2014 olympics

By Brian Sutter

The 2014 Olympics in Sochi have seemed like nothing short of a horror story for journalists, athletes and spectators so far. From getting trapped in elevators to unfinished hotels, the media focus has been more on these amusing stories than the winter sports themselves. However, there are lessons to take away from these mishaps that could have your business going for the gold.

Mishap: No-Yo

Russia has decided to implement a devastating Chobani ban in Sochi. This is a huge blow to Team USA: depriving athletes of their tasty Greek yogurt. According to sources, the Chobani is being held in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey because the yogurt doesn’t fit with Russia’s customs certifications. Who knows if all of these protein-packed snacks will go to waste before ever making it to Russia?

  • LESSON: Stay on Track

Anything could go awry when shipping items overseas. As a small business you may provide products across the country and even overseas. For example, getting your items to Russia for the Sochi Olympics on time could be tricky. Not only do you take the risk of losing your package in the midst of the chaos, there are strict customs regulations you need to research beforehand. This particular situation could use the help of a little package tracking technology. As a business, it is important to see where your products are and when they will arrive to their destination, in order to keep production running smoothly. Whether shipping within the states or across borders, it is a good idea to always stay on track with your packages.

Mishap: #SochiProblems

Russia claimed that they were 97 percent ready for the Olympics this year. However, saying that Sochi wasn’t exactly prepared is a bit of an understatement. Workers trying to finish paving the streets of the Olympic Village, hotels still under construction, and not to mention all those strange unfinished toilets. How are you supposed to use the restroom if toilets are still missing the pipes? It got so bad that there were tweets from journalists using the hashtag #SochiProblems and over 300,000 followers of the @SochiProblems handle. All of these issues plus numerous others do not fit in that 3 percent “not ready” window, Russia.

  •  LESSON: Be Prepared or be Honest

 Don’t rush something just to get it done on time. If you and your employees are working efficiently, you won’t have to rush in the first place. It should go without saying that it is essential to work ahead on projects and that procrastination can be deadly. Sochi proves that this may not be taken seriously enough. In the professional world, it is best to be honest and transparent. Saying that you are behind on a project and asking for help will usually turn out better in the end than presenting something sloppy. And please, make sure not to put two toilets side-by-side in a single bathroom stall.

Mishap: Safety Last

What is better: no water in your hotel room or toxic yellow water coming from the sink? Chances are neither seem appealing to guests. But it may be better than coming into your hotel room only to find that a pack of stray dogs already checked themselves in. There have also been records of hotel employees coming and going from guests’ rooms whenever they please. Oh, and be careful of the uncovered manholes while walking down the sidewalks. Just by hearing about these mishaps, taking a trip to Russia is now probably not on the top of anyone’s travel list.

  • LESSON: Play it Safe

 You don’t want the appearance of the office to scare away consumers or potential employees. If Sochi teaches us anything, it is that the appearance and upkeep of your facilities really do matter. A business deserves a safe environment to grow and develop. You don’t want to have missing lights and doorknobs falling off doors in your office. Another aspect to think about is that this doesn’t just stop at physical appearance of your work environment. The employees who have a positive attitude and act with ethical behavior are just as important in generating a safe work environment.

Smart Move: MegaFaces

Sochi may have gotten something right this year though with the “MegaFaces” wall that is on display in Olympic Village in the MegaFon pavilion. This huge wall created by London designer Asif Khan will display 3D portraits of fans’ faces. The participating fans will have their pictures taken in a 3D photo booth and will be given a card with a unique barcode. That barcode is then scanned to appear on the screen within one minute. 3D photo booths will be located at various MegaFon retail stores around Russia to get the public involved as well. This wall may just distract fans from all that has gone wrong in Sochi so far.

  • LESSON: Make it Interactive

There is always a fun way to promote your brand or company that could break through the boring clutter of normal advertising. A good tactic to consider is to incorporate interactive elements in a campaign. Meaning it is important to get your target market involved in order to generate participation and awareness. Using the “MegaFaces” wall as an example, the simple way of getting fans involved through scanning barcodes is genius.

While Sochi may not go down in history as the most successful Winter Olympics, there is still enough to learn from the event  – and some cool ideas – that may help businesses in the future.

Brian Sutter is Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies.