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Communicator of the Week: Greg Rutherford

4th June 2013

One way individuals and businesses can ensure effective communication is to refute untuths and correct wrong information. Even better if this can then become a springboard to positive PR.

This is why I was heartened to see Olympic gold medal winning long jumper Greg Rutherford do just this last week.

Despite winning gold at the London Olympics on the now fabled ‘super Saturday’ the hoped for lucrative sponsorship deals have not been forthcoming. For Rutherford, the Olympic legacy has been a battle to balance training and paid appearances in order to pay the bills. The public meanwhile assumed he was enviably wealthy.

When his kit sponsor offered him a negligible new contract he decided to correct wrong information. He did this by taking on the assumption that, like other 2012 medal winners such as Jessica Ennis, he was now raking it in.

He could have been overly aggressive and got his tone wrong but was careful in his choice of words, defending himself without attacking the companies such as Nike who once backed him or other athletes who have benefitted from commercial deals since last summer.

The best thing was how he turned a negative into a positive by seeing his difficulties as an opportunity. Rutherford is now launching his own clothing range and made much of this when discussing his predicament with the media.

I hope after his positive coverage this week Greg Rutherford has secured backing for his clothing brand and a couple of new sponsorship deals. He certainly deserves to after some savvy self-promotion which is why he is my Communicator of the Week.

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications

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