An acquaintance recently asked, somewhat sheepishly, "uhhhhh.. what is it that you do?"
It really sunk-in that the role of a media and public relations person (a.k.a. "flak," "PR dude," or "that one guy.") is perhaps not as clear as I sometimes take for granted.
As mentioned here last week, I'll be representing the sponsor GameStop and their backing of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide team with Joey Logano. The goal, quite simply, is to develop and coordinate media coverage via the team and driver which features the sponsor in a positive light. In short, help create awareness to drive business to the 4000+ GameStop retail locales in the United States.
It's a program that will be superb, but I'm coming aboard very late in the game before the season launches. While a full rundown of all that goes into successful media relations would take a lengthy number of blog entries, I figured I'd share a portion of my "to do" list before heading south to Florida for the first race of the season.
-- Learn about the demographics of GameStop customers and the $20 billion gaming industry. You can't really develop a plan unless you understand the target audience. Young gamers? Mom buying gifts for son/husband? Average age is... 35? Hmmm... must study hard.
-- Meet with the top communications man at Joe Gibbs Racing, Chris Helein. The GameStop effort must fit the overall communications approach for JGR and the driver.
-- Learn Logano's scheduling process with my counterpart working with Logano's Cup sponsor, Home Depot. That's Heather Kincel, by the way. That process also involves Logano's manager, Joey Civali.
-- Get to know the person who directs the program for GameStop, Jill Lain. She'll be my day-to-day contact and the person managing the program from Grapevine, Texas (home of GameStop Inc.).
-- Meet the #20 crew chief, Kevin Kidd. I knew Kevin slightly from his days at DEI while I was with Budweiser. It's a small sport and it's always nice to see a familiar face with a new project. Work with Kidd to develop a full list of crew members (and their hometowns).
-- Attend day-long photo and video shoot for GameStop featuring Logano and (briefly) Coach Gibbs.
-- Edit and distribute a Crisis and Emergency Plan in conjunction with the team. While it's never pleasant to discuss, this sport can produce severe injuries and fatalities. Being prepared under a worst-case scenario is critical.
-- Write and edit the 2010 media kit including many details about the sponsor, team personnel and driver.
-- Order USB drives with GameStop logos. (Media kits which are printed and distributed in fancy folders are SO last year! Not to mention an almost total waste of paper.)
-- Coordinate design and printing of the official autograph card. (The jargon is to refer to them as "hero cards.") Note: Try not to panic when the deadline is approaching or has perhaps already passed.
-- Develop strategy for social media, aka Twitter, Facebook, etc.
-- Develop news release announcing the GameStop sponsorship (and the schedule of 21 races) for 2010 with JGR and Logano.
-- Prepare the pre-event news release for Daytona Nationwide Series race.
-- Submit NASCAR license and credential forms (submitted with large check).
-- Submit requests to each track for parking passes and media center access.
-- Ponder story ideas to pitch to the media in Daytona.
-- Take a small break to ogle the new iPad. Niiiiice.
-- Make sure sponsor-logoed apparel is ready for Daytona trip. MUST look good at track...
-- Oh yeah, don't forget to book flights, rental cars and confirm hotel rooms for each of the upcoming race events.
-- Attend day-long Social Media conference. (Hope with all of my might that it's not insultingly dumbed-down for those who just haven't caught on.)
-- Begin building day-by-day calendar of events, appearances and race schedules.
-- Learn more about some of the new video games that will be featured on the constantly changing palette of the No. 20 car. (See sneak preview of the Daytona car to the right. Click pic for a larger view.)
-- Figure out how to coax a full day of juice out of the iPhone battery. (Hopeful solution: a new case that also recharges the phone.) Technology is a glorious thing.
-- Don't forget to write blog entries.
-- Make sure the Victory Lane bag is ready and stocked with GameStop hats. (Also make sure to get a few hats of my own to protect the balding pate in the Florida sun.)
Is that about it?! Everything on the to-do list is complete or in-progress?
Oh, wait... here's one more I almost forgot: meet the driver! Check.
I'm looking forward to the season. Joey is a superb kid and I believe it will be a fun time with him this year. And perhaps win a lot of races? Check!
Now, where did I store that race scanner?