard-using-customers/

Middletons The Mail Online

The long-awaited summer of 2012 is almost here. With so many things happening on our little island including the summer games, you’d think that PR consultants up and down the country would be rubbing their hands with Olympic-themed glee. But you’d be wrong.

Instead of producing fertile ground for PR-able content and campaigns, the games come with large, “Private Property – Keep Out” signs attached. Case in point: Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) has been signing agreements with Twitter and FourSquare to prevent brands who are not official sponsors from cashing in on the London 2012 name.

However, it looks like these tight guidelines may not be safeguarding the London 2012 brand as much as the organisers would like. Despite not being an official sponsor, Nike’s efforts have nevertheless enabled them to dominate online conversations around London 2012. According to Digital Agency, Jam, 7.7% of conversations about the Olympics is attributed to Nike, while Adidas – who paid a reported £100m to be the official sponsor of the games – received just 0.48% share of online conversations from the period 1 December 2011 to 7 February 2012.

Nike has managed to cleverly sidestep Logog rules with the Make It Count campaign, pulling in Olympic heavyweights Paula Radcliffe, Mark Cavendish and others. With the hashtag, ‘#makeitcount’, the campaign does more than suggest an alliance with the games through the combination of sport, the UK and the aforementioned Olympic celebs. The campaign kicked off with a video posted on New Year’s Eve 2011 asking, “How will you make 2012 count?”  This, following on from Nike’s accidental success through social media in the 2010 World Cup, should have sports marketing types having a re-think.

And it’s not just brands who are banned from mentioning London 2012. If you were hoping for some leaked backstage photos of Tom Daley eating a packet of Quavers, you are going to be disappointed. Locog has banned their 70,000-strong army of “Game Makers” (volunteers) from posting any information or photos from backstage at the games.

Despite many brands being affected during the summer games and beyond, it seems that Locog is not wanting to play ball and allow these brands (or its own volunteers) to share games-related information over social media platforms. While it is understandable that – like any brand – Locog will want to protect the London 2012 name, perhaps the committee is taking more than it’s giving. The media seem obsessed with churning out stories about how London and the wider area will be affected by the games in the summer – with overcrowded public transport, blocked-off roads and a flock of confused tourists heading to streets near us soon – what exactly will the Olympics bring to brands? Not even a tweet, it seems.

With all these limitations, Locog is trying to police the un-policeable – the digital sphere. It remains to be seen how Locog will deal with inevitable rule-breakers and what this will mean for future digital media campaigns.

For more information on what can and cannot be said regarding the London 2012 games, have a look at the official guidelines here: http://www.london2012.com/about-us/our-brand/using-the-brand.php

Ninety per cent of souvenirs for the 2012 Olympics were made abroad, according to recent headlines.   The London 2012 Organising Committee must have known the story would eventually break and outcries would follow, but how well did they do with reputation management?

The first rule of journalism is to “inform and entertain” and this story has everything: a global event, a damning statistic, and a reason people should care. It plays on the subconscious expectation that everything associated with London2012 should ultimately benefit everyday Britain, an expectation carefully crafted by the backers of the bid (and undoubtedly, PR consultants) in the first place.

Therefore my initial reaction, like many others’, was one of anger. Then I wondered how those responsible could defend themselves. I found it – starting with paragraph 10 in the Daily Telegraph’s report:

“Ninety per cent of our licensees are British companies and those which aren’t UK companies all have UK offices, employing UK staff.

“All London 2012 products have their design, development and creative work done in the UK and as a result of winning these licenses, companies are employing more staff in the UK.”

It makes sense. As Locog explained, many products supplied and sold by British companies are made overseas. For whatever reason and unconnected to the upcoming Olympics, Britain is based on a knowledge economy. This country has not been a manufacturing power for some time. If what Locog is saying is true, there is a very good defence to the Telegraph’s story. Their response was completely omitted from the Daily Mail’s report.

That is journalism folks. “90 per cent of souvenirs made abroad” is much more entertaining than “90 per cent of London 2012 licensees are British companies”.

Locog should have been much more aggressive in their response to this story and stamped out the possibility of the issue arising again. What journalist in their right mind would refuse a phone call with Sebastian Coe to hear his side of the story? As the story was covered by only a small number of publications (it didn’t cause a global uproar), his response could even have been sold in as an exclusive to guarantee a big piece.

What actually happened? A reactive ‘statement’ from a ‘Locog spokesman’ buried beneath emotive, intricate examples of souvenirs produced abroad, such as “…Union Jack-emblazoned tea cups, crystalware, tea towels and even fluffy toys on sale were produced by foreign workers.”

Stamping this out with a proactive public relations offensive would have helped educate people on the reality of the situation. Instead, nothing was done, and four days later The Independent reported London 2012 tickets printed in Arkansas.

Locog, our new business chap’s name is Fraser, if you’re interested.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

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