1134_3 The third annual OCBC Cycle Singapore will take place from 4 to 6 March 2011, and will feature a professional night race for the first time.

The sky is the limit for Chris Robb, Managing Director of Spectrum Worldwide, who sets the targets higher by expecting an increase of 30% for the next year with at least 12,000 participants.

To achieve these goals, part of his marketing strategy is to make use of social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, which directly interface with the event website, as well as other groups.

With an impressive track record of 16 years in the Asia Pacific region, Spectrum Worldwide, the event management and experiential marketing company has often brought clients’ brands to life and positioned them well by creating opportunities to showcase values in a memorable and compelling way.  Encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle across all ages and fitness levels through cycling remains the key message the event intends to spread.

The fact that this event targets all age groups - from children’s tricycle races to competitive racing, all the way to social cycling that targets older age groups – demands a great deal of organizational and creative skills.  Mastering challenges is Chris Robb’s passion, as seen again in the case of OCBC Cycle Singapore, where he intends to impress and convince the masses to be part of the movement.

I had a chance to have a brief talk with Spectrum Worldwide’s charismatic leader last week, during their media invite and asked him some questions about his annual large-scale project.

How do you expect social media will increase support for your event?

1134_4“Our new OCBC Cycle Singapore website is linked to social media like Facebook and Twitter via widget buttons on our website.  This feature allows our visitors to easily share articles or content on the site that they like.  The “viral effect” goes both ways – website visitors go to our Facebook and Twitter pages, and in turn, we increase traffic to our website from our social media properties.  We know that it will be hard to monitor the actual increase in participation directly attributable to these media, but I expect about 5-10% of the targeted growth to come from social media.”

What resources have you devoted to your social media strategy?

“In order to optimize the usage of these channels, a dedicated team of three will be responsible to monitor, steer and promote this medium.  This year we have hired dedicated resources to monitor an array of social media sites and blogs.  We are using Facebook and Twitter to engage in healthy dialogue with the public – we gather feedback, respond, and provide solutions.”

How will you create engagement in OCBC Cycle Singapore’s social media campaign?

“Social media and online marketing are a natural fit for mass sporting events like OCBC Cycle Singapore.  We will drive awareness and increase participation by delivering exclusive content, run fun competitions on a platform that everybody is comfortable with, and eventually drive traffic back to the website.  The intersection of sports and social media is an area that has gathered momentum over the past few years and we need to maintain a close line of communication between us, the participants, potential participants and fans.  Social media is a perfect vehicle for this type of customer contact and as speed does matter immediacy is a must.  Social media, when managed well, can provide just that.”

What else is planned for next year’s event?

“OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011 will host, for the first time, a live music festival - the Rock and Ride Festival - that will feature local musicians and bands during the first two event days.

In addition, the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium 2011 will take place not only under floodlights, but also in cooler temperatures, along a new 1.7km route around the F1 Pit Building, allowing spectators to get closer to the action.  It will be one of the first televised night cycling races to be staged in Asia Pacific and will feature an exciting line up of 65 top professionals from around the world including members of the OCBC Cycling Team.

Exciting developments are also forthcoming for other rider categories in this mass participation cycling festival, as 20-25% of the route for The Nissan Challenge (40km) and The Super Challenge (60km) are totally new, and give riders the opportunity to cycle on a more scenic route through the city.  Similarly, the previous 50km distance set for The Super Challenge will be extended to 60km in response to participants’ request for a longer cycling experience on closed roads.  Cyclists looking for a less strenuous workout will continue to be served by the Community Ride (20km).”

1134_2How has recruiting support been for such an event?

“OCBC, returning title sponsor, has committed to continue support the event for two years to 2012.  In addition, for the first time, Tan Chong Motors will sponsor the popular 40 km ride, which has been renamed ‘The Nissan Challenge’.  OCBC Cycle Singapore is also supported by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) and the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association (SACA).

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011, as in previous years, recognises the need to give back to the community.  The National Cancer Centre Research Foundation (NCCRF) and the Singapore Children’s Society (SCS) are again the chosen charities, and we hope to double the amount of funds raised in 2010 to $100,000.

With the exciting addition of the night time Professional Criterium, as well as the new routes for the ‘Nissan Challenge’ and ‘Super Challenge’, there is no doubt that 2011 will see the best OCBC Cycle Singapore event ever.  As the event is growing in popularity throughout the region, and we had a large cross-section of nationalities represented last year, we are continuing to explore ways that we can further promote the event regionally and enhance its status as the most popular ride in the region.”

By Roger Stadler


For videos and pictures on the event, please see here YouTube and Flickr or go to the Website.