Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olympic Games: An important marketing lesson for your company.

Not only the gold medal counts.
The Olympics are finished and with them two weeks of excitement, competition, records, tension and expectations.

Fifteen days during which the whole world centers its attention on one city (in this case, London) to enjoy a memorable sportive experience.

Many people refer to winners and losers. I do believe it goes a bit beyond and, above all, it's about competitors. It's about young athletes(and some veterans in between) who came to this meeting to give their best, and even though some go back home without medals in their hands, surely they have in their minds the memories of an extraordinary experience.

Backstage these Olympics, which showed those who still have doubts about social marketing and the use of new media technology being here to stay, there are many lessons that can be applied to the marketing strategies of your company or personal brand.

Of these lessons, I want to stay with one: not only the gold medal counts.

Not only is the gold medal the one that counts.

The general trend is to consider "winners" all those who win medals by finishing among the top three positions, especially the one who gets the first spot and wins a gold medal. This time, there were also the "Olympic diplomas", some sort of a tribute to those competitors who, even being non-winners, had an outstanding performance.

The same holds true for business: the trend is to consider "winners" only those business who are in first place, the industry leaders, those with the highest turnover, but then: What happens to business, perhaps like yours, that don't make it to the "Top 10" list? Are they losers? Why?

For many athletes, only the gold medal and the Olympic record count, because only then can they become famous, grab the world's attention and get the best sponsorships. There was even the case of russian athlete, Viktoria Komova, who cried because her team failed to win the gold medal and had to settle for silver. Just imagine: the silver medal! Second place in the world and she cried!

However, for businesses, the story is quite different. Of course it'd be great to be among the top 10 in the world. Of course it'd be great. But you don't need to be number one, to have a successful business.

In fact, there is a huge list of names of companies that fail to be among the 500 largest companies in the world, but they are doing an outstanding job with their customers, feed the families of many employees and bring in important benefits. Are they losers for not being number one?

The victory is not in the competition but the continuous preparation.

Do you think Usain Bolt's victory came just is those 9.63 seconds it took him to run the 100 meters flat? What do you think of the South African runner Oscar Pistorius, the handicapped competitor, and those who managed to improve their personal bests, even if non-winning?

All of them gather around a common point: They have for a long time continuously trained to give the best of themselves not only in the Olympics, but in each of the competitions they have participated previously. Think about those 8 runners who smashed the 100 meters race in less than 10 seconds! Not one but eight!

They say that wealth is in the journey, not the destination.

The Olympics should be an inspiration to you.

Absolutely they are an extraordinary inspiration, that's granted but you should not concentrate your efforts only in taking home the gold medal, and be among the top 10 in your industry, because in business it's not all that counts.

The Olympics should inspire you to prepare for and consciously manage your business for success, to have a long term action plan, to grow better every day, for continuous improvement of your products and your team, for keeping strong relationships with your customers and, above all, to make of every day, every challenge, every moment a growth experience and memorable learning.

If you have the chance to win the gold medal and be among the first, great! but remember that you don't need that to have a successful business and a good portfolio of happy customers.

Inspired on: What the Olympics Has to Do With Your Business (Not Much) written by Margaret Heffernan.

Related article: Do you want a successful product? Become your most demanding customer.

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