The intersection of sports and business

See the version in French here (Thanks to my friends at Nissan Canada).

I was very fortunate to meet Nicolas Touchette (CEO of the Touchette Group) last year in the Nissan Micra Cup. He was initially my teammate at the Motorsports in Action team, then graciously became my sponsor for the whole season as I battled for wins and a chance at the championship.

We'll be back competing in the 2016 Micra Cup this season and we're aiming to utilize the platform of the series as a cross-section between our passion of motorsports and Touchette’s tire business. Touchette Group is one of Canada's fastest-growing tire distributors that manages a number of brands including Tirelink and DT Tire for distribution, as well as Tireland/Ici Pneu as a newly-acquired consumer facing brand. I've been allowed to work with the Touchette Group team on this program and they've been awesome in allowing me to document the process right here on my blog.

Why am I writing about it?

A lot of advice is passed on to upcoming athletes about their route to the top. I've found much of it is with good intentions but is slightly misguided, vague, or ultimately, not very feasible. Many times I’ve heard:

“You need to do X+Y+Z and you’ll be a star and you’ll land all the sponsors and you’ll be on your path…”

It feels as though this trajectory is ultimately like playing the lottery where only the very few realistically succeed. Why? Likely because everyone else is playing the same game and trying to do the exact same things that you are to become the next “big thing”.

I'd like to use this blog to be a transparent example of what goes on behind the scenes in a program like this.

So, what are the goals of the motorsports program with the Touchette Group and how do we plan to achieve them?

Our aim is to make Touchette Group’s distribution clients feel more comfortable in choosing our company when ordering tires for their business in the future. We are utilizing our race team program to provide an enjoyable experience and help further our relationship with the client.

How did we come up with this plan?

From the outset, we took a look at where the majority of Touchette Group’s business is coming from: distributing tires. The other factor in consideration was that the Nissan Micra Cup already has events in markets where the Touchette Group has clients.

With all elements of “where to buy your tires” being the same, it was found that the relationship and comfort with the distributor was the biggest factor in our clients’ purchasing decisions.

What are we doing?

We have decided to host Touchette Group’s distribution clients and have them as part of our team for the race weekends in 2016. Even though racing is not likely a passion for our clients, it's a chance to share our story with the people who deal with our company. It’s also an opportunity for us to learn about what Touchette Group can improve upon directly from the people dealing with the service on a daily basis. For the clients, it’s a chance to have an open dialogue with a company they rely on to do their business, including meeting the CEO.

We’re offering clients a chance to be represented on our racecar for the weekend, as well as having the option to bring out their family and friends. So, if all else fails, they have a chance to get their logo on a racecar that we expect to be fighting for the top spot all weekend. A bit of bragging rights never hurts, right?

How will we measure success?

If we can get each client we host at the track, or even open a dialogue with, to feel more comfortable in dealing with the Touchette Group, we’ll have the initial traction we need to continue with the program. We’ve conservatively set targets we’d like to hit to justify this program, but in the end, it’s up to us to deliver an awesome experience.

As for myself, I’m happy to help coordinate this program and share my passion with others. If I can tell a story about the sport, educate someone who shows interest, help a kid get a picture in a cool racecar, or just hangout after the day is done – I’m happy to be involved. Plus, in the end, I really want to go win more races. :)

-Stefan