MICA’s latest masterclass updated members on the newest elements of automotive PR essential skills and understanding.

‘Auto PR Essentials’ at Coventry University attracted praise from attendees for its crisis communications session, guidance on embracing the transformative nature of AI, and Alpina BMW case study demonstrating how linking PR closer to business objectives and product differentiation paid dividends.

PR manager Filip Czajkowski, representing Isuzu UK, said:  “One MICA masterclass highlight is definitely the networking opportunity, chatting with fellow industry colleagues.

“From the sessions, I liked the presentation by Richard Gotch on Alpine, finishing with Clarkson’s review (of the Alpina BMW compared to the M Model).”

Scott Clarke, SMMT press officer, said:  “What interested me the most was Tim Burt’s talk about crisis communications.  The day was well structured, with sessions which were not too long and enough breaks for networking.”

Tim Burt (pictured above), deputy chair of global CEO advisors Teneo, put crises he had advised on in the auto industry in a wider geopolitical context, tracking events and indicators over the last 15 years since the 2008 financial crisis.
MICA ran this masterclass in the Ellen Terry Building at Coventry University as home of the only MA in automotive journalism, which has trained and provided talented journalists and PR communicators.  The day included a tour of the university’s new Delia Derbyshire Building (above and below), housing an exhibition posing a different communications question:  ‘Graffiti – crime or art?’
Back onto automotive comms, MA course lead Andrew Noakes (below top) drew the similarities between story identification and development by media outlets and automotive companies.  The capability and potential for AI to assist communications was explained by Euan Antona (below bottom), of Torque.
The rest of the masterclass broadened out from the PR essentials of a communications strategy, content and crisis response plans to consider communications’ influence on the whole organisation and externally, presented by Mark Harrison (below top) of P12 Communications and Praga Cars.  The Alpina BMW case study by Richard Gotch (below bottom) illustrated the impact on the bottom line of communicators being briefed on business objectives to be progressed rather than concentrating on coverage and messaging in isolation.

MICA masterclasses have looked at comms-relevant trends and insights, such as the implications of on-demand streaming for broadcast strategies, and the craft of PR and its essential skills.

MICA committee member and Volkswagen UK’s head of PR and communications Mike Orford summarised:  “Within the highly specialised world of automotive industry communications – and particularly for PR – it can be challenging to find specific, relevant and targeted training and thought leadership.

“That’s a problem, because it’s so important for professionals to stay on top of latest trends, hear from key speakers, brush up on core skills, and learn from best-practice examples. And, of course, we’re all short on time.  Our masterclasses offer a solution to this quandary.  Held both physically and via video conference and covering forward-facing topics, they represent fantastic value for money when compared with other training alternatives.

“You can also take advantage of the opportunity to network – after all, that’s what the ‘R’ bit stands for in PR!”