This post is a great excuse to tell you a bit more about me; what I do, stuff I love and where the two came together rather unexpectedly at a recent visit to the Velodrome.
Before I begin this post I really ought to introduce myself.
I’m Suzanne Golder, content lead for Pauley Creative. I’m responsible for driving the delivery of successful content strategy for our clients.
My recent visit to ride at the Velodrome brought two of the things that I love together. Construction and Cycling.
10 years ago I accepted my first job in the construction industry for Sarnafil. And I became a roofing geek.
Now the range of construction products I’m geeky about extends all the way from the roof to the floor and includes lots of elements in between.
Because of this I’ve spent 5 years thinking about the Olympic park as a construction product marketer.
However, on a sunny Monday in January I swapped content creation in the office for cycle training, at what was the London 2012 Velodrome.
I can’t begin to explain how amazingly mind-blowing the day was. A fixed wheel bike on a terrifyingly steep slope filled me with dread at the start of the day. But after a couple of hours training, delivered by two very talented and motivational coaches, we were whizzing round the track in Team Chase formation lead by a potential future Olympian. Well, at least the girls were…
The boys, whose cycling ability off the track far exceeds the girls, were fast and powerful on the track but took a bit longer to get their formation right.
In the break between sessions and before the timed activities of the afternoon, we left the track and headed up through the incredible facility to re-fuel.
The walk through the building, for someone who appreciates the work and skill behind construction, got me thinking about what it took to bring this building to life.
The non-public areas of the velodrome are predominately concrete, raw and exciting (well they were for me in the anticipation of track time). How must the athletes have felt going in to compete?
Only those who know the challenges of achieving the differing concrete performance and the finishes required to each area, floors and walls, know that it’s much more than just concrete.
Inside the building, the stringent air tightness and temperature regulations for the track seem simple enough, but not when the building envelope has to deliver the required performance with little tolerance.
But it wasn’t just the Velodrome. Most of my day was spent in awe of the former Olympic Park.
As I drove into Stratford a sense of the scale of what was achieved by tens of thousands of companies overwhelmed me. And I was proud to have been a part of it.
I saw all the elements of case studies I’d written come to life in front of me.
The complex concrete formwork in the Aquatics Centre. The innovative decking through-out the park. The eaves system on the velodrome. All these projects carefully researched and written by us were now telling me their own story.
Instead of seeing buildings I saw skills, the skills of the construction industry, from specification to site and the buildings use today, post-Olympics. Skills that made this project come to life.
Promoting the projects
I say I’ve been thinking about the park for 5 years but it may be even more if I take into consideration the Olympic projects highlighted, back at specification stage, as something to progress once complete.
Then the projects were completed and we couldn’t talk about them, much less promote them.
The Olympics began… still no talking allowed; unless you followed the huge ‘No Marketing Rights’ guidelines document, kindly supplied in pdf format.
Finally in early 2013 The British Olympic Association (BOA) ‘supplier recognition scheme’ began. The scheme allows the companies which helped build the Park, venues and provided goods and services for the Games to promote their work on the London 2012 Games.
And promote we did… Case studies, technical articles and blog posts. This activity tried to demonstrate the complex requirements of a range of buildings all with exacting standards to deliverthe highest possible performance.
Strategy and team-work wins
Back on the track for the afternoon session it was time to put our newly acquired track skills into practice. It really is the small things that make everything come together.
Just like the elements of the construction industry all around us, something simple can be critical to success. It’s my job to find these elements and demonstrate their importance through interesting and informative content.
4 hours track training incorporated so many unknown simple skills. These skills lead to a Team Chase win for the girls (albeit supported by a hopeful future Olympian) over the faster and more powerful boys.
It just goes to show that simple strategy and team-work wins over un-channelled power and strength every time.
So there you have it, my confession to construction product geekiness… and a bit of insight into what else I love.
I’m heading back to my desk for more strategy and teamwork, this time for content creation instead of cycling!
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