The reputation battle continues between the two major events in the UK during 2012. Will the Olympics or the Jubilee achieve the highest score in terms of the management and measurement of the reputation of both momentous British occasions? And will one, neither or both be good for the communications business as an industry?
On the surface it would appear that there isn’t really a battle – one is about celebration, loyalty and has not one but two public holidays thrown in, the other has a massive sense of excitement but sentiment is tinged by a feeling of inconvenience and expense.
Take the Jubilee. The Queen is only the second UK monarch to mark 60 years on the throne and the celebrations that have begun and will continue until the much awaited double bank holiday weekend will have lasting memories for many. The payoff for time away from work is, hopefully, employees who return refreshed and relaxed, which should have a positive impact on enthusiasm and creativity, a vital ingredient in the PR industry, and certainly helps to infuse the event with a sense of goodwill.
Many are viewing the extra bank holiday for the Jubilee as a drain on resources – not what we need in the depths of economic gloom. But as we saw over the Royal Wedding anything which makes people feel good is likely to increase consumer confidence and stimulate the economy. That should flow through to confidence amongst our client base. Whether it will contribute a sufficient slug of growth to compensate for estimates suggesting that around £30bn will be wiped off economic output over this holiday period is unlikely. It’s also ironic that this bank holiday extravaganza falls at the time when the GDP figures are published, which may mean that the country will effectively be taking a week off to "celebrate" the fact that it has just gone back into recession.
But the estimated cost of an additional bank holiday pales into insignificance when we take the Olympics. The greatest show on earth’s brand reputation has been coloured by moaning about the £9.3bn spent on constructing and hosting the Games, even though the hopes are that this will be a Keynesian-style boost for the economy. The £300m already spent on tickets means the economy is guaranteed to grow by 0.1pc during London 2012, while surveys say overseas visitors will spend around £700m. There should also be long-term benefits from the Games promoting British businesses around the world and the regeneration of East London.
The positive PR messages seem to be continually overshadowed by concerns about transport, overcrowding, price hikes to exploit visitors. The reputation of the Games is being pulled down by issues rather than basking in the glory of the potential that it brings, including the boost to businesses in the communications industry – something that we don’t underestimate at MHP.