AAA Mid-Atlantic & The DC Cycling Community AAA Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs Case Study | May 2011 By Kharma I. Finley-Wallace Business Operations Manager
The Start of Everything… <ul><li>In May 2010, AAA was virtually attacked across the Internet by the cycling community after DC spokespersons were quoted in local papers with comments on bike lanes installed on Pennsylvania Avenue in the District. </li></ul>
<ul><li>AAA’s position on the Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes was that the lanes installed were too large, not allowing enough room for cars, buses, pedestrians and bicycles to share the road safely or without impacting traffic congestion. </li></ul>The Position…
AAA is against bikes What the bike community heard…
Immediate Communication Strategy <ul><li>Talk to the media </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to members </li></ul><ul><li>Get AAA Mid-Atlantic Social Media team on board and respond to blogs, comments & noise </li></ul>
But Rhyme or Reason <ul><li>Despite AAA having backed many bike safety initiatives – which is not intuitive since we are the American AUTOMOBILE Association it seemed the entire cycling community had turned against AAA Mid-Atlantic and stopped listening to any voice of reason we had to give. </li></ul>Had gone out the window.
Steps to Repair <ul><li>Meet with local cycling groups. Be sure they understand our position and can therefore carry our messages to their bases. </li></ul><ul><li>Invite cycling groups (WABA) to participate in our legislative efforts for matters that effect cyclists as well as motorists such as the MD Vehicular Manslaughter Bill. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a lower profile in the media on the subject of cycle commuting. </li></ul><ul><li>Make the ‘Share the Road’ message stronger by giving driver tips as motorists share the road with bikes. </li></ul><ul><li>Continue sponsorship of DC Bike to Work Day at Silver Sponsor level giving AAA presence in the DC Metro area in conjunction with the event through web pages, brochures, t-shirts as and on site event presence. </li></ul>
Further Steps <ul><li>Think strategically. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Secure space on the podium for a AAA spokesperson to say a few remarks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give aways! Give items that the bike community finds useful. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outfit the booth with AAA signage, Share the Road information and messaging with easy to read tips for motorists and cyclists to share the road safely. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay on message. Share the Road safely. AAA has been a supporter of sharing the road for over 100 years and will continue to do so through our foundation and community outreach. We represent motorists but wish for everyone to be safe. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal Communication. Work with internal departments to leverage prime information (National AAA, AAA Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety & Education, e-Business, Social Media) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media Outreach. Send news release to media before the event with safety information and tips. Utilize social media at the event and beyond. Over time use photo’s, video and messages over social media networks. </li></ul></ul>
Internal Communication DC Bike to Work Day @ Freedom Plaza MAY 20 Members of the D.C. P&GA team joined the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections in celebrating Bike to Work Day 2011. With 11,000 commuters choosing to bicycle in to work , this year represented the highest number of participants in the event’s history. John Townsend spoke on behalf of AAA Mid-Atlantic on Freedom Plaza – the largest of 49 pit stops throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia. The club’s “Share the Road” message was prominently displayed through the distribution of information and reflective arm/leg bands to passers-by.
Measurable Results <ul><li>5 = </li></ul><ul><li># of news clips generated </li></ul><ul><li>$98,676.23 = </li></ul><ul><li>Total Media Value </li></ul><ul><li>1,134,508 = </li></ul><ul><li>Total Impressions Reported </li></ul><ul><li>5/19 & 5/20 </li></ul><ul><li>Dates of significant Coverage in </li></ul><ul><li>Washington Post </li></ul>
Measurable Results 8,000 = # of Bike to Work Day Registrations 400= # of AAA safety bands given away at the AAA booth on site 78 = Approximate # of clicks on the AAA link from the DC Washington Area Bicycle Association website 7 Tweets 3 Re-Tweets 12 Twitter Clicks
Success We tweeted a picture of this guy & he RT’d back with exciteme nt! He was happy we were there & so were we!
Further Success Video with GREAT signage in the background posted on the League of American Bicyclists Blog and their YouTube Page. That’s the League! That’s US! ALL ON THE SAME PAGE! & That is the Mayor of D.C.
End Notes <ul><li>On Bike to Work Day, we contributed to the ‘Word Clouds’ of the day in a positive way that made our key message stronger. </li></ul>
End Notes <ul><li>We repaired and strengthened relationships with an important community in Washington, DC. </li></ul>Shane Farthing Washington Area Bicycle Association @ AAA Vehicular Manslaughter Press Conference
& The Best Part of The Experience? John B. Townsend II on a bike