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FIRST® Things FirstWhat is FIRST?
FIRST Official Site
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Marketing & Publicity Resources
Publicity TipsHere's a simple one-pager (front/back) full of publicity tips.
It's a lite or sound-bite version of the following Publicity Manual.
Publicity Tips (, 159 KB) last updated Fall 2011
2012 Championship Team Media Guidelines (, 159 KB)
Publicity FIRST® ManualThis manual lightly touches on many aspects of publicity or public relations from a FIRST team perspective. It goes into somewhat more detail on writing press releases and getting them published. This manual began as a simple idea to introduce teams to how public relations and publicity work and to encourage them to get started.
Publicity is how your team gets funding, members, advisors, mentors, resources. Students cannot join FIRST if they don’t know about it, fundraisers and events must be advertised to attract audiences and sponsors are more likely to contribute if they’ve already heard about you. You should give your sponsor and school good press coverage because they deserve it! Toot your own horn. People will never know what great things your team accomplishes unless you tell them, and that includes using newspaper and magazine articles as well as broadcast media to promote the team and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), recruit new students, advertise for events, appeal for engineers, appeal for resources. You’re showcasing and promoting both the best features of your team and FIRST objectives and goals.
See some of our published articles
Publicity Manual (, 288 KB) last updated Fall 2011
You can release your articles for publication through websites such as PRlog
What is Marketing?But I'm not selling anything am I?
FIRST is all about selling the Science & Engineering professions to students to convince them to pursue these careers. You also promote your team to potential student members, to judges, to potential alliance partners. You are selling FIRST to your sponsors in convincing them to invest in you and your future. You are selling both FIRST and your team everyday.
Who’s the customer?
- Sponsors both existing and potential
- Your school administration for their political support
- Teachers who might become team advisors or trip chaparones
- Parent prospects for booster support
- Potential student members
- Potential mentors
- FIRST awards judges
- FIRST alliance teams
We need to sell students on FIRST and how they can make a difference in the world through an engineering career. According to a National Academy of Engineering report http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?id=1954&source=1 the four best messages that get a student’s attention are:
- Engineers make a world of difference
- Engineers are creative problem-solvers
- Engineers help shape the future
- Engineering is essential to our health, happiness, and safety
Elements of MarketingDevelop a marketing plan to give your team definition, planning, organization, message clarity, content, service, administration, personality, usefulness.
- Relationships --
Marketing is developing and maintaining relationships with your customers. Let them know you are there. Let them know what you are accomplishing. Let them know of your successes and also where you need help.
- Name recognition
- Be instantly recognizable by your marketing community
- Develop your own catch phrases and buzz words
- Brand your team with a unique look that you ALWAYS have
- Don’t change your team name, look, identity every year. Design and settle on a look that works for you, then stick to it.
- Team Image
- Competition spirit
- Consistent look
- Your robot cart
- Your robot design/color scheme/style
- Local community – school, district & town newspapers, flyers, community bulletin boards, parades, fairs,
- Regional FIRST community – joint team events, regional promotions and fundraising
- National & International FIRST community – away Regionals & Championship, website, FIRST forums
- Publicize what you bring to an alliance
- Visit potential and existing sponsors regularly
- Build relationships by being helpful, friendly, and cooperative to your administration, teachers, sponsors, other teams, Regional committee
- Socialize at competitions as well as in the grocery store, on the soccer field, everywhere!
- What do sponsors and school administrators see?
- Your students/mentors who visit
- Local newspaper articles
- Your presence at local events, such as, fairs, trade shows, parades, company picnics, sponsor appreciation demos.
- What do other teams see?
- Your students -- hopefully sociable & helpful
- Your competition Pit -- it's just like a trade show booth advertising your team
- Your robot cart
- Your website
- Your flyers & brochures
- Team-to-team awards
- Your mentors
- Your loaned spare parts and donated raw materials
- Give-aways/product placement -- Give teams something that they’ll remember you by. Something useful that they’ll reach for and use for year’s to come. Something unique that gets associated with you alone.
- Robot Pit sheet --
If you have the resources make two versions of this for the pit scouters that come around from other teams on
Thursday and Friday, then an updated version that you distribute on Saturday morning to the teams in the top
of the standings.
- Capabilities –- what your robot is designed to do
- Unique features that set you apart
- Actual Competition record –- hard numbers from your own or other scouters emphasizing your robot/drive team strengths.
- Lack of penalties
- Defense played
- Offensive scoring
- Lack of breakdowns
- Cooperative play
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