Shaun Tomson’s Thoughts On Surfing and PR
Do you know who Shaun Tomson is? This is a marketing blog, not an educational one, so just google him and you’ll find out…. I don’t have the energy to give his surf career a solid description here.
However, I will tell you that Shaun has some very interesting and valid opinions on non-endemic marketing in the surf world. It seems he sees a need for hiring, “pros, not bros” to help push surfing into the limelight.
You can check out his op-ed here: http://surfermag.com/features/onlineexclusives/shaun-tomson-asp-opinion/
And my response is below.
Shaun Thompson response
Good points. From experience working in the PR / media relations industry, you’re pretty on point with the “pros, not bros” idea. Many people within the endemic surf industry execute PR from the “smile and dial” standpoint… blasting out press releases, fulfilling t-shirt requests when a magazine calls, occasionally getting a rider profiled. That’s the easy stuff… what you’re looking for is much harder to accomplish, while at the same time, is more rewarding at the end.
I cut my teeth at two major PR firms in NYC working on both action sports related and mainstream brands. One of the bigger issues with surf/skate/snow brands bringing on a firm is the issue that sometimes these firms don’t get it. There are very smart people at these agencies that surf/skate/snowboard, etc., but like the rest of the country, figure that the majority of them do or have not, and proposals that lead with “Getting Extreme with Your Brand!” aren’t rare.
Sometimes though, the onus is on the pro. Since leaving NYC and opening up my own PR consultancy, I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few top brands and some of the biggest surfers, skaters and snowboarders in the business. More than once I’ve had a professional rider bail on an interview with a national news source, sometimes with good reason and sometimes “because that’s how they roll.”
As surfing, snowboards, etc., continue to increase their exposure, there’s ample opportunity for brands to take their riders and push them into the spotlight. However, it takes a heavy dose of strategic thinking, lots of legwork and unfortunately, a bigger budget than simply mailing out 50 hoodies to the top men’s magazines.
My blog and site are below, with my contact info. If you’re interested in discussing further, just drop me a line.