Brand GB – capitalising on the Olympics and TeamGB

A STRANGE thing has happened to me over the last two weeks. My eyes on repeated occasions have had grit magically appear in them and cause tears.

This complaint started during the Olympic opening ceremony and was at its worse on Super Saturday but re-occurred often while watching all manner of sports. I of course am not alone and the whole country was taken along on a journey that I don’t think anyone outside of Boris and Lord Coe imagined.

Now the flame has been extinguished, big questions will be asked of who has made the most of the games and how brand Great Britain can capitalise on the success of the games and a positive worldwide reaction.

The biggest winners are of course the athletes, in particular the medallists. Even those who didn’t win a medal will have increased visibility which will help in the search for sponsorship. For the big names though, big numbers are possible.

Jessica Ennis’ current earnings have been estimated at �1m from sponsorship from brands such as Aviva, P&G and Adidas. Her gold medal and increased media presence could see this rise to �2m over the next two years according to sponsorship experts.

If you just look at cycling, Victoria Pendleton already has various beauty deals and also a range of leisure bikes with Halfords. The other big name cyclists from Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and the upcoming Laura Trott, will be targeted as potential sponsorship opportunities. From Mo Farah, to the Brownlee brothers all could, and probably need to, seriously capitalise on their success to help support future efforts.

The big Olympic sponsors themselves will also be evaluating whether the millions spent delivered. Although defining ROI on this activity is difficult, ultimately shareholders expect some form of bottom line return from this level of activity. From McDonalds to Cadbury and BP, all will be reviewing how they performed and what value it delivered.

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But what about Brand GB, will we be able to emulate the commercial success of the Sydney Games? There have been plenty of stories about the supposed ghost town of central London. This changed and even Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has had to go on record and apologise for doom mongering and happily admit that bookings were up in his theatres. All of this is short term gain; the real money will come from long-term investment from overseas and export of product and expertise.

So while the Olympics were running, a number of investment drives also occurred. A British Business Embassy was set up during the Olympics at Lancaster house to showcase British business with an aim to boost the economy by �1bn. Activities included investment conferences with speakers of the likes of Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, and Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design head. Engineering tours of the Olympic Park were also popular especially with Chinese representatives.

To our athletes the Olympics was a chance to fulfil a lifetimes dream and years of dedicated hard work. To some, medal success will bring personal wealth from sponsors keen to piggyback their new found adulation. To Great Britain this really has been the chance to put Brand GB in the spotlight and all that we can achieve. The world has been watching. I hope they liked what they saw.

Tim Youngman is head of digital marketing for Archant follow him on Twitter @timyoungman