Lately we had some internal discussions about how to promote RC Racing. We know it's a huge challenge to do a good promotion and also we haven’t organized the perfect demo or event yet. The Pro drivers are promoting and represent brands within RC Racing and their huge exposure is also limited to drivers which are already into this hobby. But how to attract people who aren't familiar with our hobby and sport? It's all about dreaming, setting goals, networking and be patient! One day, dreams will come true and result in a great event for drivers, manufacturers and the boy or girl next door. In this article we will share our thoughts including the do’s and don’ts about promotion!
1. Please do not organize events primarily for drivers
One of the main issues is that events are particularly organized for drivers. Of course you need drivers to promote RC racing, that's common sense. And when you are able to facilitate a great track for the drivers they are always willing to come over and drive. And no, do not organize a competition during these kind of events. The stress during a competition isn’t the most charming part for those who are watching. It is also important to have conversations with the public and at the moment there is a competition involved most of the drivers are only busy with their cars. So no competition during promotional events!
This said you have to organize a promotional event with crowd expectations as a priority. We realize that this is the world upside down for most of the event organizers. First step is to investigate what the crowd on that particular event wants to see. The second is to prepare an event that comes close to their expectations. Step 3 is to have fun and show your passion! And yes, there is always a gap between what you show and the crowd wants to see but please learn from every event and evaluate.
2. Visit the crowd
Most of the occasions to drive are very isolated and not very populair to visit when you are not familiar with RC. But promotion is all about attract people outside the hobby. With that in mind the best place to represent the hobby is during existing and populair (!) events. Some Dutch examples are MonsterJam, Paris-Dakar pre proloog or the 'Zwarte-cross'. Those events are big so maybe a local cross is easier to get an agreement with ;-) The bigger events are having a good reputation and welcomed thousands of visitors in the past, the place to be for promotional activities... And yes it is possible to get there when you have a good story!
We see lots of guys organizing events even when there are no people moving around in that place or time. Those events are purely for drivers but they are already familiar with RC cars (these days are also important but have nothing to do with promotion). So don't be introvert and have the guts to get in contact with event organizations. Please don't forget we are able to enjoy their audience!
3. Do not allow just one drivers targeting group
Okay this article is part of Losi Bigscale Nederland and not the best place to say this because we communicate about 5th scale for 99%. But we are convinced that the audience wants to see RC in the broadest sense of the word. Let the spectator choose if they wanted to see bigscale or other scales. But show the differences, the only thing is to have 2 tracks available. One for bigscale and one for 1/8 or 1/10. The most complex part is to combine two kind of RC Racing scenes within one event. This is why we recently stepped into the 8th scale class also. This is the only way to get a good opinion of what is happening in the surface category.
We are into 8th scale such a short amount of time. But we can already say that this class has so much more experience with promotion and present RC Racing as a cool hobby. They are presenting their selves as a lifestyle and they are close to the complete package. Cars are looking good, drivers are wearing cool clothing and merchandise is more common sense in comparison with bigscale. These guys knows how to represent the hobby and brand where they are having a passion for!
So throw away all prejudices about an other RC class (or brand!) and do not think your preferred class is the best. Remember, all classes are doing something good. Our message to all of you is to learn from each other instead of ignore them!
4. The power of Social Media
Social Media is crucial these days. Please use your channels to tease and share all important information regarding the event. Social Media can attract drivers to come over but it is also important to get manufacturers on board. The only way to achieve this is to have a good online strategy. We call it strategy because it can also work when you do it the right way, the opposite is nearby so please be aware! The most important thing on social media are the visuals so choose the images with care. Maybe you have to cooperate with a graphical designer to make the online event attractive. And please investigate all the possibilities of the different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These channels are probably the most unrated in RC!
5. Online Streaming
These days organizations have many possibilities to share all the action during an event. Within RC this is a great opportunity and it's also used during RC Competition Racing by some great channels already. The best examples are RC RacingTV and LiveRC.com which are always there when a big race is scheduled. When you are familiar with RC these channels are very interesting and highly visited by RC enthousiasts. But what is happening with non-RC guys and girls which you want to attract? Our opinion is that those streaming channels didn't reach that targeting group and that is also not their goal. Their goal is to entertain racers (and be good for the commercial companies) who are not able to visit the races by their selves.
5. Cooperate with companies
We see very often that a local hobby shop is in the lead when organizing a demo. That’s not the best choice because they have other meanings and interests. So an independent group of RC lovers can achieve more when it comes to promotion. Local shops deliver you mostly a good looking stand with their business. But they can’t deliver a complete presentation that the hobby deserves. But who are able to deliver that complete package? Well big companies which are using marketing strategies and are willing to invest time and money into your event! Horizon Hobby is for us one of those companies but there is more. Think about the crowd, they want to experience RC Racing by their selves after watching the action of the promotion drivers. Give the people the feeling of driving RC cars. This is why VirtualRC is a good company to work with (and it's Dutch ;-) ). They can probably come over and enjoy the people with their RC driving simulator.
You also need companies that are outside RC and can help you to create a perfect looking demo so your spectators are blown away. Professional appearance is the keyword! Some examples are Rockstar Energy (already cooperating with Horizon Hobby) and GoPro. Those companies earn their money while supporting cool sports. RC can be just as spectacular than real Shortcourse racing or motorcross. And the most important part: everyone can do it! RC cars can have a much bigger impact for those companies than motorcross for example… But why aren’t those companies already involved? Yes indeed, participants in RC are not setting their goals on promotion. Their only concern is to get the fastest car. A change in culture is needed to achieve all this!
6. The complete package
We mentioned earlier ‘a complete package’. What is that and what is required to get that package? It's your responsibility to attract people, challenge them to come over and see your action. There are complete families watching your event and most of the moms do not interested in RC at all. So how to get AND KEEP a family around your fence while they feel enjoyed?
For example, the sound of RC cars (electric, nitro of gasoline) isn’t the most attractive part. Please invite a DJ to enjoy the spectators and complete the professional appearance. A DJ can also share information about RC Racing with his microphone. It is also possible to give the crowd the feeling that they are part of your event. What about a countdown for a 'fake' start, it's a great way to involve kids within your presentation! Doesn’t mean the race has to be official! Kids are success guaranteed so please make use of the little people!
And what do you think about a cool after movie and pictures… Drivers always wants great pictures of their cars. And the best part, those pictures are also shared on social media very often and your event is also getting attention afterwards. That is important because a possible next event can even be more interesting for drivers to participate. Also a short (and cool!!!) movie can do so much good. This is the part where GoPro comes in! When the movie is created and edited with GoPro stuff and it looks great this company will share it through their Social Media channels. They do it for so many sports, why didn’t they do it for RC already which is just as cool!
7. The Script
You have to invest time to get a good and complete script. This script can be very useful to not forget crucial things during the preparations. It is a document what you've to review after every event. But it's not only a document for yourself!
For example. Last year we were invited at MonsterJam in the Netherlands and we had good discussions with the projectteam who was organizing this huge event. For 95% we had an agreement with them and we were already busy with the organization. There was even a complete Floorplan and we agreed to also show the cars during the breaks and pit party in the stadium. Till one of the project members had his question marks about the safety. We explained how we handle all safety regulations but it was too late and the demo was cancelled. A good script in the early stage of the discussion could prevent this. So please write such a script with the following contents:
- A good explanation of RC Racing
- What can you offer those organizations and companies
- Your experiences from the past
- What do you need for safety and hospitality
- Who needs to do what
- Safety during a demo for drivers and audience
- And please, do not forget that the presentation of the script is cool
8. Last words…
Okay we realize that all of the suggestions above are possibly completely new and maybe we can't realize everything. Is that a problem? No it isn’t! Out of the box thinking is required to change something. When you decide to organize such events you have to do it step by step. And yes also we are not even that close to organise such an event.
Have your own goals, be pigheaded and do the things where you are good in. And of course delegate things what other people can do better. The main thing is to collect a group of RC enthusiastics which can create something very cool and who understands the need of promotion!
We have a dream, do you? Please share your thoughts and share this article.
Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us!