In order for Dayton to get a bike-sharing system- we will need private businesses and institutions to buy in and support it. Wright State and the University of Dayton already understand the value a bike sharing system can bring to their parking impaired institutions, once Sinclair and the Hospitals and LexisNexis buy in, we may have the critical beginnings of a way to make this happen.
However, some small businesses in Denver have started to get it as well:
The wheels on the B-cycles will go round and round for Kentwood City Properties’ 70 employees who were given memberships to Denver’s bike-sharing program along with helmets last week from company owners Dee Chirafisi and Jim Theye.
“John Hayden, a broker in our office, is on the steering committee for B-cycle,” Chirafisi said. “Every Tuesday we tour all our new listings. He does it on his bike, and he’s always at each property first. One day on the property tour, we all took a bike. We had so much fun, we decided we want to support this program.”
Chirafisi and Theye decided to take “a large chunk” ($30,000) of their annual marketing budget and invested in a sponsorship, which included the memberships, helmets and 20 bikes with baskets emblazoned with the real estate company’s logo.
“They’re the first Denver company to really build their entire marketing efforts around Denver B-cycle,” said Denver marketing maven Steve Sander. “I view this as a true investment in something that is good for them and good for the community.”
Memberships start March 1 when the B-cycle fleet awakes from hibernation. The program was put on hiatus for the winter in part due to weather conditions, and to give organizers time to “tweak” kinks in the program, such as touchy touch-screen technology, and somewhat confusing instructions.
When the bikes are back, Kentwood will have “passes” to rent B-cycles to show properties to potential buyers. A B-cycle will also take up residence in the front window of the 1660 17th St. building.
“It’s a perfect fit for the way they do business and the vision they have of experiencing downtown,” Sander said.
With traditional advertising channels becoming less efficient, and consumers tired of the constant barrage of marketing messages- the idea of providing a service instead of just talk is taking off. The Pepsi Refresh campaign is probably the best example of a marketer taking their money and putting it into doing something instead of just talking about it.
The local hospitals have made similar efforts with their branding contracts for High School sports stadiums- but, these stadium deals do little for the community at large-and aren’t an asset for bringing people and potential companies to Dayton. BCycle could have a huge impact in our community- both from the standpoint of solving some serious parking and transportation issues on campuses- but, also in our communities attitude toward bicycling and healthy lifestyles.
If you think your company might be interested in sponsoring BCycle in Dayton- please drop me a line.