Tag Archives: olympics

How 3 Lesser-Known Winter Olympians Earned PR Wins in Pyeongchang

The Winter Olympics has drawn to a close leaving us with plenty of memorable moments. From Shaun White’s triumphant return to the podium to Lindsey Vonn’s final Olympics performance, North Korea’s enthusiastic cheerleaders to tension around Vice President Mike Pence’s attendance – there were plenty of headlines made over the last few weeks.Olympic Flag | How 3 Lesser-Known Winter Olympians Earned PR Wins in Pyeongchang

It would have been easy to predict many of these story lines – but what’s more notable are some of the “stories behind the stories” that grabbed some ink and airtime. Here are three examples worth a look: Read more after the jump…

Platforms Make Tweaks to Inspire More Sharing


Whether it’s adding functionality or dropping old features, a few of our favorite social media platforms were out in full force this week making tweaks to entice users to share more content. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the latest changes, we’ve got you covered – including a step-by-step guide, an introduction to a new automated tool and a “must follow” list to get you warmed up for the Winter Olympics.


Adweek: Here’s How to Add a GIF to a Story Post
Recently, Instagram added the capability for users to add GIFs to their Stories posts. Been wondering how to get in on that action? Here’s a step-by-step guide complete with illustrations. Read more after the jump…

Three Things NBC and the Olympics Reminded Us About Content

Photo credit: Brian Godfrey

Photo credit: Brian Godfrey

I’m a guy who genuinely enjoys the Olympics. When you combine a few sports I know well with several sports I know absolutely nothing about – and then roll it all up with fierce competition and patriotic undertones…count me in 11 out of 10 times.

Unfortunately not everyone feels the same, and it showed with the TV ratings from the Rio Olympics – down 17 percent from the 2012 London games. A major part of the problem, it seems, was tape delayed programming and the subsequent social media spoilers. NBC’s approach to Olympic coverage in Rio reminded us of three very important things that hold true across the board when it comes to content:  Read more after the jump…

How to Avoid the Blame Game and Defend Your Reputation

When brands, organizations and people are publicly attacked, oftentimes the first reaction is to point the finger at others and begin the blame game.  How people respond to cutting criticism – being defensive and whiny or responding with dignity and grace – can make a huge difference in how the public reacts and responds.

Under Armour and its high-tech, wind tunnel-tested suits came under fire and were blamed by some on the U.S. speed skating team for the lackluster performances by the American skaters. After the U.S. team blamed the new suits, many skaters went back to their old, winning suits (also Under Armour). Unfortunately, the athletes still failed to win the expected medals.

Read more after the jump…

How (not) to Announce an Unpopular Decision

The International Olympic Committee turned some heads, and shocked an entire sport, by announcing on Tuesday that it will be removing the sport of wrestling from its 25 “core sports” for the 2020 Games. While the IOC insists the decision is merely a “recommendation” and isn’t “final,” experts say that any move toward reinstating wrestling – despite fast growing and vocal opposition on social media platforms – won’t impact the decision.

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While it is routine business for the IOC to review its 25 core sports following an Olympic year, what has many people up in arms is how surprising it was that wrestling – a sport that has been a part of every modern Olympics since 1896 – was even considered for removal.

Typically the IOC’s decisions on these matters are based on worldwide adoption/acceptance of a sport, or the need to appeal to a broader, younger audience. It was assumed that modern pentathlon – a sport that combines equestrian show jumping, fencing, freestyle swimming, a 3km run and pistol shooting,– would be the sport dropped from 2020 games. It only attracted 36 competitors at the 2012 London Games. But instead, it was wrestling, one of the Olympics’ more diverse sports with more than 200 countries competing at the 2012 London Games.

Wrestling and Olympic enthusiasts were quick to take to social media channels in protest.

Read more after the jump…

3-2-1… Countdown to Sochi 2014

U.S. women sweep moguls podium at Deer Valley on Jan. 31, 2013

This week, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association initiated its countdown to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Members of the American freestyle, snowboard, free ski and downhill teams were featured on a series of local and national media interviews discussing their expectations and preparations for the coming year.

The countdown is a tried and true public relations strategy for organizations of all shapes and sizes to drive news and interest in key topics. A former competitive freestyle skier, I usually track the U.S. women’s results, but to be perfectly honest, it’s been a busy winter. So it wasn’t until news about the recent American podium sweep of women’s moguls was included in broader coverage about the countdown to the Olympics that the news finally caught my eye, tapping into my love of the quadrennial winter event and reminding me of my intended plans to donate to the team this year.

Consider countdowns to milestone events, such as product launches, fundraising events and award ceremonies, as a way to attract additional media attention and build momentum leading up to pivotal news announcements.

Best and worst of the London Games: Crisis PR edition

With the 2012 Olympic Games officially over, it’s time to recap the best and worse from a crisis communication perspective.

Social Media Games creates winners and losers: The London Olympics was unofficially dubbed the first Social Media Games, as social networks such as Twitter enabled athletes to chat directly with their fans for the first time. As with anything new, there were some hiccups, most notably when two athletes were expelled for racist tweets and a teenager was arrested for threatening British diver Tom Daley on Twitter.

Read the nine other crisis communication lessons at Ragan’s PR Daily.

Rule #40: The Fine Line of Social Media Endorsements

Sponsorships and athletics go together like Jordan and Nike. And, like Jordan and Nike, the bigger the audience, the larger the dollar figure. Which is why the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) “Rule 40” has been so contentious during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The rule stipulates: “In accordance with Rule 40 (formerly 41) of the Olympic Charter, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board.”

Of course, the only IOC Executive Board “permitted” advertising comes from those brands and organizations that are official Olympic sponsors – McDonald’s, Visa, P&G, Coca-Cola, etc. In previous years Rule 40 has essentially been black and white: athletes can’t cash in on their gold medal performances until after the Games are over.

But how do social media channels figure into Rule 40? For most Olympic athletes, sponsorships are their main source of income. And many sponsors expect their athletes to tweet, post blogs and upload photos about their products or services. Increasingly, social media posts have become a part of an athlete’s sponsorship contract.

But the IOC took it a step further with another guideline: “Participants and other accredited persons are not permitted to promote any brand, product or service within a posting, blog or tweet or otherwise on any social media platforms or on any websites. Participants and other accredited persons must not enter into any exclusive commercial agreement with any company with respect to their postings, blogs or tweets on any social media platforms or on any websites, unless they have obtained the prior written approval of their relevant NOC.”

Many athletes, of course, are up in arms over this. You may have even seen the #WeDemandChange2012 hashtag being used by several Olympians. And even a few who have posted photos of themselves with “Rule 40” taped over their mouths.

As social media continues to become more and more part of everyone’s daily lives, these types of “grey area” issues will continue to pop up. In this case: where is the line between athletes capitalizing on the reach of the Olympics, and the Olympics capitalizing on the celebrity status of athletes?

What I like about this issue – whichever side you might be on – is that it emphasizes the neutralizing nature of social media. Conversations on social platforms clearly have tangible and far-reaching effects.

Jim Licko is a Senior Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at GroundFloor Media, and enjoys counseling his clients about the powerful nature of social media conversations. He also has new-found interests in archery, water polo and handball thanks to the 2012 London Olympic Games.