Continuing the analysis of my Solar Racing Basics Poster (see this tag), documenting the construction and racing of the car is important for the sponsors, for the fans, and for the team itself. Teams that want good sponsorship need a good media subteam. Good media helps a team convince potential sponsors that they are legitimate, and can provide a quid pro quo to existing sponsors. Solar Team Twente from the Netherlands is an example of a team with good media. In particular, they have a website and six kinds of social media: .
Often the media subteam includes a specialist photographer, such as Jorrit Lousberg (Vattenfall/Delft), Hans-Peter van Velthoven (Vattenfall/Delft), Bart van Overbeeke (Eindhoven), Jerome Wassenaar (Twente), or Joseph Xu (Michigan).
In addition, media subteams will often “place” stories in local newspapers. It’s big news in Springfield, population 24,000 (to pick an imaginary example), that a young man or woman from the town is off to race a solar car on the other side of the world. Equally, it’s big news for Dutch-language media in Australia, such as SBS, that Dutch solar car teams have arrived in the country (and ditto for Italian, Turkish, and several other languages).
Media can also act as damage limitation in a crisis. In 2017, the Persian Gazelle 4 car from the University of Tehran was heavily damaged in transit, and was unable to race, leaving the team with very little to show for all their hard work. In 2019, NunaX from Vattenfall/Delft Solar Team was totally destroyed by fire during the race, but the team could still point to the copious media of the car and say, with justified pride, “we built that”: .
It is, of course, important that teams not make classic media errors, such as constantly changing social media “handles,” retiring social media channels without proper announcement, not keeping the website up to date, or posting embarrassing photographs that you wouldn’t want a potential sponsor to see.
To read more:
- World Solar Challenge: doing media right
- Media teams and the World Solar Challenge
- How to organize a car presentation? (from Solar Team Twente)