For this category, we were looking for successful innovative one-off promotional ideas and campaigns which get the message about services over to the target market by advertising, PR activity or sales promotion schemes.
The winner will be able to show that the initiative
- created an impact
- won ‘hearts and minds’
- created or developed a strong brand or improved the image of bus travel
- helped to change public perceptions and/or consumer behaviour.
Any methods in the marketing toolbox can be used: branding, business-to-business, direct mail, media advertising, the internet, PR or a combination of all or some of these techniques.
The important thing is that the initiative will have delivered measurable results, building on strong research. In addition, clear monitoring will have enabled managers to judge results.
Winner: Petuaria Express
East Yorkshire Motor Services
Launched in 2010, the Petuaria Express involved the introduction of a new express service direct into Hull from the expanding villages of Brough and Elloughton to west of the city. This is an affluent area well-served by road and train links whose existing bus service was relatively slow and indirect.
The new service was specifically designed to appeal to car and rail users, and has succeeded by overcoming non-bus users' negative perceptions of buses. It was well promoted in a campaign which made successful use of a range of sales promotion techniques, with strong follow-up research.
The judges praised the stylish execution of this project, which was based on a sound research-led approach and represented a genuine attempt to grow the market for bus travel.
Runner Up: The Dennis Dart Project
The Dennis Dart Road Safety Project is aimed at key stage 1 primary school pupils. It is designed to make bus travel fun and to provide children with added confidence to travel safely.
A liveried bus is taken to schools and a safety presentation given, along with a short bus ride. A ‘Dennis Dart’ book is given the chidren to take home as a constant reminder to them and their families.
The judges were full of praise for this project, which aims to get certain key messages across about bus travel to children at a young age. The take-up by schools in the area has been impressive and the whole project was very well thought through.
Brighton & Hove - Integrated Bus and Train Travel Made Simple
Brighton is a top selling destination for PLUSBUS sales to people arriving in the city by train, but the bus company recognised that there was still a huge untapped market to sell bus tickets to rail passengers arriving in the City.
This project provides an irresistible ticket offer for anyone boarding one of the frequent buses outside Brighton Station – a one day bus ticket for just £2 instead of the standard price of £3.70.
The judges liked the simplicity of the scheme which created a genuine ‘win, win’ situation to promote public transport and encourage its use by visitors to Brighton.
Centro - The 'Theo' Summer Campaign
The quest to find a cartoon character called 'Theo' became a popular pastime for young West Midlands' bus users in summer 2010. Centro, in partnership with transport operators, local attractions and heart fm, used Theo to attract more children to greener forms of travel in the school holidays, resulting in a dramatic rise in bus ticket sales and useage.
The judges praised an ambitious and fun project to use promote leisure travel by bus, and particularly liked its clever use of a wide range of promotional tools.
First Manchester - Change Your Spots
A leopard can't change its spots - but a bus passenger can. This was the thought which was at the heart of a marketing campaign run by FirstGroup’s Manchester subsidiary on its principal urban corridors.
The project had a clearly defined aim - to encourage day ticket customers to trade up to weekly and monthly tickets. The campaign made clever use of a variety of promotional tools, and delivered against its objectives, achieving a boost of up to 32% in period ticket sales.
Stagecoach West - Route 66
Route 66 links Swindon with Oxford, via Faringdon. In May 2010, the 66 was enhanced, when its daytime frequency was doubled.
A marketing campaign to promote the enhanced service made use of print, vehicle branding, direct mail, telemarketing, radio advertising and PR – and contributed to increases of 36.1% in patronage and 32.5% in revenue.
The judges praised this simple but well-executed project to promote this important inter-urban route, which has laid the foundations for a further move upmarket when the 66 is re-branded as a luxury Stagecoach Gold service in December 2011.
Judges' Overall Verdict
The judges noted that the overall volume of marketing activity – and the standard of execution – is clearly much higher than a few years ago.
The judges especially liked the fact that a ‘textbook’ approach was being taken to projects, with attention to detail delivering the right outcomes. The number of schemes which genuinely targeted new categories of customer was particularly welcomed.
If there was a feeling that the approaches were less innovative than the judges had seen in previous years, this was probably not surprising in the current economic climate.
Who can be nominated?
This category is open to operators, authorities, other organisations or partnerships participating in the securing, marketing or promotion of registered local bus services.
… and by whom?
We welcome nominations from customers, authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination is acceptable.
The Criteria and Entry Requirements
A successful nomination for this Award would need to demonstrate development of an original or novel idea which breaks new ground in promoting the bus.
Entries should therefore:
- Provide evidence of the market research, methodology and results, carried out prior to the initiative.
- Describe how the initiative was planned and how the targets were set for it
- Describe their work in the project to improve or promote the accessibility of their product for people with mobility difficulties
- State how the initiative was executed, showing methods used and why, how demand was stimulated and customer access to the product improved and how potential customers were identified and informed
- Describe how the impact of the initiative was monitored and measured
- Describe any changes to the initiative made as a result of the monitoring
- Supply statistical evidence showing the results of the initiative in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators, especially modal shift achieved
- State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
- Describe any future plans for further development
- Include any relevant supporting material
- Supply appropriate examples of the initiative’s materials that delivered the reported results.
Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process.