For Goodyear, the sponsorship of the new Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series Half Marathon & 10K wasn’t just an opportunity to engage and support the community in which its global headquarters is located. The sponsorship also offered an opportunity to boost engagement within—starting with the brand’s employees in the lead up to race day on Aug. 15.
Here, five ways Goodyear transformed its footrace sponsorship into an employee engagement strategy.
1. Training Programs
In the months and weeks leading up to the marathon, the company’s health and wellness team launched a Couch to 10K training program. Employees who wanted to run the race but were not experienced runners could sign up, have their entry into the race paid for by the company, train with other employees and learn about what it takes to run a marathon.
2. Race-Day Competition
Goodyear enlisted employees to man water tables on the day of the race, but with a twist. In a friendly competition, each team was charged with creating a “Pit Stop” themed water station and at the end of the race, runners could vote on which station was branded the best idea.
3. Volunteer Spirit
As part of its sponsorship, Goodyear committed to filling all of the volunteer spots with Goodyear associates and their families. Employees were armed with team-building tool kits to lead and create teams of associates that would volunteer together on race day. Taking the volunteer program a step further, Goodyear invited employees to enlist friends and families to participate as well.
4. Pep Rally
As a big push before the race, Goodyear hosted a pep rally for employees called the Burn Rubber Rally, featuring remarks from ceo Richer Kramer as well as the co-founders of the Akron marathon, Steve and Jeannine Marks. There were free smoothies and custom t-shirts for Goodyear employees.
5. Social Push
Rounding out the sponsorship was the social network Yammer, which the company uses internally. Employees tagged posts with #BurnRubber to build enthusiasm for the race. Goodyear is a global company, so the messages of support weren’t limited to Akron. Associates worldwide sent messages of support within the network, helping this Akron and headquarters-centered footrace extend it’s reach to employees around the world.