CharlotteObserver had a short interview with Jill Gregory, Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR, on how NASCAR will grow the sport's Diversity and Inclusion programs moving ahead.
The NASCAR Diversity & Inclusion program strives to create an inclusive environment in all facets of the NASCAR industry recognizing the value of diversity, which allows NASCAR to go faster and farther in their workplaces, at the race track, and in the stands.
The marketing of NASCAR drivers is critically important because they are the stars and who the fans want to see and feel connected to. It’s why we remain in close communication with the drivers, invest the resources, and provide support to help them build their brands. As such, NASCAR supports Bubba Wallace greatly as part of the diversity effort.
New NASCAR Viewers in 2020 and Plans in 2021
More than 30% of the NASCAR audience for the first race was new viewers in 2020. Sports betting is another entry point that’s gaining considerable momentum as more and more states legalize betting. Last week, we finalized a deal with our second authorized gaming operator in BetMGM, and beginning next season NASCAR is going to making live, in-race betting available across their platform.
Banning of NASCAR Confederate Flag in 2020
In a 2020 announcement, NASCAR announced their banning of the Confederate Flag which came with many reactions including driver Ray Ciccarelli vowing 2020 would be his last race schedule.
The flag's presence was a barrier to many people that wanted to enjoy our sport and attend our races but didn't feel comfortable, and for that reason alone it needed to be eradicated. The response since announcing the ban has been very positive.
There are fans that disagree with the decision, but ultimately this wasn't about shutting out fans. It was about making sure that all fans knew they were welcome at our events. Overall, when you look at our strengthened position on these issues and emphasis on diversity and inclusion, we're seeing a positive response from diverse audiences both anecdotally and across our metrics.
So far this year, we've reached 21% more Hispanic households and 25% more Black households than we had at this point last season and those numbers outpaced the growth across other households. (brandchannel.com)
In 2020, it’s been much more about the drivers coming together and combining their voices to champion messages they support. It ranged from recognizing frontline healthcare workers that are keeping us safe during the pandemic to uniting in the stand against racism and racial injustice. Lately, it’s been less about brand-building and more about NASCAR and its drivers coming together around what we believe is right and more importantly, the actions we’re going to take
How Jill Gregory Changed NASCAR
One of the key NASCAR leaders in reaching to fans was Ms. Jill Gregory, who was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer in August 2016. She didn't grow up watching sport car races but soon after joining NASCAR in 2017, she was all in.
Changes to NASCAR Playoff Rounds Name in 2016
In 2016, NASCAR simplified the name of NASCAR playoff rounds. Jill Gregory explains. “At the end of the day, we need to make the sport accessible and easy to consume, and sports fans, whether motorsports, NASCAR, stick, and ball, they’re familiar with a certain vernacular, and we wanted to keep it simple,”
The NASCAR CMO continued, “Sometimes, you can out-clever yourself.”
“At the time we instituted the new chase format with the elimination rounds, that was an important distinction to make to showcase what these rounds meant,” Gregory said. “But after more research and a lot of input from our partners, it’s, ‘How can we communicate this in the easiest way to the fans, both casually and avid, that they know what’s happening?"
“It’s very easy to understand Round of 16, Round of 8, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for fans to engage with it.”
NASCAR Leading With Fan Engagement First in 2016
Furthermore, Gregory revised NASCAR’s marketing strategy in 2016 so the organization now leads with fan engagement and digital and social media first, which has been reflected in the popular “Ready. Set. Race” marketing campaign.
She is also the Chief Content Officer in NASCAR. A funny fact is she thought she would be a winemaker in Napa or Sonoma if she did not join NASCAR. She led the "#Hashtag500" social media program that saw one of the highest volumes of NASCAR-related conversation ever measured on their record.
NASCAR Increase in Social Engagement for 2017
A statement from NASCAR president Steve Phelps said. “(She) is very aggressive in pursuit of new ways to engage and grow the NASCAR fan base.”
In 2017, NASCAR reported a 32 percent year-over-year increase in social engagement. A key component of these social strategies is the ongoing branding of both veteran drivers and rising stars (profilemagazine.com)
Read the below links if you are interested to learn more about Jill Gregory:
- NASCAR Names Jill Gregory SVP And CMO, And Other Hires (alistdaily.com) - NASCAR announced several executive changes this week, beginning with Jill Gregory‘s promotion to senior vice president and chief marketing officer. In her new role, Gregory will oversee all of NASCAR’s...
- NASCAR is changing and growing more diverse. It may leave ... (wbtv.com) - While it's hard to imagine that NASCAR will be able to do that without alienating some of its existing fans and personnel, the sport's leadership, its drivers, and a new wave of young faces have become leading voices around inclusion and more progressive values in the sport.
- How NASCAR CMO Jill Gregory is Capturing the Attention of New ... (thesponsorshipspace.com) - NASCAR has a rich history of providing exhilarating entertainment that has yielded one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in sports. The team at NASCAR has continuously evolved the sport from a technical standpoint as well as in marketing strategies to keep the excitement and fervor strong among avid fans and capt
- Jill Gregory to replace outgoing marketing head Kim Brink - Sports ... (si.com) - CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) NASCAR has promoted Jill Gregory to lead the sport's marketing efforts. She'll replace Kim Brink, who is leaving NASCAR to join a group of
- Jill Gregory is Accelerating into the Future at NASCAR - Profile (profilemagazine.com) - Jill Gregory didn't grow up watching sports car races, but soon after joining NASCAR in 2007, she was all in. There's the tight, breakneck races, the automotive wizardry, and the crowd's fierce devotion, sure, but Gregory was just as enticed … Read More
- NASCAR CMO Jill Gregory On New Campaign, Reaching New Fans (frntofficesport.com) - On the eve of the 2020 Daytona 500, Gregory spoke with FOS about NASCAR's marketing strategy, social media, and what keeps her up at night.
- The CMO Podcast - Jill Gregory (NASCAR) (stitcher.com) - Jill talks about NASCAR's recent decision to ban the confederate flags from their sporting events and NASCAR's stance on inclusiveness and equality. She also talks about what it means to be the CMO of a sports league, the work that goes marketing content, and making sure NASCAR stays relevant. Plus, having the willingness to adapt and be flexible and challenge the status quo to be competitive.
- 5 Questions with NASCAR Chief Marketing and Content Officer Jill ... (brandchannel.com) - NASCAR recently banned the Confederate flag at events in an effort to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for their fans, competitors and read more:
- NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Explains Name Change of Playoff ... (racingnews.co) - She explains her role as the NASCAR CMO and talks passion for the sport.
- Nascar Names First Female CMO (adage.com) - Jill Gregory has broken Nascar's glass ceiling, becoming the auto racing association's first female chief marketing officer.