Speaking the Language of the Olympics

Get that Contract Signed (and Torch Lit) with an Olympic Approach

The Summer Olympics are a convocation of global goodwill, the pinnacle of human physical achievement, a giant two-week party. They are also huge business, with enormous financial possibilities for the host city. This weekend, the spotlight shines on London as it hopes to not only impress with athletic competition, but with world-class accommodations, culture, facilities, and hospitality.

Preparing for a fun few weeks of television and media coverage, I’ve been thinking about the Games as a business, and its host city a vendor, and how so much of the interaction between the Olympic Committee and London mirrors the customer/supplier relationship we all understand.

Like any piece of business, the bidding process—just “winning” the work—is half the battle. London won its Olympic bid over world cities like Paris, Madrid, New York City and Moscow. Venues, security and infrastructure are all key to a successful bid, but there is another less tangible quality that may have sealed the deal for London: language.

In an impassioned presentation to the IOC, Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organizing Committee said:

“London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, constantly renewing itself, and now home to 200 ethnic communities, who speak a total of 300 languages. We want to involve all of these people and communities in delivering our Games.”

And that’s the way to target any international business. Speak to your customers on their terms, and communicate that you can deliver a great experience in their language, either for themselves or for their audience.

In a way, GM Voices provides companies with the resources they need—translation, localization, voice talent, recording—to stage “London Olympic bids” in international markets. We help businesses communicate definitively that they’re serious about delivering a winning solution, whether it’s technology, consumer goods, professional services, or global sporting contests (OK, not yet).

As the Olympics begin, we’ll obviously be following our country (U-S-A! U-S-A!) and cheering our favorite competitors to victory. But we’ll also be keeping close watch of the newswires to make sure that London fulfills its promise of bringing a globally hospitable experience to visitors from hundreds of countries, languages, and ethnic communities.

It may be Games, but it’s all business, and the right language can help you get that torch lit (and contract signed) like nothing else.

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