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Sir Rols

Social Media at the Games

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Just came across this interesting piece - fascinating for me as I'm starting to be involved a lot in developing social media strategies for my new mag.

Tweet success at junior meet has London calling

ONLY one person turned up in Singapore two weeks ago for free Olympic pins advertised on the IOC's Facebook site for the Youth Olympic Games.

And International Olympic Committee's head of social media, Alex Huot, was a little worried.

But interest grew as news spread as he began offering free pins and T-shirts at different locations around Singapore as part of the IOC's attempts to communicate with the youth of the city.

His fourth offer on Facebook, in the final days of the inaugural, 12-day Youth Olympics last week, saw some 1500 eager young Singaporeans turn up for the free goodies.

"It was nearly a riot," he told The Australian from Singapore. "Everyone was so excited by it. It shows the kind of activity you can generate on a local level -- on a micro level as opposed to the macro level."

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Huot and the rest of the IOC have returned to Switzerland to analyse the impact of one of the most extensive uses of social media for an Olympic Games, as they prepare for the next summer Games in London in 2012.

With its first Youth Olympics, which featured 3500 competitors aged 14 to 18 from more than 200 countries, the IOC stepped up its use of social media to spread the word about the competition and the broader Olympic image to a much younger demographic than its traditional media market.

Using a combination of Facebook, Twitter, blogging and photosharing site Flickr as well as other social media outlets, it took advantage of the event to increase its media reach.

"We started working with social media before the Vancouver Games (in February this year), looking at the younger age group, which doesn't read newspapers and only looks at a bit of television," says Huot..

The IOC set up a Facebook site before the Vancouver Games, quickly gathering a million fans. It stepped up its use of Facebook for the Singapore Youth Olympics and now has more than 3.5 million fans. "Over half of the fans on our Facebook site are under 24," says Huot.

The IOC also set up its own YouTube channel for the Youth Olympics, which saw more than 5 million views of the Singapore Games. Before the Games, it launched a competition on Flickr asking people to upload photographs that best summed up the spirit of the Youth Olympics.

The winner of the competition, 16-year-old Billy Rowlinson from London, was taken to Singapore (along with his mother) and accredited as a photographer, uploading his pictures of the event on Flickr. The IOC also ran a competition that saw a young Russian woman go to the Singapore games as an accredited blogger in her native tongue.

More than 3000 photos from the games were uploaded to social media pages.

The Olympic sailing also expanded its sports coverage, with four boats containing specially selected young tweeters, all experienced sailors from Singapore, following behind the competition fleet.

They tweeted a live coverage of the events, which not only allowed those onshore to follow the sailing -- a notoriously difficult event to watch for land-based spectators -- but also the athletes' families and friends and others following from overseas.

The IOC also operated its own Twitter operation during the games, which also re-tweeted tweets made by athletes

"We wanted to use social media to speak directly to the younger demographic," says Huot.

"You have to go where they are.

"We have decided that we need to reach out to people and find them where they are, rather than force them to come to us."

Huot says social media coverage needs to be "more fun" than the traditional, more formal media such as print and broadcasting.

IOC communications manager Mark Adams says the IOC was pleasantly surprised to see almost 2000 traditional media also turn up to cover the first Youth Olympics.

He says the IOC will study the results of its social media efforts and see how these can be applied to the games in London in 2012.

"Social media is more fragmented," he said from Singapore.

"The Youth Olympics shows you what fragmented communications can look like. It's messy in a good way."

Adams says the IOC expects that its Facebook site could eventually get as many as 10 million or more fans.

"Imagine having that many people engaged with you in a way which is more than just watching television or reading a newspaper," he says.

"We are having a conversation with them.

"Imagine doing that with 10 or 15 or 20 million people."

And as Huot points out, there are other benefits of using social media.

"We are using social media to connect as many people as we can to the athletes.

"It has the added advantage of not being hugely expensive," he says.

The Australian

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A very intriguing article though I think the potential ramifications aren't really divulged. Consdiering that the Olympics and the IOC have been slowly developing web savviness since Atlanta (still have some emails from Aussie athletes who posted in the village Web Shack), however now we are seeing something that is way different. Firstly there is the manner in which the IOC is by de facto becoming a part of the media system, by engaging their own bloggers and the athletes to report direct to a non-traditional audience. This could be seen as contrary to the core broadcast media paradigm that sees the likes of NBC, BBC etc etc helping to provide the big dollars for TV rights etc. Plus how will the independence of the new media 'reporters' be maintained if their channels are effectively IOC sanctioned?

Secondly by using a direct new media message to a younger audience how probable is the encouragement of this demographic to become the key future participants or the basis for new revenue streams? Deriving an income or mobilising an active group participation from web activities can be fairly flakey and unsubstantive. This weeks blog or YouTube sensation could be tomorrow's cyber fish and chip paper, and unlike the real stuff it might not be originally an informed and paid for article of journalism.

Finally considering the IOC's collapse in the face of the Chinese web censorship they will not be the guardians of intellectual or journalistic integrity when staring down some of the future or potential host cities and their associated national governments. For example what will be the IOC's response if a blogger or tweeting athlete makes some kind of pro 7/7 terrorist statement in London? or will the Russians accept any blog from an athlete in Sochi that makes observations on human rights and sport in the Caucasus region? Somehow I think not...

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Interesting take on the new media challenges from the Beeb's head of interactive:

BBC "has to find way to reach different Olympics audiences" says head of interactive

November 1 - One of the BBC's biggest challenges in 2012 will be to connect with viewers throughout the country as the Olympics unfold, according to Ben Gallop (pictured), Head of Interactive and Formula 1, BBC Sport, speaking at the Sport Events and the Modern Media Landscape session at Congress.

Alex Gilady, an International Olympic Committee member and a member of the IOC Radio-TV Commission, who spent 30 years with American broadcaster NBC, told the audience as recently as Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, NBC's entire broadcast for the Olympic Games stretched to just 186 hours.

In Beijing there were 5,000 hours of coverage and in London in 2012 the BBC is expected to broadcast a staggering 6,000 hours.

And while changes in technology and the way we receive and view information have changed dramatically since 2000, the BBC still has to find a way to reach audiences who may want different experiences.

"Your hard core sports fans might be shouting at the television," said Gallop, but "other fans might want a more passive experience".

"It's up to us to show sporting experiences which, up until now, have not been possible".

The use of the internet and the growth of social networking sites, such as Twitter, have, according to the panel, radically altered the modern media landscape but not all the predictions of a decade ago came true.

"There was a lot of talk about how the internet would destroy television," said Gallop, "but that hasn't happened."

In fact, according to Gallop, Saturday night blockbusters like X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing have been juggernauts in the way they have crashed through the conventional media landscape.

"Ten years ago people were saying television is dying, particularly live events," he said.

"But what we have seen in the last 10 years in these enormous shows is that they bring people together - they are a phenomenon when it comes to Twitter.

"Sport has the power to do that as well."

While newspapers have suffered globally during the economic downturn, Steve Wilson, European Sports Editor at Associated Press, believes the public will always want to read good, honest, reliable print journalism.

"Audiences are going to want the content that tells the story and goes behind the pictures," he said.

Wilson cited the NFL game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night which was played out in front of a capacity crowd as well as being broadcast on television.

"You need someone to tell the story and go beyond the obvious things you saw," he said.

"The live event will be central but analysis and comment is still going to have a place," he added.

Insidethegames

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Frankly when it comes to the so-called 'web 2.0' the Olympics is just not cutting it and I sincerely doubt that the IOC or many associated with the dissemination of Olympic-related information can match what is already being put out there by entertainers, musicians, movie studios, existing print and electronic media and even teenagers :lol:

Take as a case in point Twitter. During the recent Acapulco meeting the IOC tweeted barely a single skerrick of information, instead short newsbites were posted by the likes of Inside The Games and Around The Rings. Katarina Witt has a twitter account as she made only 1 or 2 posts related to Munich's presentation, whilst the official Munich 2018 twitter account has posted even less. Hopefully London 2012 will be more productive.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter...these are the avenues for getting the Olympic message out there to a wider and younger demographic than has been experienced in your traditional TV, radio or print media formats...and unsurprisingly the old lords of Lausanne have about as much affinity to the net as they do to avoiding the free buffet in their 5 star hotels.

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Frankly when it comes to the so-called 'web 2.0' the Olympics is just not cutting it and I sincerely doubt that the IOC or many associated with the dissemination of Olympic-related information can match what is already being put out there by entertainers, musicians, movie studios, existing print and electronic media and even teenagers :lol:

Take as a case in point Twitter. During the recent Acapulco meeting the IOC tweeted barely a single skerrick of information, instead short newsbites were posted by the likes of Inside The Games and Around The Rings. Katarina Witt has a twitter account as she made only 1 or 2 posts related to Munich's presentation, whilst the official Munich 2018 twitter account has posted even less. Hopefully London 2012 will be more productive.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter...these are the avenues for getting the Olympic message out there to a wider and younger demographic than has been experienced in your traditional TV, radio or print media formats...and unsurprisingly the old lords of Lausanne have about as much affinity to the net as they do to avoiding the free buffet in their 5 star hotels.

Once again, I'd beg to disagree - or at least not be quick to be too negative and cynical. At least as far as the OCOGs are concerned (and I think are the more relevant bodies than the IOC when it comes to applying social media to the games), I's rate them among the trendsetters.

Take London. I've been mightily impressed how they have really stuck by their "Games for the Youth" theme, and they've done some sterling work in using social media to keep that momentum going. Their use of Facebook in the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2012 logo, for example, was one of the earliest and most effective uses I've yet seen of Facebook as a medium to build buzz and market their message - more effective than any social media projects I've worked on in the IT and media area so far. Indeed, the logo itself, as many hear have bemoaned, is more a logo for the digital age than a traditional graphics as we've had for the past few decades. They actually have a head of new media strategy, about 40-odd projects using Web 2.0 by themselves and in conjunction with sponsors, and even just looking at how a lot of London 2012 news gets disseminated here on GB, it seems a lot of members in the UK are getting their updates via such avenues. And while it's a little early in the cycle for Sochi to be making much impression in cyberspace yet, again, their Sochi.com logo certainly augurs a very Web 2.0-oriented strategy ahead.

If you look at the IOC itself, it's understandable they have only cautiously dipped their toes into it so far - after all, in this transition stage between traditional media models and the emerging digital models (which just about every media organisation is also struggling to come to grips with), the IOC has more to lose than most if digital channels dilute the value of their traditional broadcasting and coverage rights. That said, I think their whole YOG DNA digital branding they put in place for the Youth Games is their first major exploration of how they can harness it themselves, and a sign of what they may try and attempt for the senior editions in the future. And when it comes to their main web presence, I think they've been more proactive than most in evolving their internet property - ioc.org, for example, gets a major revamp, update, enhancement and relaunch ahead of every edition of the games (or is their sessions?).

I've yet to see anybody harness Twitter effectively as a marketing tool yet. I've worked and managed "Twitter Strategies" where the focus has been on working towards PKIs for "tweets" and "followers" for the sake of it, rather than using it to actually add value to messaging. A pointless exercise at the end of the day.

Edited by Sir Rols

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London 2012: Olympic Games sponsors discover money isn’t enough to buy goodwill

Social media has changed the ground rules for Olympic sponsorship so that just shelling out millions to be a top-tier sponsor is no longer enough to buy goodwill, post-Games studies have found.

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Samsung snagged the biggest attention in all English language social media, an analysis by Precise media analystssaid.

Of the three, however, only Samsung “won sponsorship gold,” senior brand insight analyst Gareth Price told the Toronto Star. The tech company’s creative move to become part of the opening ceremonies at the London 2012 Games paid off with 89 per cent of people talking about it favourably, Precise found.

Samsung negotiating a role for its mobile devices was a coup for the brand, Precise said. Like Coke’s Torch Relay presence, it “went well beyond the traditional mechanics of sponsorship, harnessing elements of pop culture.”

“The public appears to need to believe that a brand is creating value through its sponsorship,” rather than just selling a product, the report said. The best way, the analysis found, is “creating opportunities for the public to participate.”

The Precise study examined all English-language social media content for two weeks up to July 31, just after the start of the Games.

Coke’s Torch Relay also offset criticism over whether a pop-maker should be cashing in on a tournament for elite athletes, Precise found

McDonald’s never managed to shake that criticism, Precise said, and ended up with the negative publicity outweighing the positive.

A poll of U.S. adults over the two weeks of the Olympics also found the controversy surrounding McDonald’s and Coke’s suitability as sponsors hurt public perception.

YouGov’s BrandIndex, which polls 5,000 people a day from a pool of 1.8 million who have registered for its panels, tracked a rise in negative perception particularly for McDonald’s as the Games progressed.

In fact, only VISA, with its high-profile TV spots, truly achieved a strong improvement in its image, particularly among Americans 18 to 34, said BrandIndex global managing director Ted Marzilli.

“You are up against people spending a lot of money,” he said. “It’s hard to break through the clutter.”

BrandIndex did find BP, damaged by the bad publicity of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, managed by promoting its BP Team USA contingent of nine athletes to wash some of the gunk from its image and end with a more positive profile.

Creative use of social media paid off for sportswear maker Adidas, Precise and the social media consultants Sociagility found.

“The Adidas

of the stars of Team GB singing ‘Don’t Stop Me Now” was perfectly timed to the mood of the Games,” said Price.

Adidas, which relied on a hashtag slogan of “Take the Stage,” managed to outperform archrival Nike despite Nike’s attempt at ambush marketing, Sociagility’s Tony Burgess-Webb said.

“The online and offline world are two very different and distinct things,” Price said. Sponsors now need to “better co-ordinate” the two.

“Smartphones and mobile react to everything all the time.”

Analysts also recognized that sponsors also have different aims in tying their identities to the Games.

“Deloitte would have very different aims in sponsoring” than Adidas, for example, said Price.

Interbrand London’s analysis of sponsorship benefits also found a strong recognition factor for VISA, although inside the Olympic Village much of it was negative because VISA was the only credit card allowed.

For the company, though, that didn’t matter as much as its global bounce, said Graham Hales, chief executive officer of Interbrand London.

“What happened in London is just a localized skirmish,” he told the BBC. “Its battleground is global.”

Toronto Star

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