Trucking’s public relations campaign to improve the industry’s image and educate the public and legislators has had a successful 2016 and more of the same is expected in the year ahead.
In a telephone press conference Tuesday, Dec. 6, industry executives behind Trucking Moves America Forward enumerated its successes and said they expect to expand again in 2017.
“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 the American Trucking Associations.
One of primary efforts of TMAF in 2016 has been the trailer wraps telling trucking’s stories. Some 140 have been sold and Burch hopes that number tops a goal of 200. He said each wrap is seen by as many as 16 million people. Burch added new designs — including one in 3D — are coming in 2017.
Elisabeth Barna, COO and executive vice president of industry affairs for ATA, said TMAF was also successful in its outreach efforts on Capitol Hill, especially during Infrastructure Week in May.
She said that for success to continue, especially in educating the incoming Trump administration, TMAF needs support from organizations throughout the industry.
“We are building a true grassroots movement one step at a time. We are seeing examples of our efforts working, and we are thrilled,” said Barna.
She said TMFA has also created a limited edition holiday ornament, calling it a “… small way that employees can demonstrate their pride.”
TMAF also increased its social media presence and involvement. Wendy Hamilton, senior manager of sales marketing at Pilot Flying J, said TMAF Facebook page surpassed 10,000 likes this summer, and its Twitter following increased by 25 percent. It also joined LinkedIn and Instagram.
Steve Ponder, co-chair of the image campaign, said the TMAF’s advertising campaign of billboards, print and digital ads created more than 8 million impressions in major trucking corridors, including Missoula, Montana; Dallas; Kansas City, Missouri; Knoxville, Tennessee; Dayton, Ohio and Indianapolis.
“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, neighbors, and community members just like anyone else,” said Ponder.