Arkansas Trucking Association

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The Last Word

We’re All in Sales Now.

By Tom RicciardoneGuest Writer

I had the opportunity last year to participate on the selection panel for the inaugural Arkansas Road Team. Patterned after America’s Road Team, it is a public outreach program of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a passion to spread the word about highway safety

I’ve written elsewhere that I feel very fortunate that in my communications work for the industry I’m able to spend time with truck drivers.

I’m always struck by how their stories carry universal appeal. Their stories serve as powerful reminders to me that communication and branding about the industry will always be more effective and engaging through telling stories that humanize the industry—stories that let it step out of the driver’s cab.

Out of the cab and face-to-face, these drivers are professional, smart, charming. They are the kind of men and women that anyone would be proud to know.

Behind our backs, the public may have plenty to say about the trucking industry, but I have no doubt that once the public meets the Arkansas Road Team, they will like them. Face-to face, our industry is as human and likable as any.

I thought about this often as I had the opportunity to lend a hand recently to the Arkansas Trucking Association.  Shannon Newton and the talented team there have been quite busy these past months rolling out a number of visible and far-reaching image and safety driven initiatives.  

These included their first ever television commercial, a print and social media campaign, as well as the formation of the Arkansas Road Team and Share The Road program and an accompanying public education safety video.  

From my communications work on a wide range of regulatory, safety and image issues for the industry, my experience suggests this type of communications effort could serve as a blueprint for the type of brand and marketing approach needed more widely throughout the industry.

It’s time for the industry collectively to step out of the cab.

The story of America’s trucking industry is a great story — a compelling human story.

Yet that story is not told as often, as widely and as creatively as it should be—as it needs to be.

The industry risks not doing so at its peril. The stakes are high, far beyond just winning over the hearts and minds of the general public, important as that objective is.

Driver and technician shortages already impact the short term, and seriously threaten longer-term capacity. And there are always contentious, high-stakes regulatory and legislative issues in play, many of which are impacted by the public’s perception of the industry at any point in time.

Of course, these and other issues are multifaceted and complex, and I’m not suggesting that marketing and communications are a panacea.

Still, disclaimer aside, industry communications play an important role. Our story must touch the heart more in order to stand out and take hold. It’s simple really. People are motivated and compelled by emotion. We all respond to the up close and personal.

There’s an old proverb: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

We’re all in sales now. Together, we’re all responsible for selling the multifaceted, compelling human story of trucking in all its richness.

If you have not seen the Arkansas Trucking Association’s commercial or Share the Road safety video, they can be found at www.arkansastrucking.com. I think you will see that the real, up close and personal makes the difference. Let’s all do more to let the industry, its people and its stories step out of the cab. That’s where the power is.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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