By Greg Glynn, Account Executive

julia clukey award lake placidIn the world of public relations, we are always planning one, two, and sometimes even three steps ahead. To further emphasize the importance of planning, I want to share the type of preparation and goal setting involved in my recent work for our client the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Associationand their spokesperson Olympian Julia Clukey.

Olympian Julia Clukey is the spokesperson for the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association’s ongoing responsibility initiative. Since 2010, she has recorded public service announcements, appeared on local radio shows, and presented at 20 high schools—reaching more than 6,000 Maine high school students across the state—about the importance of responsibility and good decision making.

To continue to showcase Julia’s talent and her involvement with the MBWDA, a year ago we started planning how we were going to leverage the opportunity for Julia to compete in the 2013 World Cup on February 8 and 9 in Lake Placid, N.Y., the first World Cup luge competition in the states since 2007.

Leading up to the event, we knew we had several key goals related to the competition:

1. Secure an updated action shot of Julia racing on the track to use in the poster that Julia hands out as part of her presentations for the MBWDA’s responsibility initiative at Maine high schools; we also took photos for use as a cover photo for magazine articles we plan to pitch leading up to the Olympics in 2014

2. Contact local and national media to cover the 2013 World Cup and provide content specific to Julia for local and national media

3. Capture video of Julia racing and celebrating with the home town crowd, including several of her family and friends

4. Make more contacts in the sport of luge and network with NBC Sports for a future story on Julia leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia

julia clukey sled lake placidWith specific and measurable goals, I worked with one of our agency partners, the Ad Workshop in Lake Placid, to hire Shaun Ondak, a local professional photographer from Lake Placid who had shot the sport of luge before. An experienced photographer was an important part of the planning because the luge athletes travel at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour and Julia only had two runs for the photographer to get action shots. Shaun and I planned ahead for the shoot and scouted the best location on the snow covered Mt. Van Hoevenberg more than three hours before the race stared to make sure we had the best location to take the action shot. We also planned to cover the post-event ceremonies and take the magazine photos after the race. All our preparation paid off as seen in this great action shot of Julia, perfect for the posters. We also got several other great shots that will be used on her website, marketing materials and for future magazine articles. (Photo courtesy: Shaun Ondak)

In planning for media coverage, days prior to the event I distributed a media advisory to TV stations letting the sports anchors and producers know that The NBC Sports Network would be televising the races that Julia was competing in so media could use that footage during their sportscasts and in two follow up stories with Julia on WCSH and WMTW. I also took photos on both race days to immediately send back to local papers in Maine, including the Kennebec Journal.

When it comes to video of luge, it’s certainly hard to come by, but the performance that Julia had at the 2013 World Cup made it a lot easier. I had arranged for a media credential and access to the finish platform, a great place for capturing Julia’s emotions and excitement of winning two silver medals. Her second place finish in the women’s singles race was a career-best. The opportunity for her to have an amazing performance on her home course, in front of her family and friends, made the video footage something that will last a lifetime and be a great addition to the video we are updating for her high school presentations.

Preparation for the 2014 Olympics and the stories we plan to pitch to local and national media contacts was a big reason why I traveled the 14 hours from Augusta to Lake Placid to provide media relations and public relations services. The opportunity to meet media that cover the sport, and contacts at NBC, will be a huge plus for our future planning and pitching about Julia’s incredible story of perseverance and determination to compete in the sport she loves and to give back to the Maine community that she says has given her so much. Her work with the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association and their responsibility initiative is very impressive and also includes her new summer camp, Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls.

Julia has been planning for her success in her sport since she was 12 and it was great to see her hard work pay off in Lake Placid with two silver medals. From a media relations and public relations perspective, it was also exciting to plan all the details and logistics that made the weekend pure gold.