My wife, kids and I are preparing to move across the country in just 10 days. This is our 2nd cross-country move in the past year, and a fuller recounting of events is included below for anyone who wants to read more. But the thing that’s particularly special about this is that our move is being supported by some fine folks at Penske Truck Rental. And when I say that Penske is supporting our move, I mean that they are graciously covering the cost of the truck rental, and moving supplies to get us across the country. For someone moving themselves, that’s a significant cost, and I appreciate Penske’s generous gesture and their willingness to do this.
You see, their Director of Communication caught wind of my rental nightmare last summer (and the #freepalmer campaign) and tweeted an offer to help, even though I wasn’t a Penske customer. So when I approached him with this #PenskeRescue idea, he was willing to work with me on something that I hope will be a lot of fun, and encouraging in seeing how a company can respond to make someone’s life better.
So before I get to the longer version, let me ask you to consider doing a few things over the course of the next couple of weeks:
Twitter: Follow @PenskeMoving, @PenskeCares @mclanea and @davepalmerinc and track our progress using the #PenskeRescue hashtag
Facebook:Click here to Like Penske Truck Rental’s Facebook page, and post a kind note of thanks regarding #PenskeRescue
YouTube:Follow the Penske Truck Rental channeland check out the videos we’re posting. We’ll be posting additional clips on my channel: davepalmerinc1
Instagram: follow @davepalmerinc and @mclanea to see shots from the road
Blog: visit www.dunktankmarketing.com/blog for all of the updates of our trip.
My friend and frequent business collaborator Adam McLane will be with me for the drive. We’ll be stopping at places both famous and bizarre, taking pictures, shooting videos, blogging, posting and tweeting the entire trip, including stops in the 4 places that my rental truck from last year (not a Penske) broke down. My hope is that we’ll see as much attention paid to the good news story of #PenskeRescue as we did for the not good news events that prompted last year’s movement. I’m still in awe of the generosity of spirit shown last year as so many people lent their support to force a large, unresponsive company to respond (and to thank the people responsible for solving a problem once it was resolved).
So please stay tuned for some fun stuff with #PenskeRescue, share the story, and send us some notes – we’ve got a long, 3-full days of driving coming up, and we’ll love the communication!
HERE’S THE BACKGROUND OF THE STORY:
Last year, as I was moving my family from San Diego to Nashville, I had what may be one of the worst rental truck experiences ever. I don’t want to belabor it, as you can read about it here. Yet in the midst of a horrible time I was blown away by the responses and willingness of people to step in and help in myriad ways. Phone calls came from people I didn’t know or hadn’t spoken with in years, offering help, rides, and home cooked meals. Many people posted and tweeted and compelled the company to action and a real solution to our problem. Along the way, many of those posts and tweets were directed to the company’s competitors asking them to help us.
And just as we were about to get on the road, a vacationing Penske person tweeted an offer to help. I thanked him for his offer and explained that we believed a solution to be in place. Fast-forward several months, and we made a decision to return to San Diego to be in greater proximity to and help for my wife’s family. As we were in the midst of that, an old friend tweeted to Penske, thanking them for great service, and informing them that they were using Penske because of my experience with the other company.
That prompted me to approach Penske with an idea. You see, I love TV shows like Bar Rescue, Tattoo Nightmare and others that attempt to redeem bad situations and make something good out of them. So I tweeted to Penske, asking if anyone would be up for hearing an idea, and to do a quick search of the #freepalmer hashtag for some idea of what I was thinking. In short order I received a reply asking me to call an 877 customer service number. I did, and as it turned out, the number went directly to the person that tweeted the response. When I asked if I could talk through an idea the person said, “you can, but I’ve been asked to connect you to someone at corporate who followed your story.”
After a short game of phone tag I ended up speaking with Randy Ryerson, the Director of Corporate Communication at Penske. It turns out that Randy was the one who sent an offer of help last year. Apparently he was on vacation and saw the activity on Twitter, called someone on his team and asked who Dave Palmer was, and what was happening. That’s when he discovered that I wasn’t even a Penske customer, but the social noise made it clear that I needed help.
So Randy and I talked, and I outlined the concept for #PenskeRescue. I wanted to do something to redeem the moving experience of last year, and tell a story of a fun, positive trip in a rental truck. I explained that #freepalmer was never about vengeance, but trying to get help, and that my hope was that this #PenskeRescue concept would be a positive and fun way to engage people in a great story of a company helping someone make a situation right.
And so, on Friday, May 31st, my good friend Adam McLane and I will pull out of Nashville, TN with a 26-foot long Penske diesel truck, pulling my beloved ’97 Volvo 850 wagon, and head west back to San Diego. We’ll be traveling the same route that I took last year with my dad and my childhood friend Brad Rukstales, with the goal of redeeming the route, making stops in some fun and bizarro places along the way, and documenting the trek via video, pictures, posts and tweets. Oh, and to have no mechanical issues!
Many of the videos will be posted to Penske’s YouTube Channel, and if you follow their Twitter feed and Facebook page you’ll see things posted there as well. So please consider following our trek, sharing it with others, and sending a note or two of thanks to Penske for their willingness to help us out with this move.