By David Owen at at the Legacy Lives 2010 Conference

March 4 - Bidding is good, but winning is better - that was the message of Vero Communications chairman Mike Lee’s contribution to today’s Legacy Lives 2010 conference, held in the heart of London’s Docklands not far from the 2012 Olympic Park.

Focusing on the winning campaign mounted by Rio, the Brazilian city that is to host the 2016 Olympic Games, Lee, a key figure in both this and the London 2012 bid, said: "There is no doubt about it, the benefits of bidding are multiplied enormously if you win."

Among factors important to putting a successful campaign together, the communications guru said it was important for cities to "understand you are in an election campaign.

"You have got to understand there are voters out there who are your ultimate targets."

Lee said it was also key for bidders to understand that they were competing to deliver an event for the international sports federations to whom the rights typically belonged.

"Understanding the nature of the race and where it finishes is very important," he said.

Emphasising how developing what he termed "the right narrative" was "absolutely crucial", Lee explained how Rio 2016 built a brand "that wasn’t just about parties on the beach".

This successful quest to reassure the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that it would not be taking an undue risk by staging its flagship event for the first time in South America culminated with the participation of the governor of Brazil's central bank in the all-important final presentation to IOC member s last year in Copenhagen.

"If you don’t have formal guarantees from government, at least in megabids, I don’t think you can succeed any longer," Lee said.

Other speakers emphasised how even losing bids could be highly beneficial for cities, with Eamonn O’Rourke, head of leisure for Manchester City Council, arguing that it had been Manchester’s two unsuccessful Olympic bids that had "galvanised" that fast-changing city’s appetite for the sort of major sports events it has staged in recent years. 

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