On February 13, the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority (MTA) celebrated its 2nd annual “Speed Dating on the Red Line” event in honor of Valentine’s Day. The free event, which was restricted to adults 18 years and older, required regular transit fare payment to participate and invited metro passengers to ride on the city’s subway line, encouraging them to travel throughout the designated subway cars over a period of two hours and sit next to a series of strangers to engage in conversation. Although in its infancy, the sophomore event was a modest success drawing in hundreds of participants for the second year in a row. —
With an average of over 150,000 commuters on the Red/Purple Line each weekday, a few hundred participants seems insignificant. However, with expanding services, and updated facilities, this event may have served for many as a reintroduction to Los Angeles MTA and its many service offerings, which appears to be needed now more than ever. Per a 2014 Forbes report, Los Angeles was listed as the number one city with the worst gridlock.
The speed-dating event also seems to have served an even bigger purpose of connecting with the Los Angeles community, while creating awareness of a service that is still relatively unacknowledged not only on a national level, but also among the Los Angeles Community. This novel approach to gaining exposure, although unconventional, marks an interesting turn for businesses by using non-linear methods and a more human approach to connect with customers.
In early February of this year, fast-food giant, McDonald’s, experienced similar success for their out-of-the-box thinking, with their “Pay With Lovin’” Campaign, where customers paid for their food with acts of joy, goodwill and kindness, instead of cash.
McDonald's USA’s chief marketing officer, Deborah Wahl, states, "We're on a journey of transformation and a key part of that journey is how we engage with our customers.”`
According to Ana Hawk, outspoken Founder of Instant Barter, the fastest growing barter company in the world, “Sales and marketing campaigns aside, the most important thing a company can do is show care for their customers. It’s time to change the negative perceptions of companies from the inside out and start focusing more on community. Zig Ziglar believed that it was possible to have everything one wanted in life by simply helping enough other people get what they want. This is a fundamental truth that still applies today.”
Hawk—no stranger to connecting with clients using unconventional methods—released My Barter GameTM in 2012—a board game that mirrors the company’s services, allowing others to better understand the process and to maximize their benefit from the services in real life.
As more companies embrace these non-traditional methods to engage with customers, time will tell if this shift in focus results in a greater sense of fellowship, while creating a new level of brand awareness and loyalty.
Ana Hawk is the founder/CEO of Instant Barter, LLC. Instant Barter is the fastest growing barter company in the world, dedicated to educating people on how to use what they already have to get what they need right now, and to growing their lives and businesses in a challenging economy, thereby enabling them to proposer and live an abundant lifestyle. The IRS views trade and barter dollars just like it views cash, checks or credit card transactions.
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