Transportation is second only to weather in terms of sparking a conversation. And for good reason. Traffic headaches, flat tires caused by potholes, sitting on the tarmac waiting for a gate, broken down cars on the train line, and many more travel inefficiencies cost the U.S. $160 billion a year  and everyone has a story to tell. But innovation hates inefficiency like nature abhors a vacuum. That’s why we’ve entered the most exciting and transformative time in transportation since massive freeway construction half a century ago gave rise to suburban living and driving culture as we know it today.
As part of my new role leading Ketchum’s Transportation sector, my job, and the challenge before our team, is to copilot this transportation revolution with our clients. We’re creating communications strategies to navigate this occasionally broken, always dynamic, system of moving people and possessions from one place to another.
Make no mistake, there is no shortage of exciting possibilities on the horizon. High-speed rail that connects cities; supersonic air flight making New York to London in three hours a reality; low-pressure tubes that enable pods to pass through a near-frictionless environment; cars that talk to each other and their surroundings – these advances in the transportation ecosystem are literally emerging as we speak. All of these innovations spark our imaginations, leading to massive media attention, top-tier headlines and a high volume of click-throughs across all channels. But that’s not our end-game.
As copilots, our Transportation team’s mission is to make our clients leaders in the race to reinvent mobility – helping them transform our historically inefficient modes of transportation into safer, faster, more economical, and sustainable systems of the future.
How do we as communicators help achieve this? By embracing the power of our trade to motivate change, while accepting our responsibility as custodians of consumer trust. We must be such strong advocates for improving our society that we actively engage the naysayers. We must be farsighted enough to know when winning today’s news cycle is not worth losing tomorrow’s. We must help express a value proposition, not simply hype valuation. We must insist that paradigm-shifting technology exists within stringent safety guidelines, or be willing to go without.
The Ketchum Transportation team embraces our role in upholding these values as part of our charter to copilot the transportation revolution happening all around us. Our expertise spans all forms of transportation – from the ride-sharing economy and high-end racing bikes, to autonomous vehicles and new models for high-speed public transit. We’re a crew of gear-heads and storytellers, animators and analysts, who have spent our careers studying the art and science of behavior change and translating technology into simple and compelling stories.
Communications and transportation share a common trait. As communicators, we connect people to ideas just like transportation connects near and far. The potential of real, human connections inspires both fields and is perfectly summarized by our new no boundaries vision, a vision positioned to break down boundaries and propel all of us forward.