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LESSONS FROM AN ITALIAN CAR LAUNCH

What I learned when I was invited to introduce a new Abarth 695 in Italy. Advice for journalists and racers.

Although I was on many press trips, there is still the weirdness that makes me pinch. My recent trip to Italy was exactly that when Abarth blew me out to launch the new 695 rival, a car launched in collaboration with Riva Yachts. I spent the day in the sun eating beautiful Italian food and drinking prosecco on a lake. I went to a number of yachts and took some time to pretend I was in a Bond movie.

It was not just game, it was work. I’m still baffled by my own job sometimes and of course I would not change it for the world. I have learned a lot from this trip, which I can pass on to prospective car and motor sports journalists. There is also an important lesson for racers and brand ambassadors; collaboration.

Abarth teamed up with Riva Yachts to create the 695 rival, the cousin of rival 56 Riva. This collaboration opens both brands to a new audience. Riva yacht customers now have a nice little hot hatch to suit their boats and Abarth is also enhanced by the connection. I am now obsessed more than ever by yachts and Abarth.

Some of you may know the name Riva when working with Ferrari’s Formula One team.

Social Media

Your social media presence is the key to being invited to such events for a long time. In-the-moment coverage is just as important as the coverage the brand will receive once you’ve gone home and written your piece. Even weeks after the event, I still share pictures, talk about the beautiful rival 56 Yacht and plan to work again with Abarth.

Not only do events like these give you something to share through your social channels, but it’s also a chance to build your brand, show people what you’re doing. This applies to everyone, regardless of whether you report on an event as an invited member of the press as a journalist or participate in a public or sponsor event as a racing driver.

Networking

As one of only two members of the British press at this event, I did not have the opportunity to speak with many other journalists. However, I met many wonderful people from Abarth and we took the time to look forward to possible road trip features with the brand in the future. The trip was short with a lot of traveling, but it was worth it because I made some fantastic connections. This is something to consider when attending an event. In addition to the social order antibiotics media, blog and website content can give you a journey, think of the people you might also meet.

Do not forget that it is work

It’s easy to be affected by complimentary prosecco and food, but you need to remember that you work. You must not seem to have a funny on someone else’s dime. By all means, enjoy yourself, but do not forget that these types of events are work and that you have to maintain a degree of control. There are probably people at these events who have to impress you. This applies to racers who go to sponsorship events, journalists to press trips, and anyone else who might be confronted with a free bar.

Working as a brand ambassador

As Abarth owner and like other owners out there I am an unofficial ambassador for the brand. Especially when I am invited to report on events. It’s my job to write about the brand, share pictures and inform readers. Not every event will be like this because, as a journalist, you may have to honestly write about things you did not like, but in that case, I was a Abarth owner who enjoyed nice Abarth stuff.

It’s different for racers. If you’re an ambassador for a brand, you have to live and breathe it. If you work closely with a brand that you would like to be an ambassador in that role, you must think that you are already in that role. If you can show a brand the benefits you can offer them before you work together, it can be easy to seal the deal later.

Cooperation for racers

The cooperation brings benefits for both sides. Riva was introduced to journalists like me, while Abarth has a new brand connection and is now known by Riva customers and fans. It is win-win for both parties, not mentioning all other marketing and sales advantages.

When you work as a racing driver with a brand, think about how you can work together. You open your audience to a brand while gaining access to the people who are already following that company. It works to increase both brands. That’s why collaboration is crucial when you start. Money can not change hands, but it could be a lot of benefit to your profile as a driver to work with a particular brand. However, make sure that you are not exploited. Your value as a driver, ambassador, and sales tool is greater than you might think.

Whether you’re talking about simple mutual support, product sponsorship, or major ambassador roles, consider the benefits of partnering with you and the company you work with.

Action Points:

  • Be sure to consider your role and act accordingly
  • Think about events that are relevant to your brand
  • Make a point to visit events that offer great social / online content
  • Get in touch with the brands / events you want to work with
  • Racers, think about how you would work with a brand as an ambassador and give them a glimpse of that before you pitch
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