A charity changing its marketing focus in the face of cuts
One of the few large capital spending projects to emerge unscathed from the Coalition Government’s Spending Review was the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The budget for the Olympic Delivery Authority, responsible for constructing the venues, has been left intact. The organising committee (Locog), which is responsible for marketing the Games, is funded via its sponsors and so remains largely unaffected.
However, one of the primary focuses of London 2012’s marketing is ensuring a sustainable legacy for London and the UK after the event. This relies not merely on centralised activities, but also on hundreds of individual community schemes, endorsed by Locog’s non-commercial Inspire campaign.
Many of these schemes are not protected from government cuts and one of the charities that will be assessing its budget is StreetGames, which brings opportunities to play sport to young people in disadvantaged communities. A three-year partnership between StreetGames and Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola was announced in October, with endorsement from the Inspire campaign.
And the charity will need the help of the soft drinks giant more than ever. Coke will fund community events and training courses for sports coaches. Coca-Cola Great Britain country manager Jon Woods says the tie-up is “a major step towards meeting our Olympic goals”.
He continues: “By drawing on the appeal of the Olympic Games and the popularity of our brands, our ambition is to encourage positive behaviour change among a traditionally hard-to-reach audience.”
Despite this high-profile backing, which will protect part of the charity’s activities, StreetGames’ individual local projects still depend on public money, which is now in doubt after the Spending Review. Chair Norman Turner says bodies such as Sport England that might fund the projects will be reassessing its budgets, while organisations that operate in partnership with the charity, such as local authorities, schools and community associations, will also be under pressure to cut their costs.
As a result, the resources used in all aspects of the charity’s operations, including marketing, will be reviewed. Turner adds, however: “To achieve our core objectives we must be able to promote our role and activities.” The money available to do this might be depleted, but he says that rather than scaling back marketing activity, StreetGames will instead concentrate its communications in different areas.
These include social media, where the charity already runs Twitter and Facebook accounts. Turner says that traditional communications networks – formed through trustees’ business links with government, sports governing bodies and corporate sponsors – will be even more important. In this way, StreetGames aims to take advantage of the chance to “piggy-back” on communications from the likes of Sport England, Locog and Coca-Cola, using the Olympics as a springboard.
He says: “In our area of activity, this really is a never-to-be-repeated opportunity. It is absolutely vital to maximise the catalyst of the Olympic Games.”