This story appears in the May 15 print edition of Transport Topics.
Swift Transportation Co. is reaching out to young people with a digital marketing campaign that promotes the company’s culture, size and emphasis on job advancement.
The goal of the campaign, Swift’s Driving Force, is to persuade men and women to become truck drivers and to consider careers in the trucking industry.
“We hope this campaign communicates Swift’s commitment to drivers and reaches those that may never have considered trucking, educating them on a career opportunity that is critical to America’s economy,” said Tom Hall, digital media strategist for Swift.
Swift ranks No. 6 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada. The Phoenix-based company has about 21,000 employees and provides dry van and refrigerated truckload, intermodal and logistics services.
Hall said the volume of freight Swift hauls and the size of its network — which includes more than 40 terminals nationwide — provide opportunities for drivers who want to rack up as many miles as possible or who prefer to run dedicated routes.
A relay system called Swift Express gives some drivers a chance to be home every night. The company also operates its own training school and matches new drivers with an experienced mentor for additional over-the-road training.
“We want to make driving cool again,” Hall told TT in an interview May 9.
To help convey the idea that driving is a unique and exciting lifestyle, Hall said that the marketing campaign will feature stories of Swift drivers, including one who recently retired after 42 years behind the wheel and another who used what he earned as an owner-operator to support a family and put two children through college. Another case involves a veteran who was able to move out of a homeless shelter in Phoenix after getting a commercial driver license and going to work at Swift.
The marketing campaign also will highlight the diversity in the workplace, Hall said.
“The reality is, we have women, minorities, old and young, married couples working as drivers and as support personnel,” he said. “It’s a real melting pot.”
Swift is working with media and marketing firm iCrossing to develop the campaign, which will employ various digital marketing strategies, including social media, display ads, paid search, digital radio and targeted industry-specific channels to reach young people.
“We live in a digital age,” said Lori Wilson, executive creative director for iCrossing. “Truck drivers are no different.”
Hall said the marketing firm interviewed scores of drivers to identify what motivates them and what could be used to inspire others to become drivers. He points out that demand for truck drivers will double from 1.44 million on the road in 2014 to 2.76 million in 2022, according to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We are working with Swift to engage, educate and connect individuals across the country to the brand,” iCrossing’s Wilson said. “We are deeply passionate about celebrating the everyday heroes of American life and fueling the growth machine at Swift. We believe the integrated Swift’s Driving Force platform will move the needle in inspiring and attracting a new generation of drivers.”