Major brands backing Games prepare nervously for potential troubles
The Sochi Winter Olympics is indisputably the most tense Olympic Games in many years. Mired in politically-charged debate since the announcement of its location, concerns over everything from mass protests and flash mobs to acts of terrorism have everyone involved on pins and needles.
Interviewed by USA Today’s Bruce Horovitz, BCM president Jonathan Bernstein offered his insights into the sponsors’ situation:
“They’re absolutely more nervous than in any previous Olympics,” says Jonathan Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management. “If any one of them were my client, I’d be jumping up and down shouting that they have to prepare.”
Crisis management is all about hoping for the best while preparing for the worst, which is why, as Jonathan explains, well-prepared sponsors will have two sets of ads ready to roll:
Major sponsors all have multimillion-dollar campaigns in place, many featuring Olympic athletes. Most also have, at least on paper, ads of compassion and support that could air following any incidents of terrorism. “Any delay in these communications would show you’re not as caring,” notes Bernstein.
Although the Games’ flagship sponsors are all seasoned enough to know better than to try to profit from tragedy, should something occur we’re all but certain to see some organizations attempt to take advantage, and even more take a reputation hit simply because they neglected to halt scheduled social media posts or marketing email blasts.
Don’t be one of those caught unaware, know the risks are high and be prepared to react accordingly.
The BCM Blogging Team