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Motorsports Marketing and Sponsorship Activation Blog

The Impossible Route: How a Viral Cycling Challenge Built New Business Materials in Less Than One Week

11/17/21 8:17 AM

The Impossible Route is an inspirational, ambitious and beautiful cycling documentary that is unbelievable until you watch the actual episodes yourself. What started as a personal challenge between two highly capable cyclists is now a growing community-based movement. The program had amazing content and millions of engaged viewers but did not yet have a polished set of B2B materials to share the story with prospective clients. From introduction to first pitch, we built the organization's new materials in one week.

All with limited budget, a quick turnaround time and specific requirements, this investment is one that could lead to many factors of ROI. Let's break down the process.

The Impossible Route was founded by Jeremiah Bishop, a professional cyclist with numerous awards won all over the world. He represents the best manufacturers, technology and gear in the world and continues to look for ways to push the limit. When 2020 happened and his primary in-person events were cancelled he turned to friend and brilliant storyteller Tyler Pearce, The Vegan Cyclist, to document some of the hardest cycling climbs, routes and adventures on earth.

The Impossible Route seeks to inspire everyone to take action on their own impossible, no matter what level that may be at. For Jeremiah and Tyler, it started with biking Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano - something no one has ever accomplished before.

True to themselves, they just started. Limited planning, loads of travel restrictions, challenging environments and of course the climb itself left no time for developing professional B2B materials. As the episodes progressed, the challenges increased and the viewership skyrocketed, there became a clear need for professional recaps, proposals, introduction decks and microsites for brands that were showing interested in getting involved with the project.

A mutual friend of ours, Jeff Haden, connected us with a brief introduction. Jeff is a respected author and has written about our work along with Jeremiah's story.

We normally are at race tracks activating brands involved in motorsports, but the chance to work on fully human-powered sport was exciting and we jumped at the chance to support The Impossible. The cycling community shares numerous qualities with motorsports and has the same passion running through it that we get so much energy from in racing.

The Work

As always on day one we began with the objectives. The Impossible Route had the content, they had the story, they had the engagement. After their first season of purely organic growth, it was time to pick up discussions with various brands showing interest in the property. We believe that the first impressions of your organization can make the difference between "no thank you" and "we'd love to sponsor you." Your proposal and introductory materials must present equal or better than whatever property you are selling, in this case, the documentary series. Because the documentary series is so compelling, the materials must set that tone straight from the first discussion.

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Days 2-3 focused on recapping season one. With such a successful start, we leveraged our modern recapping process to quickly share the behind-the-scenes metrics and results The Impossible Route achieved. Gathering all of the great photos, videos, social media, earned media and analytics was our first step.

From there, days 4-6 featured more in-depth calls, text threads, discovery, thoughts, ideas and first drafts of the introduction deck. This differs from the recap in that it strikes a balance between sharing what The Impossible Route is and where The Impossible Route is going next. It sparks the imagination of whoever is getting to take in the content. We consulted with the team and highlighted unique assets, produced sharp copy, incorporated existing branding elements and created new ones that can be replicated time and time again. This process helped to establish the clear value proposition of The Impossible Route.

Toward the end of this stint, we also started customizing partnerships for select brands the team wanted to engage with. We avoided the tired "Gold, Silver, Bronze" sponsorship packages with a host of branding assets here and there and instead presented well thought out assets that could be immediately and sustainably activated by the soon-to-be-partner. Always add value. And when you can't add any more, create new value.

Day 7 was for the polish. Final touches, subtle design motifs, preflight proofing, and our favorite part...shipping the final product. This project propelled the team at The Impossible Route further as they build out season one and two. Keep a sharp eye out for what's next.

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While we intentionally do not represent properties to sell sponsorship on their behalf, our consulting group pulls out a property's unique value and builds it into professional materials they can leverage over and over again. This empowers the property with the best tools to achieve their objectives and provides a new level of confidence.

Be sure to check out The Impossible Route across YouTube and Instagram. The first episode will inspire you, the second episode will blow your mind, the third episode will bring you awe and by the end of the fourth - you'll be ready to tackle your own impossible.

Topics: Best Practices

Team SD

Written by Team SD

Leveraging a wide range of experience in sports marketing and sponsorship activation, our team is always looking to add value. We love collaborating with each other and we write together with you in mind.