For years Kansas City’s famed American Royal Barbecue has relied on local volunteer public relations practitioners for their help in promoting this major event. After all, the Royal is a local event that relies heavily on volunteer support for its huge success over the past 33 years.
Many of these local PR volunteers have done an admirable job with virtually no resources or budget (see photo of press room from last year sent to Bottom Line from a local reporter!). However, over time, local media outlets have expressed their frustration with trying to cover the event. Reporters have complained that it is often difficult to get interviews. It’s even more difficult to get results in a timely manner.
After all, the American Royal is considered the “World Series of BBQ” with 504 teams. It is the largest barbecue event in the country.
This year the American Royal realized that it has grown to the point where it desperately needs ongoing public relations services.
Even though there are a number of very qualified local firms (Bottom Line was not interested), the American Royal has shaken the PR community by selecting the Brand Solutions Group out of Washington, D.C. to handle its PR duties. After all, Washington D.C. is know for its fine BBQ!
On its Web site the Group says it “was founded by a driven and successful public relations expert (Jennifer Brand) with a passion for helping lawyers and entrepreneurs enhance their PR to excel in their businesses.”
One local PR professional was stunned to learn the American Royal would be look outside Kansas City for assistance.
“The American Royal calls on Kansas City companies for virtually all its support,” he says, “and when it comes to actually paying for PR services it hires a Washington firm?
“I must admit I am absolutely stunned. There are at least 10 PR shops here with local and national experience that could do a terrific job with this event.”
This might serve as a lesson to KC PR pros when considering whether they should donate their services to an organization. Sometimes when you give away your services it diminishes the value people place on them.
UPDATE: The American Royal felt it was necessary to issue a news release (5/8) on the hiring of Brand Solutions for its PR activities. The release did not say how much it was paying for its public relations services and did not mention the firm was based in Washington, D.C.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Royal Hires PR Firm for Barbecue Event
May 8, 2012 – Kansas City – The American Royal Association is pleased to announce it has hired Brand Solutions Group for public relations work on the 2012 World Series of Barbecue® contest.
“We are very excited to have Jennifer Brand involved in our PR efforts again. She is very highly regarded in the barbecue community. In fact she helped last year on a volunteer basis with our public relations needs before and during the event. Jennifer also has significant experience in BBQ specific public relations on a national level in her current role as the PR/media director of the National Capital BBQ Battle in Washington DC (one of the other top 5 annual BBQ events in the nation). We are excited to have her and Brand Solutions Group to help us take our event to the next level,” says Bob Petersen, American Royal President & CEO.
It was also important for the American Royal to have a person who had an understanding of the relationship & impact of the Royal’s agricultural & scholarship/educational support that extends beyond the largest event of the season, the World Series of Barbecue.
“Jennifer has a good working knowledge of the American Royal growing up in Missouri and attending law school in Kansas City. She is familiar with our equine and livestock events through her former position as an elected leader of Missouri 4-H Council. We have many people who identify us with the Barbecue, which is our biggest event, but it was further appealing for us to have someone who understands the big picture of the American Royal as a charity that supports youth and agriculture,” Petersen says.
The American Royal World Series of Barbecue will be returning for the 33rd year to the historic West Bottoms during October 4-7. This year promises to be another success with great food, musical entertainment, fireworks and plenty of family fun Saturday in the Kid’s Korral. Check www.americanroyal.com for the latest barbecue event news and announcements.
About the American Royal
The American Royal Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that has been a Kansas City tradition since 1899. Each year more than 270,000 people attend events at the American Royal Complex. In 2011, the Royal was able to give $1.4 million in scholarship and educational awards. In addition to its educational mission, the American Royal generates some $70 million of economic impact, $4.4 million in local tax revenues, and supports 450 jobs.
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American Royal, 1701 American Royal Ct., Kansas City, MO 64102
Press contact: Jeremy Povenmire, (816) 569-4047