I’m no stranger to business trips. I’ve been on so many that this past one didn’t phase me a bit. It was completely business as usual… except I traveled on two wheels instead of four. And the meeting room was a street fair. And I ditched the suit and tie in favor of a helmet and spandex.
You know, just doing my job.
Dedicated to going the distance for our clients, Dave Morton and I teamed up with Pancheros Mexican Grill – and about 20,000 other bikers – for the 43rd annual RAGBRAI (The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) celebration. We represented the burrito chain from the Missouri River to the Mississippi, pedaling through 495 miles of marketing opportunities.
We joined four Pancheros riders, and the six of us served as the brand’s goodwill ambassadors for the week. The goal: exposure and interaction, plain and simple. Decked out in jerseys, t-shirts, and hats bearing the Pancheros logo, we gave a face to the brand for thousands of bikers to connect with. Social media was updated with our progress throughout the ride, and members of the team had a GoPro strapped to their helmet or handles as we pedaled to capture original content perfect for a promotional video.
We set up shop (a small bike trailer loaded with freebies) next to the morning big breakfast vendors that drew crowds. And then – Christmas in July. Riders cleaned out our stash of free stuff, walking away with t-shirts, koozies, socks, sunglasses, stickers, bottle openers, and free burrito and queso cards. Throughout the ride, people inquired about our “Burrito Fueled” jerseys and where they might snatch one, too. I don’t blame them; I’ve already worn mine a number of times after the fact. Fortunately, five of the seven overnight stops housed a Pancheros within its city limits. After our promotions whetted the collective crowd’s whistle, each location reported an increase in foot traffic through their doors.
The brief boom in numbers was a bonus to our ride, not the purpose. Taking business on the road gave us a chance to connect with audiences far, far outside our target. RAGBRAI brings together thousands of riders of all ages, backgrounds, geographies, and skill levels. From solo riders to traveling groups of friends and families, competitive athletes to geriatric pedalers, our burrito charm didn’t discriminate. Ultimately, face time with consumers built connections that transcend a boardroom decision.