In a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, scored a huge tandem win in New York City with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The financial behemoth put $41 million into a bike-sharing program for New Yorkers and tourists to traverse the narrow streets of Manhattan on three-speed blue Citi Bikes with puncture-resistant tires. After three years of study, the program launched May 27, 2013 (in time for a three-day weekend). Here’s the program blog!
The program has been hugely successful with 4.7 million trips and 9.4 million pedaled miles “obliterating projections.”
That’s not all.
Mr. Pandit delivered messaging that so completely blew me away, I had to share.
Here is what he said word for word as extrapolated in the Bloomberg Businessweek story,
“Pandit smiled and took the microphone. ‘Citi Bike is kind of like the Zipcar for bikes. It’s better for the environment. It’s also good exercise. People will be able to borrow a Citi Bike wherever they want and return it at their destination. This should lead to fewer cars on the road. It should lead to less crowding on subways and buses and better access to neighborhoods far from public transit.’ And best of all: ‘As the mayor said – all of this without using any taxpayer money!’”
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The Citi Bike Message Map
When we dissect these neat sound bites packed with punch, we can see a perfect message map that covers all the benefits Citi Bike has to offer and squarely positions Citigroup directly on top; not to mention the expert delivery of Mr. Pandit.
Let’s take a look:
- Home Base Message – this is the primary descriptor of Citi Bike; the easy message everyone can recall and relate to.
Citi Bike is like the Zipcar for bikes. Mr. Pandit added “kind of like” to the description which is perfectly fine as he made the factoid his and personalized it.
- Second Tier Messages – Each of these, usually four, second tier messages provide further explanation about the company or program. They could be about customers, price, innovation, benefits, investment, etc.
- Citi Bike is better for the environment.
- It’s good exercise.
- It’s convenient – people can borrow a Citi Bike at origin and return it at their destination.
- Less crowding. There will be fewer cars on the road, fewer people on subways and better access in neighborhoods.
- Cost to taxpayers? FREE!
How Citigroup CEO Scored
Typically, the delivery of quick, spot-on messages is rare by CEOs of companies. What’s also rare is the fact that a journalist reported the messages in the story. Mr. Pandit earned something like 14 lines of a quote in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek story. Wonderful.
Let’s address one more thing – the subject of the story. Who can resist such a feel-good story for Manhattan? I love the point that the cost to tax payers is zilch; not to mention the proven mileage pedaled and trips tracked already!
When a publicly traded company the size of Citigroup is front and center with media, it’s customary for the highest executive to take the lead position. Mr. Pandit hit this one out of the park, and why not? He knew it was a homerun before he stepped up to the plate.
P.S. Hat tip to the Citi Bike website; it’s one of the best I’ve seen…take a look when you get a chance!