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Today I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit the Prince Tennis headquarters in Bordentown, New Jersey, with Natalie of NPM | PR. I’ve only used Prince rackets since I started to play tennis in fifth grade, purchasing pretty much every racket that my favorite player Maria Sharapova used; I was so excited to visit their headquarters.
Natalie and I barely made it onto the train this morning, and the hour and a half train ride flew by with us blabbing away as usual.
Before I knew it, we had arrived in the quiet suburb of Bordentown, and I had the rare and lucky opportunity to sit in on a lunch meeting that Natalie had with Prince’s Marketing Manager, Chrissy Ott.
I ate my delicious grilled calamari salad that Chrissy had suggested and was completely wrapped up in the conversation that Natalie and Chrissy were having about the possibility of working together on Prince’s PR, such as the PR for the upcoming opening of Prince’s retail store in the Wimbledon village.
Since Natalie, Chrissy, and I all shared a love for tennis, our conversation flowed easily and we talked about everything from Sharapova beating Azarenka in the semi-finals of the French Open to players that Prince sponsored such as David Ferrer and the Bryan brothers.
It was interesting to hear Natalie and Chrissy go back and forth sharing their personal experiences working within the tennis world, and it made me want to be a part of it even more. It really helped me realize what a critical role PR plays within any company, and how it is a specific tool that enables consumers to connect and engage with specific products and the overall brand itself. I realized how difficult it is for any company to ensure that their desired customers and consumers continue to pay attention and have interest in what the company has to offer.
After lunch, Chrissy gave Natalie and I a tour inside the Prince headquarters and introduced us to other Prince employees, including CEO, Mike Ballardie. The highlight was probably getting to view Prince’s upcoming products such as their new tennis bags that weren’t on the market yet and seeing the classic Prince rackets that they were planning on selling again to the public.
Going through the office, an office cubicle that displayed figurines of the entire Lakers team caught my eye, since I’m a huge Lakers fan. The office belonged to Prince’s shoe guru, who designed all of their tennis shoes, and he shared a story about how he’d once designed and hand delivered a pair of sneakers for Kobe Bryant. I couldn’t believe that he had gotten the opportunity to design shoes for Kobe and that he had personally interacted with him. I was obviously instantly filled with jealousy and awe.
Our visit to Prince headquarters ended perfectly as Chrissy and Natalie agreed to get started right away working on Prince’s PR. I couldn’t have been more excited as I knew I’d get the opportunity to help Natalie out with her work with the company and brand that has produced every tennis racket I’ve ever used and loved.