The Unobvious Ones is a monthly look at movers and shakers who fly below the radar in the Canadian auto industry.
Hands-on at events to get Subaru noticed
When auto shows set up, Julie Lychak has boots on the ground. As manager of public relations for Subaru Canada, she presents vehicles to both the media and the public.
“On the PR side, you’re thinking of how media will view the product,” Lychak said. “For auto shows, it’s how the public experiences the vehicle. I look at the display sightlines, how they sit in the vehicle, is the clock set to the right time. We approve how they’re angled, the lighting, if the logo is visible. We have a small team that works with our external partners.”
Lychak has university degrees in English and radio and television arts, and thought she would end up in broadcast journalism.
“I saw a posting for a copywriting position in marketing, and it didn’t occur to me that someone wrote the ads,” she said. “It opened my eyes to another area of communications.”
She spent four years copywriting for a sports-nutrition company, and then joined Subaru in 2008.
“It was a large learning curve without an automotive background, but if I can tell an 18-year-old about protein powder for muscle, I can explain the benefits of a [continuously variable transmission] for fuel economy. I understood what the customer was looking for, even without a technical background, and I can communicate clearly and concisely.
“I started writing press releases for the [Subaru] PR team, and in 2011, I moved to the PR department. I learned the events side, developing relationships with media and lending cars to journalists.”
Lychak never wanted to work for an agency. “I like working with a brand closely. I can see a project from concept to completion. When you’re at an auto show, it’s my job that you think of Subaru.”
Making customers comfortable bilingually