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Case studies

AusCycling: Marketing and communications

Ride Nation: connecting the community to riding

Background

While AusCycling is well recognised in the high performance space, they identified a need to engage people who cycle recreationally. They also identified a number of barriers to participation such a safety concerns, competing extra-curricular activities and an increasing reliance on cars as the primary mode of transport. AusCycling knew they needed to find a unique way to inspire the community to enjoy riding bikes regardless of age, circumstance, skill level and location.

General Manager, Participation and Member Services Nicole Adamson said that AusCycling embraced this opportunity and wants to help more people experience the joy and benefits of incorporating riding into their everyday lives.


Driver of participation
Marketing and communications

Design approach action
Consider marketing messages and communication channels.

Challenge

While many sports rely on volunteers, cycling is unique in that many participation programs are often delivered by private providers. AusCycling needed to find a way to bring those private providers into the cycling family and help them grow their business so the sport could grow.

Through customer insight conversations it was evident that people who ride recreationally and those who do not ride at all did not connect with the Cycling brand, highlighting a need to develop a new brand.

With the aim of engaging a new audience and capturing data on program sign-ups, AusCycling needed to work collaboratively and focus on supporting the community to connect to riding.

Solution

AusCycling needed to find a way to grow their ecosystem by uniting the sector and re-branding their participation offering. They started by listening to state and territory stakeholders, clubs and providers to flesh out common problems to solve. It was imperative that all stakeholders were part of the journey and the solution could be built collaboratively.

Hearing from the target market was crucial and this included those that did not cycle. After purchasing a database of people who are physically active, but did not cycle it was discovered that the term ‘cycling’ did not resonate with AusCycling's potential target market, with 95% indicating there was no sense of place. A common comment was, 'Where do you go if you want to learn to ride a bike?'

The next steps were to: develop a new brand, imagery and language to connect with the target audience; create a marketplace to unite delivers and create a sense of place for customers, where they can find programs and information; and refresh the school-based learn to ride programs.

Ride Nation was created, with three key channels: Market Place, Schools and Centres. The Ride Nation Market Place enables coaches, deliverers and instructors to upload their programs, events and activities. Participants can search, book and pay for the programs advertised in the Market Place. Building on the ‘Lets Ride’ schools program, Ride Nation Schools enables children to learn skills in the playground, develop confidence on paths and learn how to explore new places. Ride Nation Centres resolved the problem of customers not having a sense of place – a physical location where customers can find information, events and activities.

Nicole Adamson, indicated that this whole process was 12 months in the making, but the resources were well worth it as they now have a participation brand with the potential to inspire more people to be part of their cycling community.

Re-branding cycling

  • The word 'ride' resonated with the target audience as opposed to 'cycle'.
  • Using the word 'nation' appeals to our sense of belonging to something bigger and it represents Australia being a nation of fit and active people.
  • Keeping the colour palette simple and clean was vital.
  • The tagline 'Bike for Life', positions the brand alongside the learn-to-swim concept, highlighting that it is a skill you can have all the way through life.
  • The brand stamp was easy to adapt to the three channels of Market Place, Schools and Centres.
Ride Nation - marketplace
Ride Nation - centres
Ride Nation - schools

Insights

  • Listening to all stakeholders was crucial in developing a product that meet the needs of the community. Understanding what had been tried and tested in the past and learning from those experiences.
  • Meeting the needs of the sports deliverers was an important strategy in growing the sport, ensuring they feel engaged and supported in their businesses.
  • Embedding a data strategy in all channels to market. Capturing data on participation enables AusCycling to better tell their story.
  • Including those people that currently do not cycle was an important target market for this program that will help grow the sport. Finding a brand, language and imagery which connected with this audience enabled AusCycling to start the conversation with a new group of potential participants.
  • Taking a test and learn approach has enabled Ride Nation to try new initiatives, understand what is working and what is not, continually iterating to improve the products.

Looking forward

Ride Nation plans to continue to expand via its three channels. Whilst COVID-19 has added some challenges into the mix, it has also created opportunity through more people choosing to ride a bike during the pandemic. The next wave of Ride Nation activities will include a social media marketing campaign to engage with families who are riding during this time, asking them to share their stories and join the Ride Nation community. Further Ride Nation Centres will be established nationally after a test and learn approach in pilot locations.

Through the process, AusCycling has identified new barriers to participation, such as the lack of access to bikes for school-based programs. Solving this problem in a sustainable cost-effective manner will be a focus moving forward.

More information

For further information contact the Participation Design team at Sport Australia at participation@sportaus.gov.au

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