Arkansas Trucking Association

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The Last Word

Industry Communications Demand More Creativity

By Tom Ricciardone, Guest Writer

A truck driver’s day begins with the end in mind.

 Safety first. Safety always. There can be no compromise.

 Where what it takes is driven by what’s at stake: Dedication, passion, commitment—to upholding the highest standards of excellence.

 Where hard work and working hard are the price of entry. And professional pride is personal.

 Where preparation and attention to every detail are never in question. All day. Every day. No matter where. On and off the road.

 Each day the road ahead is filled with challenges. Unforeseen risks. From anywhere. At anytime.

 For the professional truck driver, for the business that keeps America moving, their business is safety.

The above lines are the voice over script I wrote for a video produced last month about the Arkansas Trucking Championship.

Two videos produced about the event, like the championship itself, celebrate and honor safe drivers, expert technicians and the Arkansas Trucking Association’s member carriers’ commitment to safety.

Both videos are examples of a softer, more approachable messaging about the industry in general and safety in particular. It’s the type of creative, audience-driven industry communications that should happen more often on the national level.

I consider myself fortunate that in my communications work for the industry I’m able to spend time with truck drivers, and technicians. I’m always struck by how their individual and collective stories carry universal appeal. Their stories alone serve as reminders that branding about the industry and communicating about safety will always be more effective and engaging through telling stories that humanize the industry and the complex, highly emotional issue of highway safety.

Safety is always the elephant in the industry’s living room. The perception of industry safety is an octopus. Its long tentacles reach out and invade everything.

People like when you talk about what is important. It’s a simple truth of communications, advertising and marketing, because it’s a simple truth of human nature. As an industry we must find more ways to engage the public—and customers, policy makers and regulators—about safety in ways that touch emotions. And we must do so in ways that are relevant, engaging and that resonate.

There will always be the tension between industry self-regulation on the one extreme and governmental over-reach on the other. This tension is always in play. Much is at stake, so it is no wonder that industry communications are heavily skewed to the rational, the pedantic and the analytical.

A recent footnote in an industry poll is instructive. Nearly half of respondents said they know someone who works in the trucking industry, and those who know someone in trucking have more positive impressions of the industry and its safety record.

I invite you to view the videos on the Arkansas Trucking Association’s website or YouTube page. Both invite the viewer to get to know of the industry’s commitment to safety through a more personal lens. I think you’ll agree that this softer approach helps advance the industry’s image and reputation in ways that facts and figures alone never will.

Tom Ricciardone is a strategic and marketing communications consultant for corporate, trade association and not-for-profit clients. He can be reached at

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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