The success of Team GB at the Olympics was a story of remarkable team and individual achievements: the nation’s best medal haul in 108 years, more golds than China, and second in the medal table.
Since the Atlanta Games in 1996, where Team GB won only one gold, Britain is now a “sporting superpower” – collecting 27 golds in 2016 and trouncing the medal haul of countries such as Australia, who only managed to finish tenth overall in Rio.
Lottery funding has clearly played a huge role in the turnaround of our nation’s Olympic fortunes. According to the BBC, it has risen from just £5m a year before Atlanta to around £300m. But money is not the only way to win, as Leicester City proved to the world last season in the Premier League.
What Lottery funding enabled Team GB to do, more importantly, was strategically plan for the challenges ahead. To set targets and to bring together the necessary experts to help them build the foundations for success. London 2012 was outstanding. Could we do better at Rio 2016? The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’ with athletes not just beating but smashing the medal target that had been set.
To us, there are clear parallels between the events in Rio and competition for in-store success, particularly around levels of compliance when it comes to activating retail display campaigns.
Every successful retailer or brand is always focused on beating its personal best – pushing everything they do in-store from good, to better, to best. It’s why, as an industry, we should also continue to challenge existing compliance levels.
Many within the retail industry will celebrate compliance figures of 80-90%. But the danger is that in reality we are slipping into complacency, and are settling for something less than what could actually be achieved. Why shouldn’t your brand be the Roger Bannister of compliance? For years, experts said that it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. He proved them wrong. Perhaps more importantly, a year after he did it, so did 24 others.
Until all in-store campaign activations achieve 100% compliance we believe there is always room for performance improvement. And brands should too.
So, to honour the success of Team GB in Rio, make a promise to yourself, and to the brand(s) you have responsibility for managing in-store, by thinking back to your last great performance and being determined to go one better. You already know that you can get to that level – it’s not as if you have never got anywhere near it before. So shouldn’t you be challenging yourself, and those who support you to deliver your campaigns in-store to find ways of achieving more?
When it comes to in-store activations, achieving Bannister-like breakthroughs that prove fundamental game-changers may no longer be possible. Usain Bolt’s world record time in 100m, set in 2009, was only 28 seconds faster than that of Carl Lewis set 18 years earlier.
But that does not mean that we should pass up the opportunity for marginal gains.
Maybe you think, or have been told, that you have genuinely reached your limit. But have you really? Whether on the athletics track or in-store, boundaries can always be pushed; you just need the right support, encouragement, and focused investment to help propel in-store compliance to greater levels than you may ever have thought possible.