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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Trucking education and image movement reaches goals

Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the industry-wide education and image movement, continues to hit its fundraising and outreach goals, and has even earned recent national recognition as a finalist for the 2016 Platinum PR Awards. TMAF leaders held a telephone press conference Tuesday to discuss the latest results and success from the latter half of 2016, and also addressed TMAF’s plans to continue strengthening the movement.

“Since our last public update this past spring, we’ve hit new, positive milestones on so many fronts – from expanding our reach with a member database topping three thousand, building our donor base, and further engaging with lawmakers, the industry, the media, and the public,” said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF, president of Jet Express, Inc., and chairman of American Trucking Associations (ATA). “Our progress is a testament to all that our donors and supporters have done throughout the year, signalling a bright future ahead for TMAF.”

Burch also lauded the success of TMAF’s trailer wraps program. The wraps – or “moving billboards” – are seen by as many as 16 million people, per wrap, per city. With more than 140 wraps sold so far, TMAF is asking for the industry’s help to reach its goal of putting 200 wraps on the road.

Elisabeth Barna, COO and executive vice president of industry affairs for ATA, spoke to TMAF’s role in sharing the trucking industry’s story and changing perceptions in the media and on Capitol Hill. She cited TMAF’s participation in Infrastructure Week in May of this year, joining other sectors of the transportation industry in advocating for better roads and bridges in front of decision-makers and the public.

“To keep our efforts moving forward, TMAF needs support from organizations throughout the industry,” said Barna. “We are building a true grassroots movement one step at a time. We are seeing examples of our efforts working, and we are thrilled.”

And TMAF has bolstered its online community and engagement through digital and social media, explained Wendy Hamilton, senior manager of sales marketing at Pilot Flying J..

TMAF surpassed 10,000 Facebook likes this summer and increased its Twitter following by 25%. Meanwhile, the movement added a LinkedIn page for sharing business and jobs news, as well as an Instagram handle, which was part of a handle “takeover” during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW) in September; that week, professional driver and photographer Shannon Royce shared her pictures of beauty on the road, increasing TMAF’s Instagram following by 70 percent.

“Whether through our ‘#ThankATruckDriver’ call-to-action during NTDAW – which generated more than 800 Facebook shares – or our latest round of videos that highlighted the essentiality of our industry by capturing opinions of industry professionals at MATS, GATS, and NTDC, we’ve seen yet again that trucking is a very active and proud group of professionals, friends and family,” said Hamilton.

TMAF Co-Chair Steve Ponder concluded the conference by citing TMAF’s targeted advertising campaigns and earned media placements.

During NTDAW, TMAF communicated the economic value of trucking and a positive image of drivers through its “amateur/professional” campaign, which portrays truck drivers in family situations, drawing on the human and family side of the truck driver. The ad buy yielded more than 8 million impressions and included billboards and newspaper print and digital ads in major trucking corridors, such as Missoula; Dallas; Kansas City, Missouri; Knoxville; Dayton and Indianapolis. Additionally, since March, TMAF’s earned media placements include 66 news stories, seven editorials authored by Burch and professional drivers across the country.

“Part of our efforts are to demonstrate not just the economic value of trucking, but to improve the image of drivers – proving that drivers are family members, neighbours, and community members just like anyone else,” said Ponder. “This theme was highlighted again throughout 2016 and shone through in a big way with our robust earned and paid media campaigns.”

To learn more and join the movement, visit www.truckingmovesamerica.com.