2018 Winter Olympics won’t be a Sochi says Online Media Guru Jackie Cooper.
With the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics being billed as ‘the most expensive’ ever and certainly earning a reputation for being the most unprepared, they’re a shining example of what not to do.
As with most mistakes, those of the Sochi Olympics will likely not be repeated in the 2018 Olympics. However, according to Online Media guru, Jackie Cooper, the lessons Sochi provides are also useful for small businesses.
“Too often, small businesses rush at promotion before thinking things through and end up with egg on their face,” she says. Cooper advises businesses to map out their overall strategies using a white board so that they can see the complete picture and identify weak spots. Failing to do so could mean a public disaster. Napoleon Hill says much the same thing, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the see of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
“For instance,” she says, “we recently had a very publicized case in the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia, where a well financed community services group lost and important bid and ended up damaging their credibility by failing to plan properly.”
According to Cooper, the group hired a Public Relations agency to help them promote an initiative for a supportive home for homeless, addicted men. Apparently the group planned to erect the home on a vacant lot in the downtown core.
For two years they planned the initiative which required them to lobby for a change to the zoning for the area. What they neglected to do was to involve local businesses, land owners and residents of the area.
Fearing that the initiative would be unpopular and hoping to avoid defeat, their marketing and media efforts concentrated on delivering an overwhelming show of support for the zoning change during the city council’s public hearing.
The group’s efforts spectacularly backfired when angry stakeholders accused them of subterfuge. Although the council vote was evenly split, the mayor’s casting vote was against them for this very reason. They were left with no alternative other than to find a new location for the project. They were also left with a tarnished reputation.
In planning their approach, it appears that their Public Relations agency neglected to advise them to take a less controversial approach by involving all stakeholders in frank discussions and work at building a rapport.
Cooper advises businesses to avoid this mistake at all costs. “If you cannot build a relationship with your market that leads them to know, like and trust you,” she says, “no amount of expensive agency help and media coverage will be able to help you ‘sell’ your idea to them.”
Cooper’s clients agree. “… she understands that true success is dependent on building good relationships,” say Chris Antingham-Holdsworth of Enigmatic Solutions.
She advises small businesses to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by modern social media to engage their audience in a meaningful way. “For the first time we are now able to not only talk to a market, we’re also able to hear what they have to say to us. It’s time we all joined in the conversation. Having your customers support you publicly in the media is far more powerful than touting your own benefits.”
Businesses that focus on building relationships rather than on marketing will end up with better results longer term than those who rely on too aggressive sales tactics.
As Cooper reminds us, no matter how many things go right at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the public will always remember the orange water and the anti-gay arrests. She adds that, in a similar vein, the Abbotsford downtown business owners, land owners and residents will forever remember the community services group more for how they handled this situation than for their many good services.
If you would like to know more about how to make sure you’re represented favorably in online media, feel free to visit http://jackiecooper.net