After taking my traditional winter break, I started running again this week. I didn’t bother tracking distance or calculating pace, I just ran. It felt good and it hurt at the same time, yet I know it’s all part of getting back to it. Hello running legs and lungs – I welcome you both.
On April 21, the Boston Marathon will occur. For runners and supporters, this year’s run will hold deeper meaning and garner greater media, given the bombings of last year. No doubt it will be a packed race, with an abundance of new qualifiers and honored spots held open from last year.
Shortly after the race in 2013, Boston-based athletic apparel retailer City Sports, led a rather cool fundraising effort utilizing social and provided runners with an outlet to honor, remember, fulfill and represent.
I learned of the effort in my American Marketing Association issue of marketingnews. According to the article by Christine Birkner, the retailer wanted to sponsor a race to support the relief fund, One Fund Boston. However, their servers crashed due to the huge response. Since the details of the bombings were still forthcoming, they chose to pursue another route.
City Sports empowered runners around the world to run on their own, wearing a bib that you could download with the hashtag #BOSTONSTRONG.
The virtual campaign garnered promotion from CNN and runners galore were posting pictures on Facebook and tweeting. Citing Birkner, the company’s Facebook page saw more than a 2% increase in “Likes” and brand mentions grew to 298%, per senior digital marketing specialist at City Sports, Ben Eld. “The donation that’s been made, we think that’s great and we want to message that, but we don’t want to say, ‘Look at what we did,’ because that would be overselling our part in it. What we’ve been communicating, instead, is our partnership with our customers and that this is why we’re proud to call Boston home, ” Eld stated.
From the perspective of a marketer, the outreach and quote epitomize meaningful social engagement with customers. Both demonstrate knowing not only where to engage – but how to interact – with consumers in an earnest, honest, genuine and relevant manner. From the perspective of a runner gurl, it’s just plain cool.
I invite you to join me in support for the runners of the 2014 Boston Marathon via the Boston Virtual Charity Race. You choose the distance of 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. You choose the timing between now and April 21. You choose the terrain of trail, road, track or treadmill.
You can download your own virtual bib for your run. (Sweet, see mine to the left).
Let’s run (or walk!) but let’s go! In our own slice of this big world, let’s gather to support #BOSTONSTRONG.