Trends for 2011 Part 1: London and the Olympic Games

The start of 2012 is still a year away, but 'Olympic thinking will dominate a lot of PR this year - for good and bad', says Keith Gabriel, senior account manager at Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

PR trend for 2011L London and the Olympics
PR trend for 2011L London and the Olympics

Scott Bowers, group director of comms at The Jockey Club, agrees: 'Brands, organisations and causes will try to "own" London in 2011, placing a stake in the ground before London 2012, especially competitors of Olympic sponsors.'

The challenge for brands that are not official sponsors is to negotiate the restrictions surrounding their involvement in the event. While non-sponsors cannot claim to be associated with the Olympics, there is nothing to stop them taking 'ownership' of London as a city.

33 Digital's Drew Benvie says the smart brands will be looking to start conversations about the issues affecting London: 'Forward planning is really important. If you are searching online for London and a particular service, brands want to be those that come up top. We are going to see a lot of websites changing the way they structure their content, and we are going to see social networks focusing on London as a community.'

As the event itself draws closer, Bell Pottinger's Kevin Read predicts: 'There will be opportunities particularly for brands that might be associated with bringing people to the capital for an experience, such as airlines and the hospitality industry. They will be furiously working at giving London a new coat of paint.'

But as Lansons' Tony Langham warns, the challenge for brands and for London as a whole is to make sure the Olympic fever does not peak too early and begin to generate cynicism.

Click here to see Cathy Bussey, features editor of PRWeek ask a panel of experts what they think are the key trends for 2011.

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