Albert Lopez was so busy upon his arrival at Ticketmaster in April, he didn't have time to announce his appointment as VP of strategic communications until more than a month later. His hire, along with that of Wendy Webb as SVP of strategic and financial communications, was part of the company's concerted plan to adopt a more strategic outreach approach.
Those announcements had to wait, however, as Lopez was immediately put to work designing the company's first multimedia press release announcing paperless ticket options for Tom Waits' tour.
Though not publicized right away, Lopez understood that the new appointments were important, as they signaled a shift in Ticketmaster's communications leading up to its spinoff from media conglomerate InterActiveCorp (IAC) in August.
"The spinoff will allow Ticketmaster to sharpen its strategic focus and interact with new audiences like share-holders and Wall Street," Webb says, via e-mail. The company plans to push the message that Ticketmaster is trusted and secure, provides flexible solutions, is a technology leader, and is the gateway to live entertainment experiences, Lopez adds.
After studying research and data, Lopez learned that Ticketmaster possesses high brand recognition, but low brand-essence recognition, meaning the public didn't always associate the company with its message points.
"This as a clear challenge for me to communicate what our message is so the public can start understanding what the essence of this company is," he adds. "I'm working to build and refine our strategic communications platform by aggregating all the consumer research we had and trying to distill some of the company's brand essence. This allows me to have a game plan going forward."
This strategy includes arranging key interviews with Ticketmaster senior management, working with media outlets that don't typically cover the company - such as tech media to showcase the brand's innovation, reaching out more to consumer media, and customizing the way users interact with Ticketmaster online. In addition to social media news releases, Lopez says the company also uses iLike, Facebook, MySpace, iTunes, Technorati, and Del.icio.us to get messaging out.
Webb says Lopez's experience in embracing digital media was a key component in Ticketmaster hiring him. One of the company's goals, she says, is "reinforcing Ticketmaster's technological advantages through the use of digital and multimedia communications tools."
She also discusses the other qualities the company saw in Lopez, like "depth of integrated and strategic communications experience [and] brand-building capabilities, especially as he experienced at Harrah's and Motorola [where he spent 10 years in various PR roles]."
Although a part of the communications industry for more than 25 years, Lopez started off as a biomedical engineering student at the University of Southern California.
"After a semester, I knew it was a mortal mistake," he recalls. "I knew that I needed to get to my first love. It was always PR and... corporate communications. I probably was the only one in my graduating class who only ever wanted to do corporate communications. Everybody wanted to do entertainment publicity and promotion, so it's kind of cool that my previous [and current] job are both in entertainment."
Ticketmaster, VP of strategic comms
July 2005-January 2008
Harrah's Entertainment, corporate director of strategic comms
Sept. 2004-June 2005