May Blog

Keep Your Focus Despite Your Stage
By Paul Lindsley, ABC
Vice President of Education/Student Chapters

April was a busy month for Sullivan Branding. Our agency was responsible for PR, social media and media relations for the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville. And though it was “just three games,” it became so much more for our community.

Promotions and events took place prior to the games with local partners including the Nashville Public Library, Adventure Science Center, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, The Girl Scouts, the Belcourt Theatre, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Metro Arts Commission, Lipscomb University and Harpeth Hall.

Additionally, we were tasked to promote NCAA’s events in April – all coming with high expectations and goals. Our efforts included recruiting 2000 volunteers, making sure tickets were sold locally, and increasing attendance at the NCAA’s Tourney Town, Super Saturday, Broadway Bounce, Salute On Tour, 4Kay Run, and of course, two nights of basketball games on April 6 & 8.

As an agency, the mission was clear; focus on objectives early, and stay focused regardless of the hundreds of other things happening for the good of the event.

The focus paid off, as we exceeded expectations for attendance, media coverage and social engagement: Super Saturday, 9,005; Tourney Town, 27,969; Broadway Bounce, 2,500; 4Kay Run, 1,000; Salute On Tour, 1,300; two sold out nights at Bridgestone Arena with 35,096 fans; and on Super Saturday, April 5, we reached 32,496 posts, likes, mentions and check-ins on the local Facebook page.

Our media relations efforts resulted in 271 local TV stories from March 1 to April 11, with a total estimated audience of 18,417,621, and a total calculated publicity value of $824,253.

Success was driven by focus. Despite the gravity of a national event, (ESPN national audience, with more than 600 media credentials) we made sure to concentrate on the local strategy and tactics to ensure success by building awareness and promoting events on the local level.

Next time you manage or promote an event, regardless of its size and scope, make sure you “keep your focus” on the given mission.

Tips to Narrow Focus

• Focus on your audience – know your audience, and understand what they really want.
• Focus on your message – target and tailor the message for each audience, and stay on message.
• Learn as much as possible – watch other organizations working, watch the national media, and watch the back of house operations.
• Don’t ignore the noise – even if you aren’t responsible for the national media, make sure you know what is happening; it might affect your local efforts.
• Integrate – make sure your message is the same as the national message and partner messages. You must all sing the same song.

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