Since its founding 40 years ago, Blackburn has consistently developed products that both inspire and create adventure in many contexts. Blackburn’s first product was a stronger, safer rack for commuting. Now, it produces new products each year aimed at creating the best ride, be it warming up for a race, bikepacking through the Rockies, or staying safe on a local club ride.
Social media followers increased by 35-45%
Blackburn’s biggest challenge was rooted in its strength: it produces products across many bike categories. The Blackburn message of inspiring adventure every day became diluted as Blackburn sought to enamor lycra-loving roadies, casual commuters, and dirt-smeared bikepackers to the brand.
It was imperative to leverage both Blackburn product and story to generate high brand affinity. Our approach focused less on traditional media (though we earned Blackburn over 150 media hits in 2017), and more on developing brand identity. Requisite to this was ensuring that no activations or events stood alone. The Ramble Rides, semi-supported bikepacking trips in OR, CO, and NC were leveraged for media, social media content and promotions, and developing stronger relationships between Blackburn and its dealers. Photoshoots were used as opportunities to develop partnerships with other brands. The Ranger program was used for media, product reviews, and to encourage more women and new bikepackers to try the sport.
Cumulatively, we sought to generate enough interest in the brand such that riders did not say, “I love Blackburn's XYZ,” rather, “I love Blackburn.”
In our first year with Blackburn (2017), we were proud to deliver strong, measurable results across our goals. Social media followers increased by 35-45%, depending on the platform, and we more than tripled social media engagement across all platforms. We earned 152 media hits including a wide array of endemic and non-endemic hits, and over a dozen gift guides. We established 15+ partnerships with other bike, lifestyle, and sport brands. And, online B2C sales, an indirect goal of our efforts, increased by over 60%.