The World Loves the Builds…and the Builders

SEMA News—March 2018

The World Loves the Builds…and the Builders!

Chris Kersting

Chris Kersting

In this issue, we review highlights of the Battle of the Builders competition, which has become one of the industry’s notable and prestigious vehicle-build competitions in just a few short years. Celebrating this year’s top builders is also an opportunity to note that Battle of the Builders and SEMA Ignited were launched so that more people all over the world could get a chance to see—and be inspired by—the incredible vehicles, innovative products and gearhead personalities gathered at the trade-only SEMA Show. From social media to top publications and conventional television, the visibility of content from the Battle of the Builders is the result of SEMA and our industry members working together to help grow the base of enthusiasts and our future market.

After many years as relatively unsung heroes at the SEMA Show, the industry’s creative community of rookie builders, industry icons and the shop talent who execute their genius are now stepping into the spotlight. And Battle of the Builders happens at a time and place each year when media of every sort turn an enthusiastic eye toward our industry.

Battle of the Builders creates a platform for exciting media content that popularizes car culture. It’s a way for our industry to gain a broader consumer audience and to suggest that customization can be part of any person’s love affair with their car. In short, it provides a strong mechanism for greater consumer involvement on a global basis, creating new heroes and new fans and ultimately helping to grow the marketplace for specialized automotive products.

SEMA’s one-hour feature television production, “SEMA: Battle of the Builders,” is not just a show about building custom cars. While the show has attracted just short of 8 million viewers in the past two years alone, it spurs an additional payoff through the social-media buzz that radiates from video shorts and other high-interest content. In just the past 10 months, more than 58.4 million social-media impressions have been generated by Battle of the Builders content.

A new twist this year was a pilot program to weave younger generations into the Battle of the Builders. Working with regional car shows to highlight builders 27 years old or younger, six young enthusiast builders—Young Guns—received recognition that included an expense-paid trip to the SEMA Show, where they had the opportunity to exhibit their builds, rub elbows with our specialty parts community and meet established builders.

The Young Guns program not only shines a light on up-and-coming builders and creates career opportunities but also works to create a still broader social-media footprint that resonates with younger audiences. Our analytics tell us that some 3.06 million impressions were made between April and December of this year based on Young Guns content on Instagram and Twitter alone.

The Young Guns pilot program was a winner for the young builders, our regional car show partners (thanks to all of you!) and our aims to engage future automotive enthusiasts.

As we expand the Young Guns initiative, we’ll be working to create more opportunities for younger enthusiast builders who may be inspired to launch careers in our industry. We’ll also be creating new players in the custom car world, which in turn will inspire more participation among their friends and followers.

This year’s Battle of the Builders television special is currently airing on the Velocity Network. The show, if you haven’t seen it yet, offers an entertaining inside perspective on the top builds and builders at the SEMA Show. Perhaps more importantly, it’s an example of how SEMA and our members can work together to inspire people who never before realized that they, too, can have vehicles that suit their interests, lifestyles and personalities.

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