IAODDC: Helping Designated Driving Companies Get the Message Out
The past couple of decades have seen the creation not just of new businesses, but of new types of business, made possible by the Internet and a vigorous online life. Among the outfits which have not just added convenience to lives but actually saved them are designated driving companies. Such services do more than just drive home a person who has been drinking. Unlike a taxi or rideshare car, a DD service will drive drinkers home in their own cars, so they can enjoy the evening without the next-day hassle of locating and retrieving their vehicles.
The market is still growing and somewhat haphazard, which is why a Canadian entrepreneur named Brian Bazely founded the IAODDC – The International Association of Designated Driving Companies – to be a voice, advocate and resource for the many designated driver outfits cropping up all over the world.
Brian is a co-founder of Ontario-based Driverseat Inc, a service which lets you pre-book a designated driver for the evening – sparing you the task of negotiating a ride when you’re three sheets to the wind. When Brian looked at all the companies doing similar things in different countries, and struggling to establish a standard of service and a fitting message, he saw that the right organization could help not only the individual companies but the industry as a whole.
“We saw that the approaches of some of the ma and pa companies needed work,” says Brian. “We founded IAODDC to help educate them and give them one place they could go to for information. Our aim was to provide a voice and some consistency and commonality to their approach.”
A Professional Image
One of IAODDC’s tasks is to promote a professional tone for the industry. “I think we’ve been somewhat effective in helping shape how it presents itself, how it handles itself on social media,” says Brian. Some DD companies focused all their social media around helping customers avoid DUI fines and jail. One was even warning followers about the location of sobriety patrols and checkpoints.
“We don’t want people using a DD because they’re going to get caught if they don’t. We want them using them because it’s part of their social fabric, because it makes good sense to do it. It shouldn’t be a last resort – people should be looking forward to using the DD. We want to shift the talk to that kind of tonality.”
A lot of members companies tell Brian they have trouble getting the attention of the press. “In many cases, these people have been personally impacted by a drunk driving tragedy, and are very passionate about what they do,” says Brian. “They believe because they have a good story, the news trucks will start pulling up to their office. “
IAODDC helps these companies build a relationship with the media – a gradual process – so they can get their stories out.
A Worldwide Phenomenon
The list of member companies now spans four continents, with the majority of countries English-speaking ones. However, the plan is for the organization’s website to be a global resource, so than someone in Madrid or Toronto or Seattle could check the IAODDC site and find a designated driver.
At the moment the Association is in its early stages, working with members mostly through its Facebook page, Twitter feed, and email correspondence. Brian says the IAODDC will keep expanding its offerings to draw more members who are swayed by their belief in a common message and tone for the industry.
Beyond the Drinking Driver
One reason the DD industry is growing is that companies are looking beyond beer-drinking motorists. There are people who have medical impairments, and those not comfortable driving on crowded interstates or in bad weather. There are even those who are just too tired to make a trip. All of them could use a ride.
Designated driver services fill a definite social need, and all that is preventing them from being used more is the awareness that they exist and are easily available. The IAODDC’s mission is to get the message out, and make sure that message is accurate, professional, and persuasive for everyone.