There is a reason that a clock-face is circular: time goes around.
On a different scale of time, so does thewesterngroup driving day, the PR Day for the industry to let its hair down and enjoy its products.
Our friends at Kia are once again organising a range update day on 5 June for all thewesterngroup members, so we are very grateful to them for priming the PR Day.
From another viewpoint, the motor industry seems to stay the same but underneath there are many currents flowing from the changing technology and models to the way PRs work and how the business is covered. The beginning of the second century of the motor car has witnessed a sea-change in coverage with the emergence of social media on its many platforms, the demise of scores of print titles and writers, while others have reinvented themselves and new names and personalities emerge.
In some cases even on-line has evolved and we have seen one web-based portal introduce a printed publication, but also I know from personal experience that some papers are fighting back and actually extending their motoring coverage into stand alone supplements for a group.
There is almost too much on the web for a reader to take in with sites throwing up adverts if you actually can find their motoring pages hidden away, and endless invitations to test drive the latest thingamabob when all you want is to read a review or feature. Web-based reviews can also be shorter and less informative than some readers want, particularly if they have been use to reading longer items in print.
So I wonder if we are seeing time going around for print as well towards the end of the second decade of the second century of motoring, and a newly reshaped printed era is beginning.
For this reason its important members of thewesterngroup actually keep our PR colleagues informed about what we are doing and how their copy is being used. One major car-maker is currently monitoring who they deal with and how they use road tests and other stories as well as where they are placed and their readership. You may have had a very long relationship with a manufacturer but the pressure on budgets and demands for coverage means that car loans will be reduced, modified or ended if you cannot show your value to them.
It’s therefore incumbent upon our group members who receive road-test vehicles or who attend launches and other PR events to keep track of their published copy in print or on-line and send cuttings and URLs to the person who invited them or made the model available for test.
It’s called ROI – return on investment – and I urge members to keep PRs updated or they could find themselves RIP – retired in perpetuity.
Robin Roberts | Vice-Chairman WGMW
Robin is the longest serving chairman of The Western Group. He’s been vice chairman or chairman for over ten years and oversees the annual Western Group PR Driving Day each summer assisted by the group committee and supported by group members.
He contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.
Robin specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.