With less than three months to go until Rio 2016 it is time for clubs across Europe to set out their own strategic plans on how best take advantage of the games. Much of the golf media has been contemplating the possibility that the few top names taking part will not be able to garner enough attention. However, it is not these names that will be attracting the men, women and junior who have never even set foot on a driving range to your club.
It is the excitement, competitive spirit and possibility of a small nation taking on the world and winning gold that will make these novices consider picking up a 9 Iron for the first time.You only have to look at the state of British Cycling after London 2012 to see the possibilities. Before the outstanding results obtained by the team, few names were known to but a small dedicated fan base in the UK.
After the games, Pendleton, Trott & Hoy became known in every household, bike sales increased by 71% and the number of people who cycle regularly more than doubled. These new found enthusiasts have only grown in number in the intervening years.
So what can you and your course do to ensure you benefit from golf being in the Olympics for the first time in over a century? Here we aim to give you pointers on what is possible and what to avoid in order to ensure that you see the value of these games.
- Take advantage of the connection between your club and your nation’s team. Whilst a connection with the golfers would be great, ensure to get behind any Olympian from your local area. Promote those connections in placements on your site’s home page, in email marketing campaigns and on social media. If there is no immediate connection, try linking to hot events or athletes. For example, take 10% off a product if the team wins a gold medal on the track that day, or discount a service if an athlete makes it to the next round.
- Ensure your online Tee booking service or website’s keyword and SEM (search engine marketing) campaigns are adjusted to reflect current Olympic trends that consumers are interested in. Internet searches for all sports skyrocket during the games, you want to make sure that your club is there to make the most of this enthusiasm
- Make the most of consumer patriotism by displaying your national flag in house and online. Make sure to keep an eye on the news coming out of Rio to ensure that you can edit your home page, send a quick email campaign or use social media to capitalise on any Olympic news that is relevant to your nation, area or golf in general.
- A recent report by RadiumOne has found that, in the UK, 76% of TV viewers will be watching the opening ceremony. Whilst the timing of this year’s ceremony may make a direct viewing party difficult in Europe, a well-planned and advertised event to mark the start of Games will get your club in the local news. Thus placing you high in the listings for the inevitable web searches that will come once the golf starts.
- The men’s event is played between the 11th & 14th of August, with the Women’s competition taking place between the 17th & 20th. The weekends during and following the events are a prime time to take advantage of the upsurge in interest in our sport. They are therefore the perfect dates for an open day, giving discounts and inviting in first time golfer or for the start of junior summer school day/weekend courses, making sure to open up facilities to Mum & Dad to watch the game and get to know the social side of your club too.
There are also a few things that you should ensure not to do. The Rio 2016 brand, imagery and language is protected by trademark that tends to be ferociously guarded and as such should be avoided. There are ways around this problem though. Marks & Spencers, a British Retailer ran a campaign for London 2012 called “on your Marks”, featuring a pair of their heels on starting blocks. Use your connection to your national team or golf in general to make creative campaigns that will link you to the games, without using the Olympic brand.
What is most important to remember is to make sure that any potential new recruits feels welcome and want to return to your club. If the number of new recruits is not as large as first hoped, remember that you are in it for the long game. Not only does inclusion of the Golf in the games widen our sports exposer, but a recent study found that the 85 countries that invest most in sport only invest in sports that are within the Olympic program. Those were 85 countries, including your own, where golf was getting no direct help from the government, something that is to change now gold, silver and bronze is on offer.
These findings were key to key golfing institutions getting behind the inclusion of golf in the Olympics in the first place. Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner has stated that it is what “turned us around and we agreed to go into the Olympics primarily focused on growing the game and recognizing that, overnight, there would be coffers from governments opened up to provide financial support to grow the game”. Only by getting fully behind golfs inclusion and ensuring that you are easily accessible to this growth will you be able to take advantage of the games.