Olympic Committee Learns Lesson, Pivots on 2021 Communications Strategy

After 2.5 months, the International Olympic Committee seems to have seen the error of its ways. Back on March 3, as the coronavirus began to ramp up in several parts of the world, IOC president Thomas Bach encouraged athletes to continue training: the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were still on. 

Sure, back in early March much of the world was going about its “normal” business. But for a global organization with so many connections to partners not to be prepared, or at least acknowledge coronavirus, seemed almost irresponsible. 

It took the IOC another three weeks (March 24) to announce the postponement of the 2020 Games. 

Fast forward to two months later, and the Olympic Committee seems to be taking a more proactive approach. On May 20, Bach told BBC News the 2020 Games would be cancelled altogether if they cannot occur in summer 2021.

The IOC now seems to have learned from its previous faux pax, planning for a possible crisis and cancelation one year ahead. It's also not sugar-coating the news. It’s important for organizations and businesses to understand the seriousness of crisis and messaging preparedness. And being forthcoming with information is essential for all parties, including not only athletes, but vendors, employees and more. 

"There is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day,” Bach told the BBC.

It’s promising to see an organization learn from its initial mistakes and pivot toward a more clear and focused approach. 

Other organizations could probably take a hint from the IOC, particularly those that seem to want to hide their pivots. Take the CDC. Quietly, over the weekend, it a 60-page guidebook for reopening America. It made no announcement. This might have been the document that the White House un-released several weeks ago, but leaked to several media outlets. 

This guidebook is important information. It affects every single citizen and entity in the country, and was created by a trusted federal source, which is seen as the authority on health information. Instead of encouraging the press to distribute its content to the public, the bigger question is, why was the book's release hidden?

Transparency for every organization remains a key element during the COVID crisis. 

This article is part of PRNEWS' ongoing daily COVID-19 coverage.