On September 13th, PRSSA was lucky enough to be joined by Jarrett Dunbar from Nationwide marketing for a night of conversation on sports public relations. Jarrett graduated from Ohio University with a degree in broadcast journalism and held a couple jobs in news anchoring before making his transition into the public relations scene for the marketing department of Nationwide Insurance.
Nationwide is the official insurance sponsor of many big-name institutions such as NASCAR, the NFL, the Memorial Tournament and even The Ohio State University athletics right here in Columbus. Jarrett described Nationwide as following a centralized communications model with over seventy full-time communicators, sixty of them being internal facing and thirteen specializing in public relations. His main job as the public relations lead for Nationwide’s sports marketing is to manage and maintain Nationwide’s relationships with their various sponsors.
He shed some light on key points to remember when developing a marketing strategy or communications plan as employed by him and the staff at Nationwide. First, he said that it is pivotal to take all audiences into account, both internal and external. Once they are acknowledged, it is time to establish some goals and objectives for the project. Lastly, it is extremely helpful and important to construct a timeline in order to keep the project progressing at a steady pace. Although it is crucial to review the goals, objectives and corresponding statistics after the project is completed, according to Jarrett, a good communication/PR plan ultimately comes down to how the plan or project is completed. Did the event or plan go off smoothly without a hitch because the work was started four to five months ahead of time? This is how Jarrett and Nationwide marketing measure success in their PR endeavors.
When asked about interview advice, Jarrett says that practice and research on the company you are interviewing with are essential. Being able to sell yourself through doing your own personal PR is key. According to Jarrett, you should do such a good job selling yourself that the interviewer should leave knowing your three proudest achievements or self-attributes. He said Nationwide specifically looks for experienced writing, good communication counseling skills, great execution or delivery skills, accountability and the ability to deliver results when looking for new hires. All of these skills are significant though, he said, because “Sports marketing and PR is no nine to five job.”
Rebecca is a 2nd year Strategic Communication and Professional Writing major at The Ohio State University.