I recently sat down with Andrea Lieberman (CEO and co-founder) and Alyssa Norwood (VP of Operations) at Biking Billboards, a Seattle-based startup that offers a smart and personable alternative to traditional advertising. Using bike-trailing billboard advertising, Biking Billboards takes their clients’ messages “on the road” – literally! With targeted, high-visibility routes, and capitalizing on local events where people congregate, Biking Billboards ensures optimal exposure of its clients’ messages to their potential customers. On the route, Brand Ambassadors directly engage with people-distributing samples, flyers, coupons and communicating brand messages.
Biking Billboard is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and memorable mobile advertising billboard that delivers brand messaging to various outdoor venues. Similar to Pedi cabs, their bicycle-drawn billboards follow high-visibility routes and customized schedules through outdoor spaces with heavy foot traffic, such as sporting events, festivals, and downtown streets to ensure optimal exposure of its clients’ messages to their potential customers. Their mobile billboards are an excellent fit for brands desiring an engagement-based, active, and environmentally friendly advertising presence in outdoor venues throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Biking Billboards’ success can be largely attributed to its riders, referred to as Brand Ambassadors. Working in teams of two to four, and outfitted in custom cycling shirts and gear designed to complement each ad campaign, Brand Ambassadors ride company-supplied bicycles towing advertising billboards. On the route, Brand Ambassadors directly engage with people-distributing samples, flyers, coupons and communicating brand messages on behalf of clients.
I hesitate to classify Biking Billboards as a market disrupter; rather it seems that they offer their clients a smart and personable compliment to their existing PR programs and traditional “transit” advertising. They have taken a very simple, yet revolutionary approach to the Out-Of-Home advertising industry, which includes transit, billboards, and posters. Whereas static Out-Of-Home ads offer one size fits all messages, Biking Billboards’ Brand Ambassadors offer a human extension to their clients. Through friendly and informed interaction, they are able to customize the intended message to meet individual consumers and to maximize its impact, and take the idea of social media to a whole new level.
Biking Billboards is positioned as a relationship-based engagement marketing company. Face-to-face and personal interaction is a foundation pillar for the business and is the basis of its future success. In the process of connecting with consumers on behalf the current campaign, the Brand Ambassadors themselves are Biking Billboards’ ultimate outgoing market tool. They have also worked to create strong bonds with like-minded organizations, such as the Cascade Bicycle Club and they offer discounts for cycling-related advertisers. Further, they continue to build their online presence through frequent traditional media attention and a blossoming social media presence. They have fully levered Seattle’s high environmental awareness and bike friendliness in order to make good use of inbound traffic to drive continued growth. Three years removed from a single homemade bike trailer mounted billboard, Biking Billboards is clearly on a roll.