How the US LOT Sessions were born
The US LOT Sessions were never supposed to happen in the way they did… but I am so glad they did! The US LOT Podcast started last year as an internal communications tool to keep Lotus staff up to date with the latest company news, while also giving them a look behind the scenes at areas in the business they might not know much about. Now we’ve got listeners all over the world, a new type of ‘public service broadcasting’.
I am a big fan of podcasts. I spend a huge amount of time listening to the top automotive ones while driving to work, walking the dog or cleaning the car. Podcasts aren’t exactly new, dating back to the early 2000s, but have become far more popular in recent years. Now, suddenly, in the world we find ourselves today, they have become more relevant than ever.
I have worked for Lotus for nearly six years, I grew up 25 minutes from the factory and have been a lifelong fan. Stories are what set us apart; a brand is built on its stories and the best story wins. If I could tell just 10% of the best I have heard about Lotus, I thought we could produce something people would want to listen to.
Last year, the first US LOT Podcast episode was a professionally produced, formal chat with people around the business. We had a sound recordist and even a producer on site! We recorded a second one as a Christmas message from the CEO and planned more… until Covid-19 hit.
That got me thinking. Suddenly podcasts could become an opportunity to talk to our owners and fans as well as our staff – to ‘us lot’ – to keep them entertained and engaged with Lotus during this difficult time. Now was my chance to see if anyone else would be interested in all the stories that I think make Lotus so great. I pitched the idea, everyone loved it and so we were going global.
As we left the Hethel office on 23 March – the day lockdown was announced – I grabbed a microphone and a few cables. I messaged six people in the industry who I knew had interesting links to Lotus, had owned our cars and had an engaged social media following. They all said yes immediately, so the next day I took my phone and my laptop and headed to the garage at home. Four days later I had recorded six episodes, spoken to three people in LA, a few high-profile TV personalities and a world-famous car collector. The US LOT Sessions were born, recorded and edited within a week. No sound recordist or producer in sight!
The thing with podcasts, and I suppose Lotus in general, is that adaptability and agility are required attributes that drive success. It turns out a quiet garage with a power supply and broadband is useful too. Then you just need a willing guest with a story. I think I probably averaged no more than 5-10 questions per episode, leaving it to their ability to tell a tale. I am lucky, I get to listen to the stories just like the audience. I guess the only difference is I get the opportunity to ask the next question!
We had no expectations about listening figures, but we’ve been delighted with consistent appearances in the top 10 of UK automotive podcasts, peaking at #2. You can listen to the US LOT Sessions podcast through iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and ShoutEngine.
Will there be more of the US LOT Sessions? Absolutely.