MICA at McLaren HQ, further 2024 plans and 2023 recap
Fast start to 2024

Over 60 MICA members and guests benefitted from our long-standing relationship with McLaren as a founder member, with the inside story of how communications have led the growth of its 14-year-old automotive division.

McLaren executive PR director Piers Scott and predecessor Mark Harrison, a MICA director, gave their perspectives on the communications challenges facing the then upstart brand in 2010 through to today's opportunities.

The brand has exceptional appeal from 60 years in motorsport, especially for Formula 1 followers.  The launch of a road car business meant broader story telling to build profile well beyond the F1 fan base.

Film maker Stephen Mizelas was granted unprecedented access to the notoriously secretive Woking operation and its people for the BBC's "How to Build.." series and a "We Make Supercars" TV follow up.  He showed clips of the McLaren employees adding their personal passion and stories about the brand.

Journalist and author Kyle Fortune has captured the same essence of McLaren Automotive in a new book, "The Road Cars, 2010-2023" out this spring.  Kyle spelt out the McLaren vision not just to rival established sports and supercar companies, but to disrupt and constantly innovate in its pursuit of performance.

Piers summarised that "top speeds and tech specs only communicate so much.  Auto brands have to present so much more and the best stories are about our people."

Presentations and Q&A were accompanied by plenty of opportunities for networking and 1:1 introductions plus an exclusive McLaren Technology Centre tour.  MICA's nominated charity WOMAC benefitted from donations in lieu of the cost of lunch, kindly provided by our hosts.

MICA member Jon Visscher, of Vcomm, said afterwards:  "As Vcomm specialises in supporting high-performance and luxury automotive brands, the opportunity to visit McLaren Automotive and to hear insightful perspectives from respected communicators was extremely valuable.  As a specialist automotive PR consultant, I am excited by the potential for MICA and its future events to offer industry-specific communications insights that add value to my business."

January's McLaren communications insight masterclass offered in depth presentations from insiders Piers and Mark, complemented by the independent views of Stephen and Kyle.  MICA masterclasses aid professional development, either by exploring comms strategies and tactics (such as McLaren's and other contributors at PR Essentials), or by analysing comms-relevant trends and themes (including the impact of broadcast's shift to streaming and the next EV-related masterclass, see below).

For more on McLaren, watch our online "Webchat with.." series, which caught up with its vice-president for communications for The Americas on selling supercars, including the newly launched Artura, in the US.

McLaren communications insight Q&A panel, from left:
Stephen Mizelas, Piers Scott, Mark Harrison, Kyle Fortune

What's next?

Following the success of MICA's 2024 kick-off masterclass at McLaren, future events are planned on AI for communications, electrification and advanced PR skills.

After Easter a MICA webinar will offer guidance on utlising AI in communications.  Following its well-received AI session at PR Essentials, founder MICA member Torque will expand on its principles for best use of AI in communications, expanding on its online case study


Elements of electrification relevant to our specialisms, or employer's products and services, are increasingly occupying our strategies and planning.  But how much of the wider picture should we be briefed on?  What do we need to be aware of from EV-related investment and financing, to materials sourcing, R&D, the supply chain, production, whole life cost of ownership, energy and vehicle recycling to gain a holistic understanding of where our role fits?

"EV cradle to grave" is the working title of an early-summer masterclass offering insights on the complete EV ecosystem our communications contribute to and battling the arguments in an increasingly tribal debate.


Feedback from November's PR Essentials starter masterclass was that 2024 should build on our craft's basic principles.  The advanced masterclass in autumn will fast forward to 2035 to consider the communications landscape in the next decade.  It will hopefully be held again at Coventry University as the home of the UK's only Automotive Journalism MA course, which shares so much crossover with skills also required by communicators.

Socially, we're always on the look out to join members at locations and events they are attending and supporting.  MICA has negotiated member places at this year's Scrambles at Bicester Heritage, starting with a dozen of us attending the next on April 21.  If you would like to join the group, mail info@mica.org.uk and tickets will be shared first come, first served.

If you are going to other automotive events like Bicester's Scrambles, Caffeine & Machine meets, regional hill climbs, Beaulieu or Gaydon, and there's an opportunity for MICA to bring members together there socially, let us know.

From in-person member activities to online where our "Webchat with..." training series has featured Harry Metcalfe on how to accommodate video outlets on launches, paired long-standing editor turned communicator Jim Holder with Abigayle Andre of fast-growing She Talks Cars, and gone overseas to catch up with McLaren vice-president for The Americas Roger Ormisher on how to launch the Artura stateside.     


This year, "Webchat with..." will feature more guests on podcasting and translations. We're keen to hear from you about the topics you'd like us to cover. You can drop us an email to info@mica.org.uk or connect with and message our host, Euan Antona, on LinkedIn.

2023 highlights

For MICA's 2021 launch we shared back-office admin and new member sign-on with the PRCA, PR's all-sector professional body.  This was an important partnership to help establish MICA.  Last year MICA took membership on boarding and renewals in-house, all administered on our own site at Mica.org.uk/join-us with payment by credit card.  Corporate all-team discounts and payments by purchase order are handled by MICA's finance lead, contactable via info@mica.org.uk.

Our best-attended social of 2023 was a pre-reception at the RAC Club ahead of the Guild's awards dinner.  Over 50 MICA supporters took the opportunity of a festive drink and get together in the club's Long Bar before heading upstairs to the awards, including the MICA-sponsored Young PR of the Year.

AutoTrader's Bryony Snelling received the highest score from the MICA, Guild and award sponsor judging panel.  British audio pioneers Meridian Audio supported Bryony's Young PR of the Year prize package of £650, MICA membership and mentor for six months, plus a trophy.

MICA Young PR of the Year Bryony Snelling
with trophy and sponsor Meridian Audio's Katy Bradshaw, MICA's Richard Gotch right and Guild's Simon Harris left

Member mentoring

MICA mentoring is led by committee member Roger Ormisher, McLaren's US-based communications vice-president for The Americas.  Mentors including Roger are senior, experienced communications professionals who offer half a dozen 1:1 meetings over a six-month period to discuss professional development, goals and monitoring progress.  The process is two-way as mentors have reported benefitting greatly from the fresh insights and different perspectives of mentees who are relatively new to auto comms.  If a MICA mentor could help turbo charge your career, mail info@mica.org.uk with the information requested online to extract valuable tailored advice from this membership benefit.

Latest members

New SMMT members joining in 2023 included influential voice of the industry SMMTVolvo CarsPininfarinaIsuzuImprimatur and Pitbox91.  We are discussing further memberships with the growing number of Chinese EV manufacturers building UK comms teams, as well as companies and agencies representing two-wheel and off-highway vehicles.

Who are MICA?

The Motor Industry Communicators Association provides sector-specific training, mentoring, networking and events that will accelerate your career, increase your industry knowledge and introduce you to new friends and colleagues.  We also collate members' and contacts' careers opportunities on the MICA Jobs page.  Working closely with a wide range of automotive and mobility industry experts, MICA is unique in its ability to bring together relevant insights from leading specialists, in-person and online.  MICA is run by this merry band and membership represents two-, four- and on to ten-wheel vehicle manufacturers, their agencies and after-markets.

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