Social Change and Risk – CEO Blog

Two news items caught my attention over the past few weeks that made me think about social change and risk.

 The first was the ugly fight for the AOC Presidency between John Coates and Danni Roche which saw allegations of bullying and intimidation and has damaged our Olympic brand. The 2nd news story was about the latest rugby league drugs scandal which involved two  NZ players and then a Club Chairman– who was himself a triple Olympian – being caught by Police with illicit drugs.

It’s so sad to see these stories continuing to surface and there seems to be no end in sight. The dust has barely settled on the Essendon supplements saga and now this…

It must make the big corporates that invest so much money in connecting their brands to these sports through sponsorship and advertising wonder about the risk they are taking. How long will it be I wonder before one or more of them walk away from these sports or brands because the risk to their brand reputation is just too high?

We all know that customers are increasingly looking for brands to be good community citizens and to make the world a better place.  Companies that do it well are praised through social media and prosper and companies that do it badly are punished. Social media is only going to get bigger in the future, so that means the risk for sponsors only grows over time.

We also know that employees increasingly want their place of work to be doing something to make the world a better place. If they don’t get it at their workplace they leave to find it elsewhere.

So given all this, where are the big corporate brands in the disability sport space where you have global events like the Paralympics or the Special Olympics and home grown telegenic role models like Dylan Alcot who won gold in tennis and basketball and Kelly Cartwright who won a gold medal in London?

We know disability affects 1 in 5 and the National Disability Insurance Scheme being rolled out now is the biggest piece of national health reform since Medicare with funding more than doubling to $22Billion. All that ensures that disability is a high profile news topic for years to come. Yet the big corporates seem to be largely absent.

What’s holding them back from getting involved?

Where are the billboards lining the Monash freeway and the TV ads connecting the big corporate brands to these personalities and sports?

I’m so tired of wondering with every new world record if its genuine or just a matter of time till the testing authorities catch up to them.

C’mon Big Corporates – take the lead and use your sponsorship budgets to make a real difference. You might just be surprised at the public’s response and your risk management teams will love it.




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