A Year in Review

My year to date at SMG-managed American Bank Center   

By:  Kristen Bily

Where has the time gone? It seems like it was just yesterday when I started my position as the marketing and media relations manager at SMG-managed American Bank Center, but it has actually been a whirlwind year. This field is fast-paced, exciting and a true adrenaline rush. It is amazing to be able to work with all of the talent that comes to perform at the American Bank Center Arena, Selena Auditorium and convention center, and the best part is that the experience covers a wide spectrum of entertainment from comedy, country music and rock ‘n’ roll to professional wrestling, Celtic Woman and the Blue Man Group. One thing I can say is you never get bored!

I feel like I am growing professionally each and every day. The days can be long, from starting at the morning news interviews to closing down the venue after the evening concert, but the hours are filled with excitement. I have definitely learned so much already at SMG-managed American Bank Center that I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

The thing I most love about public relations is that you are constantly juggling multiple projects, along with their different deadlines, at the same time. I also love staying up-to-date on the latest music news, sometimes across multiple channels, all while dealing with different personalities and keeping on top of the latest trends in marketing and social media.

When I discuss my position as the marketing and media relations manager, one of the most common questions I get asked is what my days look like on show days or even on a weekly basis. I thought I would share with those who love marketing and public relations; maybe I can even inspire someone who is looking into this field of work and ignite a fire that makes them want to follow their passion.

I have found that my day on a show day often consists of constant movement from beginning to end, but I can honestly say that show days are one of the most exciting and one of my favorite parts of the job. On most show days, my morning starts at 2 a.m. to get to work by 4 a.m. We usually have talent come in in the morning to interview for the live morning newscasts. Although it is quite early, it has continued to be one of my favorite activities because that is where we are able to get creative with the visiting talent and get people’s day started by stirring excitement for the upcoming day’s event.

The rest of the day consists of speaking with tour managers, getting content for our social media and setting up media that will happen that day. As the day winds into the afternoon, it is back to the office for emails on other upcoming events, phone calls and preparing for show time. The afternoon is when the butterflies begin because when you hear the trucks roll in and start setup and sound check, that anticipation is the best feeling. As show time nears, security and operations meetings take place to get a run-through of the show and prepare for all media from TV cameras to photographers.

The magic happens in the evening just prior to the show when there are planned meet-and-greet events with the exciting talent that is about to grace our stages. Seeing the fans interact with celebrity performers they have only previously seen on TV, or possibly at an earlier concert from 40 rows away, is one of the job’s true rewards.

Recently, at the Backstreet Boys concert, I met an Avril Lavigne fan who actually had Lavigne’s face shaved on the back of her head! It’s those fans who make the work completely worth it. As the lights go down and the show begins, I love being on the floor around all the fans as their excitement builds. It is the best feeling, and I think my favorite part of my job!

Even with the perks and excitement, as with any job, there are challenges. Often, we work up to five events at a time, so the pace is hectic and there is always a whirlwind of activity for the events that are all at different stages of planning and execution. In the field of public relations, you need to find your center and zone, and not stress at the frenetic pace that seems to follow you every day. You need to assimilate the required information as expeditiously as possible while ensuring that you do not miss important, but often obscure details for the events.

Have you ever heard the saying that patience is a virtue? Well, in public relations, patience is a requirement! One challenge I love is how technology is always changing. I am amazed at the constant changes in social media and how we share things with so many different people. Whether it is answering a simple question, doing a contest or giving the public a behind-the-scenes look at things they would not usually see, I love engaging with patrons on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social media is constantly progressing, and I enjoy seeing us grow right along with the technology.

With every challenge faced in any job, there are always skills for one to keep in mind to do the best job possible. Public relations and marketing is said to be creative and exciting, while at the same time, fast-paced and stressful. One of the things I have learned is to always pay attention to as many details as you can, but to also look at the big picture. I feel like the best advice I can give to someone looking to go into public relations and marketing is to be in the moment – to not stress the inevitable, but focus on the present. I am constantly reminding our marketing interns to not over-think the tasks at hand, but to accomplish each task one by one.

When you succeed, it is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment knowing that you had a small part in bringing some fabulous entertainment to the great city of Corpus Christi. Come on out and join us for an event sometime!

SMG-managed American Bank Center is Corpus Christi’s premier event center providing unprecedented guest experiences. For more information, visit www.americanbankcenter.com, www.facebook.com/americanbankcenter, www.twitter.com (@AmericanBankCtr) or www.instagram.com (@AmericanBankCenter).

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