At Redscout, understanding people and culture is our business, and it’s how we help brands tap innovation as their most powerful form of marketing. With the Olympics underway, we sat down with our own Associate Strategist Cassidy Krug - who competed as an Olympic diver in 2012 - to get an athlete’s perspective on the games. Cassidy will head to Rio this August on a #Scouting mission of 2016 Olympics. Stay tuned for her Scout’s-eye-perspective.
Who: Cassidy Krug
Position: Associate Strategist
Where: New York
Olympic Cred: 7th place in the 3-meter springboard (2012, London)
Career Highlights: 10-time national champion (2005-2011), silver and bronze medalist at the Pan American Games
Scout Fun Fact: Cassidy worked as a runner at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece
Q: What is the most important thing you learned in your athletic career?
A: I learned to appreciate the journey. Winning is awesome, and the Olympics was an epic moment, but it's hard to get to that point, if you don't enjoy the work. Diving taught me to appreciate small victories, learn from setbacks, embrace the process, and maintain perspective - lessons that have been very helpful in my current role as a strategist.
Q: What do you like most about the Olympics and why?
A: The Olympics are both a totally over over-the-top and totally pure experience. There are other multi-sport events, other global competitions and other arenas where elite athletes compete -- but not one of of them even compare to the Olympics. It's about passionate, talented people at their peak condition, trying to be the best in the world at the moment it matters most.
I really believe that all of of the glitz, the media, the marketing and sponsorships amplify the Olympics as the premier world stage. Without the world's attention, the Olympics would be just another sports competition.
Q: From an Olympic insider’s perspective, what should brand marketers know about the games?
A: I was in awe of the amount of support I got once I made the team. I got e-mails from my elementary school librarian, my long lost pen pal, friends of people I knew in high school, and friends of people who knew my parents in high school - all of them proud and excited to "know" someone who was competing. I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and my brother was quasi-famous after waving a Terrible Towel in the stands at my event. And I bet all 555 of this year's U.S. Olympians are experiencing the same thing. The Olympics isn't just about pride in your country, it's about pride in your city, state and community. Most brands focus on the major players, but I think there's a unique and scalable opportunity to highlight local connections and stories.
Q: How has your experience impacted how you approach strategy for your clients?
A: As a diver, I learned to always ask, "how can I make this better?" If you're trying to be the best in the world at something, you don't just rely on what's been done before. You study what everyone else has done, get to know your own unique strengths and needs, seek help from coaches and teammates, and figure out the best solution for you. Mining insights, identifying territories for innovation and finding new ways for brands to break through is similar in a lot of ways.
Like athletes, each brand is unique, with unique needs. There's no one-size-fits-all approach. But through better understanding the world, the brand, and those who use it, there's always a way to make the strategy better.
Q: What are you most excited to scout at the 2016 games in Rio?
A: My favorite moment from the 2004 Olympics, where I worked as a runner for NBC, wasn't in a competition venue - It was in a grassy patio behind a bar in Athens. The yard was packed with people from all different countries, all decked out face paint, wigs, ridiculous hats, bright colors and Mardi Gras beads. People from wildly different backgrounds were all shouting, toasting, trash talking and high-fiving, together. The vibe was electric, and whether their countries won or lost, it remained overwhelmingly positive.
In London, where I competed in 2012, I was walking through the mall near the Olympic Village and ran into a giant crowd of people around a small electronics store window display. They were watching Jessica Ennis, a local favorite, compete in the final event of the Women's Heptathlon. The mall errupted in cheers, and I think even some tears, when she won gold for London. And these weren't even people who had planned to watch the event. They just happened to walk by the electronics store and got totally caught up in the Olympic magic. I can't wait to experience these spontaneous moments in Rio.
Cassidy Krug is an associate strategist at Redscout.