Three Things B2B Communicators Can Learn from the Olympics

One of the benefits of living in London was the opportunity to attend and be a part of the Olympic events. We were fortune enough to attend three events and my oldest  daughter’s school spent a full day at the Paralympics.  While attending the athletic events was a great experience in and of themselves, we were also caught up in the ongoing festivities. In fact, my son last night pulled out his Olympic athlete trading cards to tell me stories from the summer and how his favorite athletes performed.

Are you going for the B2B gold?
Are you going for the B2B gold?

Witnessing such an amazing global event has made me think about some lessons learned for B2B communicators. Here’s are three key takeaways I’ve made from being so close to the Olympics.

Make one event a truly unique experience. Every four years pundits think that the opening and closing ceremonies will never be as good as the last. Whether you watched the ceremonies live, on television or followed the stream on Twitter, these events proved to be amazing. So how can you take your trade shows or executive events more memorable? Not everyone can hire the Pet Shop Boys or Spice Girls, but you should consider choosing one event each year and go “all in”. If it’s done properly, your customers will notice the investment you’ve made in them — time and money — and they will be talking about it online, at the water cooler and with others in the industry for some time.

How can you leverage Social Media: Social media should rarely be a standalone communications activity. The Olympics demonstrated how using social media can be used to leverage photos, news stories and service updates. While none of our organizations can compare to the size and attention of the Olympics, the lesson to be learned is that content matters — visuals tell stories sometimes better than words; news shared across multiple platforms can reach your audience, and inviting others to participate and share on your social platforms. We rethink these strategies constantly and so should you.

Customer service goes a long way. One of the brightest spots for London during the Olympics was the overwhelming kudos given to the City for the great service and help from its volunteer staff. Focusing on customers does make a difference and it’s the simple things. Do you respond to their inquires in a timely fashion? Does your staff go the extra mile at trade shows to be helpful? Do you reach out to them with new ideas? How do you share news and trends with them? Look at some of the best brands you admire today — B2C and B2b — and I bet you they almost all have a “customer centric” approach to their business. What are you doing to make that part of your firm’s culture?