There is no doubt the NASCAR off-season is a much-needed breath of fresh air after a grueling 38-race schedule. However, with approximately two months between the conclusion of one season and the start of another, our team is hard at work getting ready for the year ahead. The off-season is a critical time, if not the most critical time of year for those working in partnership marketing to gear up for the upcoming season. Read on to find out what we are up to between the season finale at Phoenix and season kick-off at Daytona.
Year-End Recaps for Partners
At the conclusion of the season, we provide our partners a detailed report highlighting their activation performance across a series of KPI’s. These KPI’s vary by partner depending on the goals and objectives they are trying to reach.
If a partner is trying to find new ways to connect with a younger audience, one of the ways we may help them achieve that is through an increased social media presence. Within the end-of-year recap, we can break down the social analytics to determine the number of unique posts created, the number of engagements and impressions these posts generated, and the social media value.
End-of-year recaps are a powerful tool in making sure our team is putting our best foot forward in reaching partner goals. While we are constantly working with our corporate partners throughout the season, these recaps provide an opportunity to review season highlights and strategic results of the program activation, as well as discuss key learnings and opportunities for the future.
Identifying Partner Goals & Strategies
Speaking of KPI’s, the off-season is a great time for partners to think about what goals and objectives they want to achieve through the partnership in the upcoming season. This could include increasing brand awareness, capturing a bigger market share, improving employee morale and so much more. Our partnership marketing team works with each partner to identify their unique goals and put a strategy in place to achieve them.
In the case of helping a consumer brand grow awareness of their product or service, we could help them in a multitude of ways, including: partnering with RCR celebrity brand ambassadors to promote/endorse the brand, increasing social media presence through custom content, hosting giveaways in key markets or implementing a show car program. All these ways can help to create excitement and increase recognition of the brand.
Primary Race Schedule
One of the most difficult, but necessary components of working in partnerships, is scheduling which partners are going to sponsor which races. Each partner has different priorities when it comes to primary race selection.
During the off-season, our team coordinates with our corporate partners to develop a schedule that provides a blueprint for our partners’ success. We take into consideration various factors that impact our partners primary races, such as: seasonality, major events within the company, product launches, key race markets, TV broadcast partners and many more.
Content Production & Activation Planning
Long before the checkered flag waves at Phoenix, our partnership marketing team develops artwork for the next season for each partner, which includes car paint schemes, fire suits, equipment, and other branded items. Once these are approved and produced, it is important that we take advantage of the off-season to capture content through photography and videography. This includes full-scale production shoots that incorporate our drivers, teams and even show cars that can be used for various marketing and promotional purposes throughout the season. Not only can we utilize our in-house production-team and facilities, but we also can travel to location to capture additional activation needs.
These shoots are carefully planned just as the season-long activations are mapped out for our partners. While our team strategically works with our partners to set goals and objectives for the upcoming season, we will also schedule out appearances and key campaign activations.
Additionally, NASCAR’s preseason media days typically consist of a fast-paced media blitz featuring Q&A with the drivers and media. Conversation centers around preseason predictions, partnership announcements and team shakeups.
The off-season is no doubt a busy time of year for all of us working in partnership marketing, especially at RCR, and is truly a precursor to the busy racing season that is upon us. As we look ahead to the upcoming year, we are grateful for all the hard work that goes on during this time to help us provide the best service possible to our partners. We would also be amiss not to thank our fans for their steadfast loyalty all year long. See you at Daytona!