Olympic Gold: Lessons from the 2012 London Olympic Games

I didn’t plan to blog three times about my London experience. Sorry if you have heard enough! Hopefully, third time is the charm?

But the more times I have recounted my holiday to people the more I realize what a wonderful professional experience the Games were. I cannot exaggerate what a magnificent demonstration of event management they were to behold. In fact, event management is not a lofty enough title. This was brand management. This was client fulfillment. This was satisfying your customer. This was delivering on your value proposition. This was brand experience personified.

Continue reading “Olympic Gold: Lessons from the 2012 London Olympic Games”

Games and Frontiers: European Vacation Stirs a Range of Feelings

My blog needs a vacation. It’s feeling slighted.

It knows I’m on vacation. Last week the Olympics, this week Normandy.

Don’t side with my blog by calling me spoiled. It can see my entire family is on vacation. It doesn’t need new allies.

My blog is feeling treated like a dog. It should feel worse, because my dog is also away, at a friend’s cottage. How does that work?!

By coincidence, my sister is on vacay right now as well. On the West Coast, California style. Her husband used to play football with my buddy Rico. He’s chilling on the East Coast, Hampton Beach style. There is no deep connection here. I’m just trying to make sure my blog feels as crummy as possible. Even if I have to resort to entirely random connections.

Continue reading “Games and Frontiers: European Vacation Stirs a Range of Feelings”

Cheer to the End

Words escape me.

With powerful memories of the Vancouver Olympics and Whistler Paralympics still fresh in my mind, l booked a trek to the London Games. Yes, I’m incredibly spoiled.

I write to you from Olympic Stadium at this very moment.
The appropriate words to describe how I feel are far beyond my writing skills or even my fictional powers. In part because I was worried that after spending all the time and money to get here that it wouldn’t be as amazing as the 2010 Games.

Silly me. It is unreal here.

Continue reading “Cheer to the End”

An Open Letter to All 2012 Canadian Sponsorship Forum Delegates

I want to thank you for joining us in Montréal last week.

It was fun.
Thank you for honouring Marc Kielburger with the five-minute standing ovation that he so richly deserved. I know many of you were moved to tears by his presentation about the work that Me to We and Free The Children perform.

Your enthusiasm for all of the speakers was remarkable. Whether it be learning how to reach youth in
Québec through the wisdom of Danick Archambault of Astral TVPlus or how to touch the hearts of consumers through the passion of Nancy Marcus of Kruger Products or understanding how to do more with less via Michelle (sister of Olympian hoopster Kim Smith) and her teammate Louise Della Fortuna of Energizer.

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The Crazy 8: Triumph and Tears at Oxfam Trailwalker

Ever heard the expression “Vegas Mile”?

In simple terms, it means the distance between you and an object that appears close but is really far away. Such as a mountain. Or retirement. Or your vacation. Or losing 20 pounds.

Okay the last three were not the right examples. “Vegas Mile” does refer to the trick your mind plays on you when you eyeball a destination and think it’s much closer than it really is. Try it someday. On the Prairies. On Water. On the Vegas Strip.

I think if there was a contagious disease of having “Vegas Mile,” or “VM” for short, it certainly infected dozens of participants at the Oxfam Trailwalker event last weekend in cottage country Ontario. If you don’t know Trailwalker, it’s a 100-km hike that must be completed in 48 hours by all four members of your team.

To call it a hike is unfair. It’s like calling the Olympics a game of tag.

It’s a mental, physical, spiritual and anthropological challenge.

Continue reading “The Crazy 8: Triumph and Tears at Oxfam Trailwalker”

Lesson 13: Forecast for 2012 Varying and Ripe for Rainmakers

CSLSLessons Learned in 2011: Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study

For sponsors, sponsees and agencies, the forecast for the upcoming year was that most see a glass half full scenario, with 35.9 per cent of sponsors expecting to spend more, 58.8 per cent of sponsees expecting more revenue and 70.3 per cent of agencies expecting more billing.

While 48.4 per cent of sponsors plan on similar spending to last year, 32.5 per cent of sponsees expect similar revenue and 8.1 per cent of agencies expect similar billing.

Agencies had the most reserved expectations, with 21.6 per cent predicting less billings, whereas 15.6 per cent of sponsors plan to spend less and only 8.8 per cent of sponsees projected less revenue.

Continue reading “Lesson 13: Forecast for 2012 Varying and Ripe for Rainmakers”

Ha Ha Ha: Being Funny in a Speech is No Laughing Matter

One of the time-honoured secrets of speech making is to start with a joke.
Easier said than done.

Not that there is a shortage of material in this world. You can borrow a joke from a speaker you’ve heard in the past. Tread dangerously with an inappropriate line you picked up from the drunken MC at your cousin’s wedding. Search the “www” and commit larceny by using someone else’s material. If you’ve been drinking you may think it wise for some reason to try to write your own. Or if you’re a bonehead, you can always pick someone to make fun of.

I’ve tried all of the above and more. Unfortunately, I think I’ve used the “pick on the innocent” option much too frequently. It’s the chicken’s way out, but it’s far too easy.

But being truly funny. Wow. That’s an art. A craft. A science. Is it a gift? I would say to a point. But it’s a gift that needs the preparation, practice and refinement of an Olympic ski jumper.

I have been thinking about “being funny” in preparation for chairing the 2012 Canadian Sponsorship Forum. I’ve told my team that we need to be funny. Not silly. But funny. Forum is loaded with great information, research and inspiration. Serious stuff. Continue reading “Ha Ha Ha: Being Funny in a Speech is No Laughing Matter”

She’s Grand

We all have our cute names for the projects or initiatives we love. When we create something from scratch, conjured by the heights of our imagination, and fermented by the hard work of many hands; there is no greater feeling.

This past weekend was one of those moments for me. The inaugural Nike High School Grand Prix, held at Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto, featured over 250 athletes from all over Canada. Built with our partners at School Sport Canada, and obviously entitled by Nike Canada, the Grand Prix was designed to be a celebration of high school track and field. Boy was it ever.

But to get you to read further, I am not going to painstakingly take you through the schedule, the special events or the exhaustive media coverage. No, I want to tell you a story. Continue reading “She’s Grand”

RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest Gets “Electro-fied”

Mark Monahan, Executive Director of the Ottawa Bluesfest — *ahem* the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest — had a lot to sing about on Tuesday night.

Horrible music pun, I know.

I should have toned it down. Especially since he is a rockin’ client of ours. Duly noted.

No? Not even a little grin?

Okay, back to this week’s lyrics.

Monahan and his merry band of festival conductors, marched into the Ottawa War Museum to announce the headliners for the 2012 RBC (sorry branding
police) Bluesfest. Continue reading “RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest Gets “Electro-fied””

Perfect Lie

I hate golf.

I hate playing it. Hate watching it on TV. Hate how long it takes. Hate how bad I am at it. Hate how much it costs. Hate that everyone in my industry is better at it than me.

Candidly, if you ever played with me you may come to believe that golf hates me even more. I swing like I am trying to kill a bee. My feet fly out of my spikes like a parachuter. My body swings into a corkscrew of tangled parts. I putt with my legs split at the precise angle to take a #2 on the green without getting any on my shoes. My tee shots are so erratic that I thought that “Dick Out” was slang for mulligan.

Speaking of terminology, allow me to qualify my use of the term “hate.” I don’t actually hate the game. It’s probably more accurate that I’m a hater. But I don’t think I am alone. Most people are haters of things they suck at.
But if I am a hater, then surely I must now be rightfully considered a liar. Because dial me back to late Sunday afternoon, and there I was glued to my 55” Panasonic. Continue reading “Perfect Lie”