Finding Like-Minded Organizations Could Be the Key to Your Next Strategic Victory
Bringing together like-minded people to achieve a common goal with shared objectives reaps remarkable results. But if two heads really are better than one, why don’t enough organizations make it a regular practice to develop healthy long-term community partnerships with related businesses, associations, and organizations?
At Integrate Agency, we’ve long prized the creation of such a partnership as an integral part of our overall marketing strategy. In fact, we now put community relations and influencer marketing as part of our overall PR umbrella, since we know how important it is to garner public attention. As media continues to evolve, it’s harder and harder to connect with clients’ target audiences through traditional sources. We have found great value in connecting clients with like-minded strategic partners with shared audiences that compliment and support each other’s objectives.
So, when Susan G. Komen® Houston approached us in 2018 looking for next-level ideas on connecting with new, younger audiences, we eagerly embraced that challenge.
Assessing the Objective
The overall goal for Susan G. Komen® Houston each year is to raise awareness for the nonprofit’s mission of investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Although we’d successfully implemented tried-and-true public relations tactics in the past, we knew this year’s strategy would have to go beyond the conventional. We needed to develop a truly unique method to help them increase the donations necessary for industry-leading cancer research, not just generate media impressions.
Identifying the Ideal Community Partnership
Integrate began its search for a community partner by first recognizing what made Susan G. Komen® Houston so distinctive – its commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle in Houston.
Enter Houston BCycle.
This non-profit operates a bike-share program with nearly 500 bikes throughout the greater Houston area. Its efforts to inspire people to bike around Houston perfectly paired with Komen Houston’s desire to encourage a healthy lifestyle to stave off cancer. We grounded our rationale for this partnership in research from the American Cancer Society, which states that just two and a half hours of physical activity each week can lower overall cancer risk.
Now, we just needed a hook.
Crafting the Program
Obviously, we wanted the partnership to revolve around biking, but we had to create a way for people to naturally connect Komen Houston’s brand with BCycle’s. On one hand, Komen Houston is well-known for its annual “Race for the Cure,” which promotes good health practices and raises money to defeat breast cancer. On the other hand, BCycle has helped thousands of Houstonians (and Houston tourists!) explore our fair city on bike.
The solution was rather ingenious, if we do say so ourselves.
On October 11th, 2018, we launched “Pedal for the Cure,” a campaign designed to encourage personal wellness among Houstonians while raising awareness of Komen Houston’s mission to save lives and end breast cancer. Two bright-pink Komen-branded BCycles joined the city’s bike fleet for the public to rent and ride, complete with two objectives in mind:
- Support active travel
- Provide a clear call-to-action to donate to Komen Houston
Riders could then enter to win free BCycle memberships by posting a photo to social media using the hashtag #PedalForTheCure.
Finding Mutual Benefits
Like any healthy relationship, it was crucial that both organizations found value.
- To help Komen Houston, Houstonians were encouraged to donate a minimum of $20 to fund the screening, treatment, and support of local breast cancer patients.
- To help BCycle, donors received a free monthly membership to Houston BCycle – one person enjoys unlimited hour-long rides to and from all 72 stations in the city’s network for a year.
“Pedal for the Cure” raised over $500 in its first month of operation – from only two bikes! At the end of the campaign, BCycle reported the following activity:
- 791 trips taken between the bikes
- 51,576 minutes of ride time
- 6,499 miles traveled
- 6,138 pounds of carbon emissions replaced
- 258,396 calories burned
Beth Martin, Executive Director of Houston BCycle, was effusive with her praise.
“The numbers we achieved with this campaign are significantly higher than our average per-bike numbers, so it’s clear that the Komen branding had some serious impact on usage.”
Integrate believes that community partnerships are truly productive when you find the perfect partner that aligns with your company’s big-picture mission. As you might imagine, we’re big fans of developing and executing an integrated strategy that brings forth bigger results than you can independently.