Let’s face it… on the surface, buses aren’t sexy. So how can they be promoted as an attractive transportation choice to an increasingly diverse audience? If you communicate through social media, press releases, blogs, websites, interviews, and advertising, a consistent voice is necessary in order to earn and keep the trust of a community. In transit, being strategic in communications can mean the difference between offering bloated industry jargon that falls flat and negatively impacts ridership — and offering stellar customer service and useful, engaging content that connects, changes perceptions, and even entertains. In this talk, Don will share some of the strategies he’s used at TheRide to help educate the public, perpetuate community partnerships, pass a millage, grow a likable brand, and ultimately, demystify and destigmatize the b-word… “bus." Don will make you laugh, cry, ooo!, and ahh! while offering tips that can be used to effectively communicate in any industry.
Don Kline is a lifelong connector. As a singer, he has connected with audiences while performing in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Vatican to the Michigan Theater and Hill Auditorium. As the President of 8 Box Media, he connects with audiences through the original music he composes for film, commercials, TV, and video games. As the Integrated Marketing Coordinator for the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (aka TheRide), he mixes traditional and new media to effectively connect with riders in the greater Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas. Before joining TheRide in 2011, Don managed social media for singer-songwriter Colin Hay of Men at Work and folk icon Tom Paxton; and was the Marketing Director for Fleming Artists, an Ann Arbor-based music booking agency whose roster includes Ani DiFranco, Lisa Marie Presley, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Verve Pipe, Mike & The Mechanics, and actor Jeff Daniels. Don enjoys helping others by sharing the strategies and tools he uses; which most recently helped pass a Five-Year Public Transportation Improvement millage by more than 70%. He’s spoken about integrated marketing in transit across the country, at events hosted by the Michigan Public Transit Association (for which he chairs the social media subcommittee and is a member of the marketing committee), New York Public Transit Association, Ignite Ann Arbor, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and the American Public Transportation Association (for which he is active on the social media taskforce and marketing committee).
In his spare time (what’s that?!?), Don enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, is an avid amateur photographer and chef, and is a social media consultant for the State Bar of Michigan Labor and Employment Law Section. Need a song? Don does it. Need marketing? Don does it. Sleep? Don’s working on it.