What Citi Bank learned from Citi bike

Bike share is coming to Dayton without a sponsor. Instead of being Premier Bike- or Kettering Bike- we’ll have Link.

Not from lack of trying. I made the rounds 5 years ago- trying to drum up interest in sponsorship- and selling the vision. Unfortunately- the number one potential sponsor pays their CEO too much- and has a glorified secretary running their marketing. They just don’t get it.

This little post- and the video- from Ad Age, shows what Citi has learned about the benefit of  “actions speaking louder than words” marketing which is why being a presenting sponsor of Bike share systems makes a ton of sense. Realize that the persistent outdoor branding  of branded bike share can’t be ignored like stupid newspaper ads or TV ads proclaiming that “we’re number 1.”

If you watch the video- listen to the part where she says that Citi sees itself as “enabling progress”- via the branding and support of Citi Bike- what brand wouldn’t want to do that- as opposed to spending millions each year on advertising via major media? Can I ride that ad about your helicopter? Or is my heart healthier because you told me about your cath lab? Hardly.

Citibank’s popular New York City bike-share program, Citi Bike, taught the firm to step out of its comfort zone, stay true to its brand and experiment to keep fresh. Nearly two years in, the company continues to lean on the initiative to strengthen its brand image.

In December, Citi brought its bike-share program to Miami and is seeing strong results in the market so far, said Elyssa Gray, director-brand and advertising at Citi, at American Banker’s Retail Banking conference yesterday. The company also plans to expand the program in New York, which is two years into a six-year sponsorship.

via Citi Bike Taught Bank How to Step Out of Its Comfort Zone | CMO Strategy – Advertising Age.

Bike share branding is one of the few real true branded gifts a marketer can give to a community- in exchange for brand awareness. Really, I don’t need anymore travel mugs, pens, calenders, or t-shirts- bike share makes a huge impact on a community. Benefits include a healthier, greener city- c’mon health care providers, insurance companies- the like- invest in something that will really show that you care about our community.

Call Laura Estandia at Link- and write her a big check. Do it now. Here is her number: 937-496-3825

Bike Share in Dayton is called “Link Dayton”

A link bike in dayton ridden by Omar PetersIt’s official. Bikeshare in Dayton now is called “Link Dayton”

The site via Bcycle– the system vendor is live- and accepting memberships. First 100 get $10 off an annual. I’ve signed up and paid. Membership doesn’t start until you take your first ride.

The system is a training wheels one- with the bare minimum of stations and bikes. Hopefully, as the system gains riders, and fans, we’ll see additional investment and expansion.
From the site:

Link is Dayton’s bike share program. Link will provide users with a fun, safe, active mode of transportation in downtown Dayton. Link can be used for short trips and errands to get around downtown – station to station. Link will launch in May of 2015, providing downtown Dayton with 24 stations and 225 bicycles. Link is a transportation service proudly provided by Bike Miami Valley and Greater Dayton RTA.

via Link Dayton Ohio Bike Share.

I’m not sure if this bike is the same shade of green as the bikes that have been unveiled- but- let’s hope. I found the deep red Bcycles in DC often were hard to spot. The white Velib bikes in Paris were easy by comparison.

The system that was selected is from Trek- Bcycle, the system that I originally brought in to share at the first Miami Valley Bike Summit- back in 2009.

This blog has an entire long list of posts about why bike share is the right thing for Dayton- http://esrati.com/category/bike-share-in-dayton-ohio

Hurry and join me as one of the first 100 members!

Welcome Link.

Update- looking at the map of stations to come (and note, they are pretty easy to reposition) I’m already predicting:

  • UD will realize they need one at the Marriott- and at the Arena.
  • Premier- will realize not having one on the MVH grounds was a mistake. Same with Grandview.
  • One is desperately missing at the Transportation Center Garage- although the convention center one is close. With the shuttles running from the Transportation center to the PHP building on
  • 2nd at Main- this could be a huge route downtown.
  • There isn’t one at the Dragons stadium- although Riverscape seems close- it’s not the same. Some places need more stations and alternates- when I was in Paris the concentration of stops near the Louvre was insane. You could see them – from one to the next- always guaranteeing a dock or a bike.
  • The South side of Sinclair- near the garage is underserved. The number of Sinclair students that could escape campus is huge- the bike availability isn’t.
  • The one aspect of the system that seems to really be missed- is to join with our bike paths- for tourists. Not that the path through downtown is currently usable thanks to I-75 construction, but Carillon Park, Island Park, up to the Boonshoft is missing and over to Sunrise- a great opportunity to add a tourist attraction.


And the Wright Brothers didn’t invent the airplane…

People are still pissed that NC claims “First in Flight” when everyone is supposed to know that the Wright Brothers invented flight and perfected it here in Dayton.

When it comes to bike share in Dayton- it most definitely wasn’t “Dayton leaders” who brought this idea to town as reported on the front page of the Dayton Daily news by Thomas Gnau (who also stole my Qbase story– a year and a half late).

Dayton leaders have long sought to make the city more bike-friendly. Three years ago, city leaders planned to spend $12.1 million in federal and state money through 2018 on street repair and repaving in a bid to give riders clear bicycle lanes. And runners, walkers and bikers have used trails by the Great Miami River for decades.

“The bike share program is one of the many ways we can connect destinations and points of interests and neighborhoods to each other,” (Downtown Dayton Partnership leader Sandy) Gudorf said. “That’s one of the key reasons we and our community partnership … push to get bike share done.”

via Daytonians could share bikes | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

At the first Miami Valley Bike Summit- not very many people were interested in the funny looking white Bcycle that was there- along with Andrew Davison, who flew in from Boulder to introduce the prototype bike.

I had started this conversation when I read about Andrew’s bosses work to launch Bcycle in partnership with Humana Health Care and Trek Bicycles about 6 years ago. I reached out to Alex Bogusky- the aforementioned boss, and creative genius of the ad agency of the decade- Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Alex passed my name over to Andrew- and he shipped the bike here to K&G bike shop for assembly- the trade show booth to my office- and the swag… T-shirts and water bottles, to hand out at the event. Of course, I wrote about all this on esrati.com, but, you know- nobody reads that….

My first post on the matter- Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future The date? Mar. 31, 2009. I thought we could launch in 2010. I talked to university presidents about it, our shadow mayor, the people at Metroparks (I had either Marvin Olinsky or Charlie Shoemaker ride the Bcycle- and shot some video of them riding it outside the meeting at DECA).

But, in the end, even with photos and posts to prove who was the father of this idea in Dayton- it won’t go down in the history of Bike Share in Dayton as my idea… because, well….

have you ever heard of “stolen valor”- or let me introduce you to my good friend Brian Williams.

5 years later- Bike share to come to Dayton

March 31, 2009, I wrote a post “Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future” talking about bringing bike share to Dayton:

The idea of the free bike isn’t new, and it’s not out of reach. It’s working in Paris, and it’s being rolled out in small communities across the country and a few big ones. To appease the old school thinkers in Dayton- remember, the Wright Brothers were bicycle builders first.

via Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future.

Photo of poster announcing Bike Share coming to Dayton

5 years later- Bike share announced.

Up until then- talk of bicycling in Dayton was mostly revolving around our amazing bike path system and a mountain bike course as part of Five Rivers Metroparks. Andy Williamson was organizing the first bicycle summit- which was held in August ’09. I made arrangements for Bcycle to bring one of their prototype bikes and give a presentation. Most people looked at that 35-pound bike like an albatross. I saw beauty.

This isn’t a bike for sport riding- or for a daily commute- this is a “magic bike” that’s there anytime you need a bike. I started making the rounds explaining how the system works and what the advantage would be. I sat with Dr. Ervin and gave him a rundown. I made presentations at World Usability Day- and shared the idea with university presidents and anyone else who would listen.

I made a lot of posts too: http://esrati.com/category/bike-share-in-dayton-ohio/

Today at 10 a.m., Mike Ervin, Sandy Gudorf, Andy Williamson and Scott Murphy as well as Mark Donaghy of RTA all stood up at the 2nd Street Market and announced that next year, 6 years after my first post- that we’d see 22 bike stations with approximately 200 bikes hit the streets downtown. No vendor has yet been selected. There is a million dollars available from the Federal Highway Administration- and the City of Dayton is kicking in $250K according to Mayor “I never miss a photo opp” Whaley. RTA will manage the maintenance, operation and distribution of the bikes. Details on pricing aren’t available yet.

No word on the name of the system or if any major backers are buying naming rights. To me, this is a no-brainer sponsorship for one of our two health-care duopolies- but, who am I to suggest where you waste your millions in marketing dollars?

I once built an interactive map on Google Maps- and using a multi-site system- where there are distributed nodes- not continuous coverage- for places like the Dayton Mall/Austin Landing area, WSU/WPAFB/Fairfield Commons mall etc- I came up with a need for at least 100 stations and 1,500 bikes. 22 stations and 200 bikes is a start.

It’s a very good day for Dayton, with this announcement and the Flyers advancing to the Elite 8 to face Florida tomorrow night.