If You Dream It—Will They Come/Going Green When Nobody Notices

A blogger on Sustainable Business, Marc Stoiber, wonders why a major sustainability milestone achieved by Translink, the Vancouver, British Colombia transit system, went almost unnoticed by local and national media.

The funny thing is…transit systems control their own media, one that reaches the two most important audiences they have. If I were the company’s marketing director, I’d put inside placards on the front and back of both sides of every bus and subway (four signs in each car) to reach the actual riders—and exterior signage to reach the next-most-important constituency: Vancouver-area residents not yet using public transit.

The interior placards would not just brag about the accomplishment—they’d say thank you to the riders for their part. And those exterior signs would recruit new riders to join the tribe, e.g., “become part of the greenest commute in North America.” And I’d supplement this with a nice social media campaign, which itself could be a subject for exciting press releases, etc.

Then, the local media and perhaps the national media would almost certainly pick up the story—but even if they didn’t, the message would be out there, and if done right, ridership would grow.

Stoiber goes on to discuss the very creative marketing of another transit advocate, Jason Roberts—who put up a website for the a nonexistent light-rail transit line in Dallas, Texas called the Oak Cliff Transit Authority—and was able to organize so effectively around this public vision that the project actually got funded! You might call Roberts’ story “If You Dream It, They Will Come—IF You’re a Marketer and Organizer Who Can Create and Gather a Tribe.”

Vancouver Transit execs: I’d love to consult with you on how to build big awareness. I already have one Vancouver-based green company as a client.

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