Hello, I’m Kate Gordon-Smith.You may not of heard of me, but if you follow New Zealand motorsport, you’ll have heard of some of the clients I’ve been honoured to work with over the years – Hayden Paddon, John McIntyre, Angus Fogg and Andy Booth to name a few.
Growing up the daughter of a new motor vehicle dealer, it’s no surprise that cars have played a big part in my life. But I headed off to Massey University with a different career in mind to eventually graduate with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. During my final year, I took some marketing papers and had a major a-ha moment so the opportunity to join Ford Motor Company of New Zealand as a sales and marketing graduate proved a good call, providing a solid foundation for future professional endeavours.
Being a voracious reader, I have always loved writing and words, but it took the chance of a new role as Ford’s PR officer for me to discover just how much I loved writing for a living.
After Ford and a stint overseas, I embarked on a series of marketing communications, direct marketing and account managements roles (in-house and agency) with Toyota, Hyundai and an array of non-car clients. Continually seeking to develop my ability to write for different audiences with the relevant tone and style, I also loved learning more about marketing communications and its role in the wider advertising/publicity sector. Seeking a more PR-focused change, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with two of New Zealand’s most highly-respected PR practitioners, Cedric Allan and Malcolm Boyle. During my four years with Allan Boyle Associates, I gained a greater appreciation of the value of public relations (PR) and its core disciplines of publicity and media relations, and how these all fit together as part of an organisation’s marketing strategy. One particularly significant project saw me appointed as the publicity account manager for IMG which promoted the first-ever Australian V8 Supercars race in New Zealand. It was a history-making event in Kiwi motorsport, and I’m still chuffed to have played a part in it.
Since establishing Relish Communications in 2001, I have enjoyed working with a wide range of clients, completing numerous in-house, contract and retainer style assignments to deliver media relations, targeted media pitches for interviews and features, newsletters (electronic and printed), customer magazines, event programmes, feature articles, website content and social media strategies and posts.
Notable clients include New Zealand’s top rally driver 2011 Production World Rally Champion Hayden Paddon, New Zealand’s newest motor racing facility and hugely-popular tourist attraction Highlands Motorsport Park and Fruitfed Supplies, the horticultural division of PGG Wrightson Ltd.
With Fruitfed Supplies, I have had the opportunity to keep in touch with my rural roots, while also drawing on my scientific education and writing abilities to edit their monthly customer newsletter. In 2013, I chalked up my 120th issue of the Facts newsletter, clocking up almost half a million words in the process!
Other former clients include top Kiwi V8 racing drivers John McIntyre, Andy Booth, and Angus Fogg; Rally of New Zealand Ltd, where I was the media manager for three World Rally Championship events and several national New Zealand Rally Championships, and Subaru New Zealand as the editor of their long-running (now discontinued) customer magazine Symmetry. Independent Prestige, with their ultra-premium automotive marques Bentley, Aston Martin and Lamborghini, commissioned me to complete numerous media releases, product launches and customer magazines. For nine years, I played a key role in helping raise awareness of and grow attendance at CRC Speedshow, New Zealand’s annual automotive and motorsport expo. From its debut in 2007, Speedshow now attracts 35,000+ visitors across the two days. [See this reference from Speedshow founder Keith Sharp.] Expanding my industry knowledge into the marine sector has seen me deliver event publicity, features and social media content for the Auckland On Water Boat Show, media releases and articles for leading marine clothing supplier Events Clothing, and an array of communications projects for NZ Marine, New Zealand’s marine industry association.
The cool thing about my role as a freelance communications consultant, on any given day I could be interviewing an onion grower, a winemaker, a new vehicle dealer, a boat-builder or a world rally champion. Every day I get to enjoy the challenge of crafting the newsworthy stories that help my clients get their news into the media.
I use the skills I’ve developed over the years to help my clients identify the key messages that fit their strategic goals and who they want to target with this news. I’m no spin doctor – I believe in creating genuine, authentic and newsworthy media releases which benefit my clients and allow my busy media colleagues to easily create a TV, radio, print or online news item that suits their media outlet.
I’m passionate about the power of the written word and pedantic about correct grammar and punctuation. (Here’s hoping I’ve picked up any typos on my own website!)
I believe in continuous improvement, through reading and critiquing other people’s work, reviewing best practice papers and guides in the PR sector and accepting and applying feedback from PR and media colleagues to my own work.
I also work with a range of photographers and videographers, designers and other editors and writers involved in the media and publicity process, so can easily help you pull together a team of professionals to deliver on your project.
If it sounds like I’m the sort of PR professional you’d like to work with, then please drop me a line or give me a call.
T: +64 21 587-227
E: [email protected]