(Sorry, this is a bit boring self-reflection from our report to Kone Foundation, but we copy-paste it here all the same.)
…in reaching our own goals?
Because we moved slowly by bike we:
- Had better contact with people than ever before.
- Experienced our own country and its different areas in a new way, in real-time, real-world.
- Had a good story, and therefore had good media coverage for our music and message.
- Had lots of intresting conversations about music and cycling in shops, gas stations, private homes and concerts.
- Know what it was to be a vagabond musician in Finland hundred years ago – it was tough but great.
Yes, we reached our goals. In addition, we are happy with the concerts. Their structure and rhythm was solid. The music was spiced with short and fun speaks about the tour and the music. Emilia made some new music for the tour, and it worked. Kare surprised himself by playing with Emilia in a few (but not too many!) tunes.
We had good, different roles on stage, and our relationship and contact intensified the concert experience, we hope.
We are still married, which was one of the goals, and not the easiest.
…in reaching the audience?
It is impossible to say how much we had audience, because the concert places varied so much. But generally concerts were quite full, because of good media coverage and good festival organizers.
The most important thing is that the audience was totally different to the normal folk music audience of Helsinki. Finnish folk music got some new friends. We think that the most important concerts were deep in the countryside, outside the cities and big festivals, in local, small cultural spots. There were luckily plenty of those.
This tour was not only a set of live concerts, it was also a concept, an idea. That’s why people reached by traditional and social media must also be included in the audience.
Kare was responsible for media. From the beginning it was clear that the tour will need two different media strategies. Traditional newspapers, both national and local, would be important for reaching older audience, especially in the countryside, for concert promotion and for the environmental message. Web and social media would be important for brand work and for reaching the audience that would not come to the concerts.
For traditional media Kare made three separate press releases. In addition to mass posting he personally contacted persons in media supposedly interested in the tour.
That proved to be a success. A two page article in Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest newspaper in Finland, gave a huge media boost in the beginning of the tour. Also provincial and local newspapers followed the tour intensively, by almost twenty articles with interviews, pictures and web versions.
We got pretty good coverage in radio and TV, with a nationwide concert broadcast, live interviews, features and news. Kare contacted also music, folk music and bicycle magazines. Their coverage was decent but not excellent.
For new media Kare set up web pages with all the necessary information, map and blog. There were over 14000 visitors in total, which is quite all right. The traffic increased after the Helsingin Sanomat article. The blog was active all the time, with proper posts, not just concert ads. Map and concert list were carefully updated in real-time.
Kare updated also Emilia’s artist account in Facebook, and there was big increase in likes and good increase in followers.
Our Instagram account got over hundred followers without any specific effort. Integrated with web and Facebook, it was the best tool to communicate the feelings on the road.
In total, the media coverage of the tour was a success.
…in saving the world?
We rode our bikes all the way. (Well, we took a boat to Porvoo when we were part of a bigger group in Art on Wheels, and we took a ferry to Iniö, because there was no road.) We spared about 700 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. Well, we would have spared the same amount by not eating beef during the tour. That is something to think about, and we thought about it in the blog.
But, of course, our main message was that you really can do something to fight the climate change – it is possible to make radical choices in your every day life, and enjoy it. That message got very good reception in concerts and especially in social and traditional media, probably because we told it in a positive way, not by warnings, claims and accusations.
With excellent media coverage, we think we did good job saving the world.
We noticed that we were pioneers in a bigger movement. The idea of CO2 neutrality is getting popular. For example, symphony orchestra Sinfonia Lahti is trying to be CO2 neutral in a few years. We have made our part in getting that movement going.
…in preparing for the future?
Due to good media coverage, the tour lifted Emilia’s brand to new level. Now she is known all over Finland as ”the fiddler who rides a bike”. A good brand is based on a story, and now she has one. It bodes well for the future.
Of course the bike tour in Finland was only a pilot for reaching out to the world. Embassy of The Netherlands already contacted us, and we have some plans and contacts for a tour in Denmark, Northern Germany and Benelux countries. Now we have some proper evidence what it can be.
Quite a lot of people from Finland have also contacted us and suggested some bike tour concerts in for example Kaustinen area and Turku Archipelago. Personally we are planning something for the Helsinki area.
It may take a few years, but it will happen.