Day seven: Inside Loughborough’s sporting triumphs

FACT: If Loughborough was a country it would have finished The Games in 17th place on the medal table, ahead of the likes of New Zealand and Canada.

Today’s Countdown to Christmas article is by Emma Leech, @EmmaJ70, Director of Marketing and Advancement at Loughborough University.

She first shared the story of their campaign via my blog in September and I’m republishing it as part of my IC advent series.


The inside story of Loughborough’s sporting triumphs

Loughborough University in Leicestershire, UK, has enjoyed its most successful Olympic Games for a number of decades, winning twelve medals, five of which were gold, and collected by no fewer than 17 athletes.

Loughborough University has a global reputation for sport dating right back to its inception in 1909. Sport galvanises much of our community and sparked our strapline ‘Inspiring winners since 1909’ –

Loughborough people work hard, play hard, and are team players with a spirit that impacts on everything they do.

The Olympics, and the current Paralympics, offered an amazing opportunity for the University marketing and communications team to raise the University’s profile internally and externally, and to harness the advocacy and support of the entire #LboroFamily.

Out of the total students involved in the Olympics, 22 were current or former students of Loughborough University, and in total, they won more gold medals than any other UK University.

We wanted to make sure this phenomenal achievement was captured and celebrated for the whole community to enjoy, which is why we maximised our use of social media, video, and a dedicated website to ensure we didn’t miss a trick.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Launched #Lboro2Rio on Twitter via @LboroRio2016 account set up to document all of the Rio-related news, updates, events, and spotlight features regarding our athletes. This included good luck videos from our athletes, including famous alumni, as well as video profiles on the athletes taking part.


  1. Made sure we maintained a link with our athletes and raised the profile of their Loughborough connection in the process. Our #LboroLegends messages of support and video interviews from our famous alumni athletes also made an impact and featured Lord Seb Coe and Paula Radcliffe MBE.

The #LboroLegends video via Facebook reached 160,000 people, received 23,000 views, 384 likes and 216 shares.

A range of good luck messages from existing, iconic Loughborough Olympians helped galvanise the community at large.

  1. We produced countdown pieces detailing which members of the #LboroFamily were taking part in which event. These were shared across a very wide range of University channels to engage staff, students, alumni, and the wider community.

Shares were significant, especially by the University’s main accounts, with our behind the scenes videos of the athletes attracting hundreds of thousands of views and generating massive affinity and engagement with our intended audience.

Additionally, these videos also provided us with great material to support our external media relations and profile raising work.

  1. We tapped into our research strengths to position our academics as experts on the Games and this was incredibly well received by the media as well as across our core internal audiences.

  1. We made sure we monitored engagement from the Twitter community, including from students, alumni, the HE sector, and some familiar faces – go team Loughborough!

The above mentioned Ben Ryan video via Facebook reached 474,000 people, received 84,000 views, 1,900 likes, 1,328 shares, and 117 comments.

Education consultant and speaker Eric Stoller who blogs for Inside Higher Ed was impressed by Loughborough University’s #Lboro2Rio social media activity and chose to showcase a photo from the University’s Instagram account as part of a round-up on 21 UK Universities on Instagram Worth Following.


  1. We created a suite of videos that were uploaded to our Rio 2016 playlist on YouTube which captured behind the scenes footage of our athletes in training as well as interesting interviews with the team behind the athletes.

And the good news is that our association with the Rio Olympics doesn’t just end there – we recently welcomed Olympic champion gymnast Max Whitlock to campus where he delivered a gymnastics masterclass as part of the 2016 School Games.

We interviewed Max Whitlock while he was at the School Games. The video via Facebook reached 93,000 people, received 27,000 views, 1,100 likes and 109 shares.

Post author: Emma Leech.

Thank you Emma, congratulations Loughborough University!

First published on the All Things IC blog 12 September 2016. Republished 7 December 2016.

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