Situation: After spinning off from Valero, CST Brands (Corner Store) wanted to create a signature charitable event that would not only raise money for children’s charities, but also would engage regular folks in the communities where it operates and provide a great marketing opportunity for vendors. CEO Kim Lubel envisioned a 5K race series that would be country-themed, with a post-race country fair packed with sponsor booths, carnival games, food and live music.
Strategy: With less than three months until the first scheduled Corner Store Country Run, our team put together a marketing and media strategy for all seven U.S. markets — Little Rock, Phoenix, Denver, Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. We created all artwork and digital assets for the run, including posters, flyers and website, and created and managed all social media platforms. It was our responsibility to get people to the run, make sure they had a good experience and engage with @CornerStoreRun on social media.
For the past four years, the DeBerry Group has handled the marketing, public relations and social media strategy and management for this event. We also work in close coordination with the CE Group team on providing the right race messaging to participants, including inclement weather notices, any date or time changes, parking instructions, etc. The CE Group executes all logistics for the race series including booking venues, coordinating travel, staffing each race, setting up and breaking down the post-race country fair, hiring all music and talent associated with the races, coordinating with Start2Finish Racing on the logistics of each course and creating branded t-shirts and backpacks.
Impact: With registration numbers ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 depending on market, the Country Run series was a huge hit. It garnered more than 6,000 Facebook fans in just four months, and earned more than 500,000 mentions of the official event hashtag #CountryRun2014. Corner Store and its sponsors, such as Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay and Michelob Ultra, were thrilled with the turnout as well as the ability to test new product lines and directly engage with customers. Now in its fourth year, the race and its social media presence has grown every year. Last year, the race attracted nearly 30,000 registrants, $500,000 in earned media value and 1.7 million social impressions. The social assets have grown tremendously, with 16,000 followers on Facebook alone.