Drifting to success: How extreme sport skills translate to public relations

Posted on September 25, 2023

Adaptability and quick thinking are two of the most essential public relations skills. For me, a source of inspiration and experience for these two concepts comes from my love of extreme sports, specifically the adrenaline-pumping sport of drifting. While seemingly worlds apart, the principles and skills applied in drifting have had a remarkable impact on my ability to navigate the twists and turns of my career in PR.

In drifting, precision and control are everything. Drivers master the art of controlling a vehicle through a sequence of calculated movements and agile adjustments. In PR, crafting the perfect message, managing a client’s reputation and steering a campaign through uncertain terrain require meticulous planning and execution. To excel in PR, precision in messaging and communication are vital for delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.

The best drifters in the world learn to trust their instincts and make split-second decisions as they react to changes such as track conditions or moves made by other drivers alongside you. PR professionals often find themselves in rapidly evolving situations, requiring quick thinking and the ability to pivot strategies on the fly. By applying this way of thinking to PR, you’ll prepare to adjust your PR strategies to respond effectively to unforeseen challenges and opportunities.

Photo credit: Formula Drift

It’s well-known in the drifting community that a driver is only as good as the team they work with. Whether the driver is looking to rebuild their car or using their 10-minute time-out during a competition, a solid, dedicated team is fundamental to make it happen. Likewise, PR efforts and campaigns are seldom solo efforts. The best outcomes are achieved through collaboration and by building strong relationships within the team and with clients.

Photo credit: Chelsea Denofa

You’ll often see that the drivers who take the time to build a unique personal brand will have the most loyal fanbase because they share exclusive moments of their lives in accessible ways, for example YouTube or on other social media platforms. While this is a tactic, I am still working on myself, the same can be said for developing a successful PR career. Those who invest in their personal branding by developing a strong online presence further their ability to establish themselves as knowledgeable and reliable practitioners.

Adam LZ via Youtube

In the exhilarating world of drifting, drivers harness the power of precision, adaptability, risk management, personal branding, teamwork and composure to succeed on the track. These concepts can be applied to all aspects of public relations. Whether you’re sliding around corners or steering a PR campaign, embracing these drifting principles has helped me to navigate the twists and turns of my career. So, whether it’s your first day in the industry or you’re a seasoned professional, you can drift into PR with confidence, style and finesse.

Megan Hessel is an Account Coordinator at Brookline Public Relations. Approaching every day with her analytical mind, Megan takes every opportunity to support the team with any new challenge, project or event.