The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the parent organization for the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding, was facing growing criticism from a fragmented set of internal and external stakeholders – from athletes, parents and coaches to trustees, sponsors and donors. Even fans were beginning to chime in. With some battles being fought in the media, USSA was at risk of losing major donors and sponsors.
Linhart PR created a Stakeholder Communications Assessment to understand each audience’s perceptions and expectations of USSA’s role and “brand promise.” We conducted in-depth research, including quantitative and qualitative surveys among each group and interviews with dozens of key individuals. After analyzing the data and feedback, Linhart PR developed targeted recommendations for repairing the organization’s reputation and improving stakeholder relationships through enhanced communication.
Linhart PR’s stakeholder audit and actionable recommendations are credited as key factors in helping USSA improve its communications with key audiences leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where 17 of the organization’s athletes were on the podium and won 21 medals. Compared to Torino Olympics only four years earlier — where the team fell well short of its goal of eight medals — the improvement was remarkable.