By Arnold Tijerina
In the automotive industry, we’re inundated with marketing messages from vendors pushing everything from direct mail to complete all-in-one dealership software solutions. But, let’s for a second flip to the other side. Believe it or not, vendors to car dealers sometimes need outside help of their own. Whether that’s because they’re a start-up with no budget for in-house marketing and public relations, or a large corporate vendor that simply needs to leverage the connections of an outside agency to spread their message, there are a myriad of companies eager and willing to help. In this specific case, I’d like to discuss public relations and – in specific – Carter West Public Relations.
I’ve been working with Sara Callahan at Carter West PR for 3 years now. As a public relations specialist, her job is to assist automotive industry vendors increase their digital footprint and gain exposure with influential and relevant industry news sources and publications so as to gain exposure and attract the attention of their target audience – dealers. In addition, she works to position the company executives as industry thought leaders. Unbeknownst to many, the art of public relations has evolved from one of press releases and media contacts, to one that includes social media, content marketing and other creative ways of spreading a company’s message. All of these important components in a company – marketing, sales and public relations – need to be able to work together in order to deliver content that dealers want but are also eager to receive. Carter West PR is, without a doubt, the premier automotive public relations firm in the automotive industry.
Why do I say that?
Those who know me know that I’m a storyteller. My job is to craft content – whether that’s social media or content marketing strategy – that assists companies in developing a personality and being human. In the case of Carter West PR, Sara Callahan is one of the humblest persons I know. While she will battle tooth and nail to get her clients published in industry trade magazines, interviewed by prominent industry news outlets and to have consistent thought leader type blog articles; all while producing case studies and press releases; when I presented the idea of telling her story, she was hesitant. The whole purpose of a public relations firm, however, is to tell your client’s story to the world and I explained that there was nothing wrong with telling her story. If you wish, consider this a really long recommendation. But, the fact is that she has fought and clawed to position her firm as one that is not only recognized by the top influencers that can help spread a company’s message, but also one with the highest integrity and reputation.
In my time working with Sara, I’ve personally witnessed her stand her ground when a client wants to do something that would be detrimental to their efforts. She, and her firm, aggressively reaches out and maintains relationships with key industry news contacts, which allows her to get her clients media attention – even when that attention is being asked for right before major industry events – which is a feat akin to Hercules fighting the Neamean Lion – a task thought as impossible. Her perfectionism – and believe me, she is a perfectionist, serves her clients well in not only the presentation of content, but also in its reception. She’s like a chef that ensures that each plate that leaves the kitchen is attractive, looks great and tastes wonderful. And that’s part of the reason why it is eaten up.
On a more personal note, I can say that I have seen no other company that is so deeply invested in the success of their clients, it was almost as if it was her company. Successes and failures affect her just as they do the owners of the company. She’s not only a guide but a coach, a strategist, a friend and an ally to her clients. In all my years being involved in the automotive industry – as a dealership manager, a vendor employee, an employee of industry publications and a contractor for some of the largest (and some not so large) industry conferences and events – I have never seen any public relations firm produce and succeed on behalf of her clients as I have with the results of Carter West PR.
So, despite her humbleness, I managed to convince Sara that her story was one that should be told to the auto industry. While there are certainly many choices for companies to choose for PR, social media and content marketing needs, the best one always revolves around the one that produces and, in the case of the auto industry, the best one is hands-down Carter West PR.