For 21 years, from 1997 to 2019, I worked in the Marketing Department of HPI Racing, first in Southern California, then from the start of 2004 in the Midlands of England. At the time, HPI Racing was a hugely popular designer and manufacturer of radio control (RC) model cars for hobbyists and model racers. I was chosen for the job because in the summer of 1997 (the first ‘boom’ of the World Wide Web) I had created a very popular unofficial website for the HPI Racing brand, with people from around the world sending me photos and details about their model radio control cars.
In recent years, in my own time, I have also built put my own personal brands using the skills I learned and developed while working full-time.
My first job for HPI Racing was to create the official website for the brand. This involved using unfamiliar software and HTML editing as well as adding content, which I was fully responsible to create. I learned a huge amount about design interface, the user experience, colour design and other key web design skills, in addition to learning about dozens of products that I’d never been exposed to before.
Writing information about all the various products offered by the brand involved talking with the designers, all of whom were Japanese, and turning their information into content for the website.
As the internet evolved in the early 2000s, the HPI Racing website evolved at the same pace, and my role as web designer was given to web developers with coding experience. My job thus evolved more into new tasks such as copywriting, making sure every product on the website had its own unique information.
Before a staff photographer was hired, for several years it was my responsibility to take photographs of the HPI Racing products. During this time, digital photography was brand new, and for me was another on-the-job-training situation, so the first attempts were not good! However, with enough time and perseverance the results vastly improved. In recent years my experience with studio and outdoor photography has grown immensely, including action photography and organizing multi-person shoots.
Outdoor & studio video creation & project management
Video Content Producer
Scriptwriting for product videos, voiceovers, presenting, lighting, camera work, instructional and ‘unboxing videos, technical videos
Working with social media influencers as well as online and print for multiple campaigns
Projects ranged from single-day outings for filming to multiple year-long single-brand racing series around the USA and UK, culminating in a World Final event;
Videos including ‘how-to’, ‘unboxing’, instructional, model action and more
Social Media Management & Marketing
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others, as well as coordinating hashtag campaigns
Carefully watching customer reaction online in forums, blogs, review sites and social media became a big part of the job. Representing the HPI Racing brand under my own name and under a carefully managed ‘HPI Frank’ persona became a key part of helping keep the brand in the forefront of customer’s minds.
Consulting on brand graphics, packaging design and other outward image efforts also became a part of my job during a major brand redesign in 2014-5.
Keeping in touch with industry media and social media influencers also became an integral part of area of concern, making sure that product samples were distributed in time and enlisting help from media sources in social media pushes and articles in print and online.