THURSDAY AUG 17 / 2017 / by Andrew Talati

Part of the annual Bicycle Network Around the Bay

Team Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2016 Showroom2016 start at the Audi showroom

As part of the annual Around the Bay Ride hosted by Bicycle Network for 25 years in fundraising for the Smith Family, Zagame Automotive Group have embarked upon an annual community focused event creating the Team Zagame Ride Around the Bay Challenge

Borne from philanthropy

From the beginning, the driver was to create a philanthropic event that ties in with Audi's long-standing affiliation with The Smith Family and forms the guiding sponsorship for Audi in Australia while forming the centre-piece of the Audi Foundation which all dealers across the country contribute to.

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2012 Audi Brighton grand depart2012 Audi Brighton grand depart

The Zagame Automotive Group (ZAG) ‘Team Zagame Ride around the Bay Cycling Challenge’ event is has grown from its inception back in 2012 and the feedback has been positive with their customers loving it. From the perspective of engaging with their customers in a different forum, it's been really nice, says Andrei Zaitzev, General Manager of the Audi franchises for ZAG.

Maintaining the brand’s credibility

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2013 En route Mornington Peninsula2013 en route through the Mornington Peninsula

The Zagame ‘Around the Bay Cycling Challenge’ ride is a wonderful marketing exercise but also comes with the responsibility of ensuring that the ride is appropriately sanctioned and extremely well managed by all, including the event partners The Freedom Machine (TFM), who do an incredible job at the front and back of every group.

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2014 TFM En route2014 with TFM en route

This, in turn, sends out a positive message of the ZAG riders to other road users about being responsible and safe when sharing the road.

Brand reinforcement

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2016 lunch stop2016 lunch stop

The ride has definitely hit a sweet spot for, not only their current customers, but prospective customers as well as people who have seen their cycling kit, their riders and groups who want to be part of this experience.

Sending out positive messages

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2015 En route Mt Martha2015 en route to Mt Martha

It's over subscribed every year, without fail, which is a great endorsement of Zagame Automotive's investment in the ride to ensure everything is done right. It sends out positive messages about the Around the Bay event, what it means to be a cyclist and sharing the road with a cyclist which is really important for Zagame.

The biggest customer event of the year

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2015 Audi Brighton grand depart2015 Audi Brighton grand depart

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2015 Audi Brighton grand departFor Zagame Automotive, the “Around the Bay Cycling Challenge” is it's the biggest customer event of the year in terms of the number of people involved and the number of co-sponsors. Without their support, they couldn't run the event so they are absolutely committed to continuing.

The positive impact for co-sponsors

With many of the co-sponsors continuing to support the event with many from the first event in 2012, they too are seeing the positive benefits. Everything points to this being a valuable exercise for everyone involved and the longevity of the event.

Leading up to, during and afterwards - the whole experience 

Having people talk about the event so positively and the wonderful time they have both during the event, after the event and even the lead up rides is very powerful and has a positive effect.

The launch event - connection to the brands

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2016 launch event

Last year’s launch event was at their Ferrari and Maserati facility in Richmond. Prior to that it was hosted at Audi Centre Melbourne and since its inception the official start and finish line has been at Audi Centre Brighton. 

This enables all riders to experience all facilities, brands and facets of Zagame Automotive Group and therefore helps to create stronger ties with the riding group. Most importantly it's nice to have a facility to house everyone together at the same time, it's great.

Breaking down the barriers

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2013 Audi Brighton showroom2013 Audi Brighton showroom

It can be quite daunting setting foot into a car dealership today since they are huge and quite intimidating facilities. This is a great opportunity to show a welcoming environment to not only those participating in the ride, but to show them the warmth their customers are able to experience in these facilities.

Engaging more frequently 

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2014 Audi Brighton 2014 start

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2014 Audi Brighton Andrei went on to say that people typically own a car for 3 -5 years (ownership of a new car) so offering people the opportunity to visit a showroom 3 - 5 times more often than they would otherwise, helps in building the confidence to step into a showroom when they are looking to purchase a new vehicle.

The tribal association extending from directors through to the staff to their customers

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2015 pit stop with team car

Everyone from the directors, general managers through to the car detailers are personally involved and volunteer their time since they love the event.

Participating builds deeper connections by sharing experiences and chatting when riding side by side on a more personal level, whether it’s between staff members or with their customers as everyone is deeply passionate and loves it. Everybody enjoys it and it is great fun.

Engaging at a more personal level

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2013 Audi Brighton finished2013 Audi Brighton finished

When you reach a point that you're speaking to your customers about intimate things like leg shaving it's certainly a conversation that normally wouldn't take place in an automotive dealership.  Coupled with driving stronger donations year-on-year which has amassed to over $40,000 to date, the sense of camaraderie and team-spirit is strong and personalises the Zagame Automotive brand to its customers even more so.

Largest scale community engagement activity

For Zagame it's an important event to show that they are not just a car dealership but part of the community they serve and want to be regarded as part of the fabric of that community.
Being the largest scale community engagement activity of the year it's absolutely critical that they get it right.

Community and passion

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2013 En route Safety Beach2013 en route Safety Beach

For Zagame, given their commitment, it's probably not the most ideal way to invest following traditional marketing techniques to generate a specific result but it's really about a long-term investment. Given the number of people who have done multiple rides, given the number of people who have purchased cars, there is a sense that people think of Zagame as part of the community and more than just a car dealership.

Getting back to their routes in hospitality

The ride gives Zagame the opportunity to get back to their roots (Zagame owned and operated restaurants, pubs and hotels) of hospitality which is an intrigal part of their DNA and way to give back to the community.

More about a lifestyle choice

Whether you are selling a sporting product or anything remotely considered to enhance or enrich your lifestyle, it's imperative that you become more than just a product by showing ways that you can enrich the lives of your customers, by providing them things they wouldn't ordinarily be associated with when purchasing.

Zagame Ride Around the Bay 2015 Team car exposure

More info on Zagame

Bicycle Networks 2017 Around the Bay

All images kindly supplied by Zagame Automotive Group