Member Spotlight: Paula Milton
TITLE & ORGANIZATION
Partnership Marketing, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
FOUNDING SMA MEMBER SINCE
Could you explain your role to us?
I have worked with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp since 2009. We have multiple signature events we produce throughout the year, including our two notable national events: Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash and Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th. I sell partnerships for all our events and programs.
How long have you partnered with Jack Daniel’s?
Basically, from the time that I got here. They’ve been a long-term partner across the board on multiple fronts. In addition to being the signature sponsor of the New Year’s Eve event, they also sponsor our other big event, Let Freedom Sing! presented by Dr Pepper. I worked with Jack Daniel’s previously when I was with the Country Music Association. We’ve built a great partnership over the years, and we’re fortunate to have a long-term relationship.
How do you nurture relationships with partners?
Like all our relationships, we try to make it an across-the-board partnership. When we host journalists, we take them to one of our member restaurants or take them to one of the many attractions in town to give them a taste of Nashville. It’s the same with our partners. If there’s an event we’re hosting, we’re going to make sure we’re serving Dr Pepper and Jack Daniel’s. It’s the little things that go a long way.
What something you’re particularly proud of?
When it comes to New Year’s Eve, it’s a great time for people to celebrate, so we always provide services so people can celebrate responsibly. That’s a huge message. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office runs a campaign called Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk, and we partner with them and do our part to contribute. We offer a Designated Driver Zone and Celebrate Responsibly Tent for designated drivers. We have a lounge set up for them in a heated tent offering complimentary coffee, Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola and water available all night long. And designated drivers get a wristband, so they can go to drink stands anywhere on the event site and receive a free soft drink or water.
We also work with Uber and Lyft. Jack Daniel’s always provides a code for discounted rides home after the event, so we make it into a partnership across the event versus just a single activation.
What’s one unique partnership that comes to mind?
We did a unique partnership with Ashley Furniture this year. They brought furniture, and we used their items to furnish two nice lounges – one for event attendees and another in the Designated Driver lounge. The best part was that we joined with Ashley to donate the furniture to two local nonprofits after the event.
Do you have a great story you can share about one of these events?
I like the July 4th event because it’s a daylong celebration. You have partner activation zones, music, food and then the fireworks. We have over five hours of live music with an A-list headliner, but the fireworks are the real headliner of the show. The fireworks last about 30 minutes long and are choreographed to a live performance by the Nashville Symphony, so it’s pretty spectacular. It takes place down on the riverfront. It’s really fun and totally different from New Year’s Eve. But that event is great too because we have a Music Note drop at midnight.
Since you live in the Music City do you have a favorite music event or musician you’ve seen through these events?
One of the coolest events was a New Year’s Eve show on Lower Broadway that featured Kings of Leon and Chris Stapleton. That was Chris Stapleton’s breakout year at the CMA Awards, so it was extra special to have him there. And the stage in the middle of the neon of the honkytonks really gave you a sense that you were in Music City.