Western & English Today

SOURCE 2015

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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58 Western & English Today TAYLOR SPEARS I am less than 30 seconds into my interview with 17-year- old Taylor Spears and she's already called me "ma'am" twice. When I ask the reigning Miss National High School Rodeo Queen and rodeo competitor about her impeccable manners, she simply replies, "It's how I was raised." When pushed, she goes on to give all credit to her parents. "Country kids know how to work and are respectful of their elders. I have the best parents in the world." Really? I wonder. As a parent of two teens myself, I also enjoy a close relationship with my kids. But in all honestly, I don't think they'd call me the best parent in the world! "T e three of us are on the road together so much, hauling my horse from event to event. When we get home, we joke that we just spent 10 days together in a metal can," she laughs. "You'd better like each other af er all that togetherness." Spears' story is representative of youth in general and of Western kids in particular. T e ties between generations are strong, and in Spears' case, they've grown even stronger because of shared activities. Her dad was a bull rider and her older sister was a rodeo queen. Spears, a resident of Cleveland, Oklahoma (population 3,500), has big plans for her future. T e articulate high school senior has her sights set on Oklahoma State University, where she plans to pursue a degree in agricultural communications. "One day, I hope to be broadcasting from the rodeo arena." In the meantime, she keeps a schedule that requires stamina and organization. In addition to logging miles on the rodeo circuit, she is in leadership positions of and so much more can be part of the mix. Retailers need to stock up and staf up to be ready for the traf c and business that special events create. "Take some risks on new products," Grieve says. "T e manufacturer wants to sell more product and so does the retailer." Make sure you have adequate staf on hand during events and that your staf is knowledgeable and well-trained. T ere's really nothing worse than bringing customers to your store but then frustrating them because they can't f nd a sales associate to help them with their questions or purchases. Finally, rally around the event and your partners for the long haul. While improvements can and should be made over the course of time, keep the big picture in mind. "When manufacturers and retailers 'give back' to the communities that have been so kind to them, they further the virtuous process of supporting youth," Grieve says. Deploy Social Media T e ubiquitous technology that youth surround themselves with has been called a lifestyle-enabler. T e Internet, mobile technology and social media give kids nearly instantaneous ability to interact with people close to home and around the world. "It's really the common denominator for kids these days," Fairchild says. Added Udy: "We know social media drives conversation around rodeos and events. It allows kids to connect and motivates their shopping and purchases." Social media adds value online for those who are experiencing the event from afar and can turn a momentary event into a springboard for sustainable relationships. Retailers and manufacturers alike should look for ways to incorporate this fast, frequent and nearly-free media into all aspects of the sponsorship, including before, during and af er the event. If you are not able to get in front of all the new, ever-changing technology and applications, f nd someone on your staf who is. With social media, it always helps to be f exible and hyper- reactive," Grieve says. While the ideas are endless and always evolving, here a just a few ideas to get started. Before the event, tweet things to do and places to see in your area for those coming to visit. Post an Instagram photo of an empty arena with a daily countdown to the rodeo. Have a Facebook contest of ering tickets to the event. During the event, add value by providing daily summaries, Vine videos and live, play-by-play tweets. Create a Pinterest board with trend and style photos snapped at the rodeo. Hire staf to be a dedicated "self e squad" capturing fan photos and leveraging the power of hashtags like #CinchUpatNHRSA. Make your store or booth a hotspot for Wi-Fi connections. Af er the event, post highlight photos and videos as well as "Save the Date" announcements for next year. Targeting youth through rodeos, horse shows and special events is an ef ective way to grow your current and future business. By working hand-in-hand with your manufacturers and tapping into the gold mine of social media, you can boost your store's business in the short term and make a long-term investment in your future. Today's Western youth are well-spoken, goal-oriented, respectful and busy! Get to know these three standouts a little better and you'll soon agree the future is in very good hands. P H OTO G R A P H Y: C A N D I C E C A R P E R/CO U R T E S Y TAY LO R S P E A R S

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