Are you looking to join the promotional industry but not sure how to start? Have you heard about different agencies but aren’t sure who to sign with? We sat down with veteran talent, Isabelle Du, to talk about how she became an automotive product specialist and what advice she has to anyone who is just starting out in the promotional industry.
How many years have you been working with Productions Plus and how many years have you been in this industry?
I’ve been with Productions Plus since 2015 and that’s when I started doing auto shows. However, I’ve been doing tradeshows and promos as a brand ambassador since 2005. I’ve got to say – auto shows are my favorite experiences.
How did you first hear of Productions Plus and what was the first job/event that you booked?
I had first heard of Productions Plus through a friend who was an automotive product specialist and narrator on the Lexus team. Shortly after, I came across Productions Plus’ open call posting for automotive show product specialists and brand ambassadors and I remembered thinking to myself, “This must be a sign!” I quickly hit the submit button and was ecstatic when I got called in for an audition! At one point, P+ asked if there were any brands I would want to request to work for and even though I had a particular one in mind, I wanted to leave myself open to all opportunities.
It was around February when I had auditioned and afterward, P+ updated me about various automotive brands that had expressed interest in me and wanted further in-person interviews. In June, I received a call that Toyota wanted me to be on their team and I was thrilled because that’s who I had in mind initially if I had to request for a team! PLUS, I drive an unstoppable 2007 Toyota Prius with 235k miles and gets me 45 mpg. I was beyond elated that I landed my dream team!
Training was where I first met everyone, including all 120 product specialists on our Toyota team. The weeklong training really WOWed me. Right away, I was impressed by how P+ organized everything. We got into the nitty-gritty mechanics of internal combustion engines to specs of every single vehicle in the current lineup. As soon as I finished training, I booked the Do More – RAV4 campaign event in Monterey Park and my first auto show after that was for the Orange County International Auto Show. It felt great to dive into bookings so quickly.
Is working with Productions Plus different than other agencies?
Definitely! P+ is an agency that you will build real relationships with real people. This is why I love staying on. There are some promo agencies where you can sign up online and you’ll never know who is behind the e-mails and you may never even meet them in person. It’s easy to feel like a number because you can tell you’re a part of a mass sent e-mail.
With P+, I met my team’s account managers, P+ executives like our President Hedy and Executive Director of Talent and Marketing Halie, and our clients, at my first training and every annual training after that. It’s not a once-a-year-thing either. I continually get to see them at auto shows so everyone does get to know each other and our talents. For example, Eric, who is one of our team’s account managers that books for events, is aware of my bilingual language skills in Vietnamese. He’ll ask for my availability for the Tết festival (Lunar New Year) and Asian American community events and I think it really shows how well they know you when they match up your capabilities to bookings.
This is also the first agency I’ve been with that is proactive with learning opportunities for their talent. From being media trained to narration/public speaking workshops hosted by our team’s seasoned public speakers, I love that I can use these skills outside of the team as an on-camera host and actress as well.
What is your advice to someone who is just starting out in the promotional industry?
First and foremost, be friendly and approachable! It’s as a simple as it gets! Because the promotional industry is all about a company wanting to connect consumers to a brand – we are literally the gatekeeper and their first impression of the brand you’re representing. People love smiles and a good conversation. Consumers will remember how you made them feel after they’ve talked to you and will associate that feeling with the company’s logo you’re wearing.
Secondly, don’t feel intimidated that you don’t have all the product knowledge right when you first start. Everyone on your team will be more than happy to support you and you’ll quickly learn all of that. Take initiative for yourself and everyone, including P+, will take notice!
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