With less than 45 days to go before the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis is admitting there has been strong pockets of resistance to the on-going efforts by his executive to change the face of the national sporting body.
The TTOC has been forging new linkages between athletes and citizens and developing new revenue streams through corporate partnerships and utilising its brand to enhance its finances.
Despite these initiatives, Lewis noted that detractors were out in full, scrutinising and challenging his executive’s strategies. “I know there are people who may have questions and doubts but I am comfortable with that. When you are trying to be a game changer, you have to expect that. Change is always uncomfortable. Some people accept it. Some people are still trying to understand it, but at the end of the day it’s about different eras.
I am really privileged to build on the foundation of nine previous presidents who all did fantastic jobs. I see the TTOC entering a phase where we have to be more market oriented. We have to be more brand conscious, more involved in brand management and we have to be more relevant to the modern generation; the modern way of doing things,” he said.
Lewis continued, “Some of it is an adaptation of what we did before. Some of it is new: the whole Team TTO, the whole text-to-donate that allows us to reach out to John and Jane public. These are different and not withstanding the challenges, we will overcome it. People are buying into what we are trying to do.
We are getting good responses from corporate T&T in the context of understanding the whole athlete-centred approach and the 10Golds by 2024 vision. We have been getting a lot of good feedback from the public especially the younger demographic. The cultural partnership that we have been doing is a little different to the past.
What it has done is allow us in a very difficult economic climate to put out different revenue streams that target different demographics. As we move along, we are not afraid to make mistakes. We learn from it and we continue evolving. It’s been a great experience for me. It’s now into the heat of the action with 45 days to go. It’s exciting times.”
The roll-out of team TTO as a separate brand from the TTOC and the 10Golds24 according to the TTOC head were not just about hitting a target, but rather an idea which underscored national confidence. In essence, he said, it served to epitomise the rich aesthetics that embodied the people of T&T, be it in the world of sport, culture or entertainment.
“We are evolving, adapting even, transforming into a modern, vibrant, relevant brand that operates in the digital space and that our athletes are at the centre of what our brand is all about–brand TTO. It required us to do things differently from where people saw the TTOC from a marketing and branding perspective. We have number of things coming up.
We will be keeping the media busy. We will be keeping the public busy. One can only hope and expect that at the end of the day when people look back at this phase of the Olympic Committee’s history, as we celebrate 70 years, it was part of reinforcing the legacy and creating sustainable revenue streams and a different way of generating funding for the Olympic Committee,” said Lewis.