A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how “A Tribe Will Get You Far” on my other blog At The Table. The post was about how for maximum impact and momentum, you need a tribe that believes in and promotes your cause. According to Seth Godin, “the goal is not to find people who have already decided that they urgently want to go where you are going. The goal is to find a community of people that desire to be in sync and who have a bias in favor of the action you want them to take.”
I was very interested to learn that NASCAR is employing the tribal method to:
– Broaden the demographics of NASCAR fans
– Expose diverse people to the NASCAR industry
– Expose diverse people to the numerous career opportunities throughout the NASCAR industry
– Integrate diversity into all aspects of the NASCAR industry
– Involve diverse target markets
On Thursday, September 12th, I attend a reception hosted by NASCAR and the National Urban Fellows at the offices of Ariel Investments in Chicago. It was a great reception that drew equal numbers of men and women, which was a pleasant surprise. Marcus gave a brief presentation on the NASCAR brand, partners and their diversity initiatives. One of these initiatives is Drive For Diversity, the industry’s leading development program for minority and female drivers and crew members.
Marcus made it clear that they are doing the roadshow to provide a real experience to people they hope will become supporters and promoters. We are more likely to promote something we believe in, and we are more likely to believe in something we experience on a physical and emotional level.
A key part to developing our connection to the brand was through meeting an actual driver who came up through the ranks of NASCAR through the Drive For Diversity program. Ryan Gifford, was very personable and authentic. He started go-cart racing at 8 years old in his home state of Tennessee.
“Fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment makes us stronger as an organization.” –Marcus Jadotte.
One of the surprising facts and barriers to NASCAR is that it is a very expensive sport; costing upwards of $500K a year per driver. It can cost parents $2,000 to $10,000 a year to have their kids in a competitive go-cart racing program with dreams of one day reaching NASCAR.
The NASCAR diversity program helps to alleviate this barrier to entry through funding. Of course, once drivers reach the national level as Ryan will next year, it is their responsibility to obtain their own sponsors.
I consider the Chicago outreach a great success. Based on feedback from several in our group, there are some new NASCAR fans and we would definitely attend events in the future. I have already signed on to assist with any promotional events in the area.
Here are some photos from the reception. My flickr photo album also includes photos from the VIP Experience during the Sprint Cup Series at the Chicagoland Speedway. I’ll write a post about that on a later date.