THURSDAY AUG 17 / 2017 / by Andrew Talati

Pitcher Partners from Pro Cycling to local bunches

Pitcher Partners Kelly Cycle Coaching Womens Cycling team racingPitcher Partners Kelly Cycle Coaching Womens Cycling team

Back in the early days of Around the Bay in a Day

Not long after the Around The Bay in a Day started back in 1993, a few keen cyclists at Pitcher Partners thought it would be a good idea to get involved with their staff and clients around 1996-97 according to Peter Braine, Executive Director at Pitcher Partners.

Morphed into Sponsorship

Pitcher Partners, Belinda Goss 2010 Bay Series Classic podiumBelinda Goss 2010 Bay Series Classic podium

After the success of the Around the Bay in a Day, it morphed into sponsoring teams in the Bay Crits in both the men’s and women’s teams which has included Kate Bates (National and International track champion), who also captained the Pitcher Partner teams in her final year of racing, so it was a great association.

Pitcher Partners Belinda Goss 2010 Bay Series-Classic racingBelinda Goss 2010 Bay Series-Classic racing

Ex-pro riders donning the Pitcher Partners kit. Some names include the Tour De France multiple Green Jersey winner Robbie McEwan (now commenting with Matt Keenan for the SBS TDF broadcast) and Simon Gerrans (stage wins and the yellow jersey at the TDF).

The value was worth absolute gold

Pitcher Partners Alexis Rhodes 2005 Bay Series Classic

Alexis Rhodes who has numerous wins at both the track World Championships and World Cups won the 2006 Bay Crits.  Across the front page of The Age was Alexis with the Pitcher Partners jersey, her arms up in the air with Pitcher Partners brazened across the front of her jersey. 

Pitcher Partners Alexis Rhodes 2006 Bay Series ClassicPitcher Partners Alexis Rhodes 2006 Bay Series Classic

This was great exposure for the firm as getting a full colour advertisement on the front page would come at a huge cost. Especially being in the early January period which was the prime time for business people to be sitting around reading the newspaper.

Australian Madison Championship, Pitcher PartnersAustralian Madison Championship, Pitcher PartnersAustralian Madison Championships

Building deeper connections and trust

Pitcher Partners client ride with Lisa JacobsPitcher Partners client ride with Lisa Jacobs, photo courtest Pitcher Partners

With Around the Bay growing into a major event they found that they lost the connections with their clients and staff as the group size made it difficult to travel together safely.

Often getting split at the traffic lights plus the increased difficulty in controlling the bunch with so many other participants on the road, it was decided to take a different approach and started to run bespoke events exclusively for Pitcher Partners.

Business leaders on wheels is borne

Pitcher Partners client ride with Kate Bates

The new approach lead to a ‘Business leaders on wheels’ event whereby they rode from Albert Park to Port Phillip Estate Winery on the Mornington Peninsula. The ride included lunch and a presentation from Matt White (Orica Scott Sports Director), Kate and Natalie Bates.

As part of the networking event all the participants where provided with a cycling kit that helped build a connection to the Pitcher Partners brand.

Always seeing a Pitcher Partners jersey on the road

Pitcher Partners Ride Bath boxes Beach Rd

With so many staff and clients having participated in Around the Bay and other company sponsored events there are a lot of Pitcher Partners jerseys around. It's a great way to build brand awareness and keep the company's brand front of mind.

For Peter, he will often see a rider travelling in the opposite direction and you would go to say hello and then would realise that he didn't know them, which is a good indicator there are many Pitcher Partner kits circulating on the roads worn by clients and connections of the firm.

Like so many marketing channels it's difficult to measure a tangible return but Peter has noticed new client relationships being created through cycling. It's more of a slow burn than a big bang. It's all about relationships and trust and that's where the value is generated over time.

Pitcher Partner - Kelly Cycling Coaching Team

Pitcher-Partners - KCC Womens Cycling Team

By supporting grass roots sports and woman cycling going back to the days of Kate Bates and Alexis Rhodes is an important part of the company’s DNA. This involvement has extended to the Pitcher Partners - KCC Women's Cycling Team focusing on VRS (Victorian Road Series) and Open road racing events. More info www.kellycycling.com.au

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