Sponsored by CBS Outdoor
The Bus Marketing Campaign of the Year is won by the operator, local authority, partnership or other organisation that, in the opinion of the judges, best shows how the spirited use of marketing methods has achieved campaign objectives.
Creative marketing wins hearts and minds and successful brands live. The winning campaign has that outstanding quality that fires the imagination of customers.
Any methods in the marketing toolbox can be used - branding, business-to-business, direct mail, and so forth - the importance is that they have delivered measurable results.
At the heart of success was well-researched travel markets and clear monitoring criteria to judge results and fine-tune campaigns as necessary.
Winner: Stagecoach South - Cruise Along The Coast
The campaign: new buses on an important coastal route in decline. The challenge: getting the most out of the marketing budget when faced with a 60 mile route, serving a number of key destinations. Every opportunity was used to work effectively with advertising media partners, depot staff were utilised for promotions and a creative launch idea achieved positive PR coverage. Follow up monitoring shows patronage growth for an already well used route of 6% per annum and improved customer satisfaction. Judges considered this was an excellent demonstration of the power of marketing to revitalise an established product in need of refreshment. Accompanying the introduction of new buses, this complex, multi-centred route was re-launched dynamically from a moving bus stopping off for launch events at four key centres. Promotional effort was targeted with door drops in the areas where research showed the greatest potential to attract new users.
Runner Up: Go North East - Transformation of the Brand
Go North East's transformation has been built on a marketing-led strategy, enhancing its customers' experience with superior customer service founded on research and involvement, a radically changed customer facing structure for employees, and massive investment in the network, the quality of vehicles delivering it, and in marketing expenditure. 40 service brands have been established in 12 months backed by pricing initiatives and devolved marketing power engaging the energies of employees throughout the business. This bold campaign effectively replaces a previously successful and well respected corporate brand with a family of 40 local brands. Judges were impressed with the confidence with which this had been done and noted that the new approach was based on new delivery and customer care standards, new vehicles, pricing innovation, and staff empowerment. There was some concern that this entry may have been submitted too soon, but impressive growth has occurred both on the relaunched routes and for network tickets showing early and probably sustainable success.
First Berkshire - Rainbow Fares
The Rainbow Fares initiative brings a new, simple approach to marketing coach services linking Windsor, Slough and Bracknell with London. Different fares are charged depending on the time of travel. Colour coding makes it easy to understand. Vividly branded Rainbow fares are supported by clear promotional material explaining the colour coded fares charts. Over the last two years passenger numbers have increased by 23% and 49% respectively.
The judges were pleased to receive this entry based on time-dependent pay-as-you-go fares on the Green Line bus and coach services linking Windsor, Slough and Bracknell with London. Fares policies in the bus industry are becoming more progressive with the widespread adoption of simpler fare structures and period tickets. The marketeer’s dream is apparently achieved by substantial increases in both patronage and revenue but a reduced average fare! It is often argued that yield management cannot be applied in the bus industry but the Rainbow Fares example suggests both that peak demand can be spread (minimising additional costs to meet demand) and off-peak markets stimulated.
First South Yorkshire - Take A Breather From Your Car
‘Take A Breather From Your Car’ focuses on encouraging modal shift, offering public transport as a viable option for commuters. The campaign communicates key messages from a fresh perspective, addressing the environmental and lifestyle benefits of choosing the bus. As the ‘green’ issue continues to dominate media headlines and the boardroom agenda ‘Take A Breather From Your Car’ is an increasingly relevant message. This well-conceived campaign, spinning off from the “In town without my car” day of European Mobility Week, promotes the green credentials of bus travel on a business-to-business basis with major employers but also incorporates substantial external bus advertising to promote awareness. Judges were impressed with the positive approach, strong environmental messages and the substantial increases in B2B sales.
Transdev Yellow Buses - The Brighter Bus Company
The entry describes the considerable changes made to turn a failing municipal into a sustainable business by de- mystifying the bus and revolutionising marketing. The Transdev group acquired Bournemouth’s Yellow Buses in December 2005 and is transforming a loss-making, under-performing operation into a sustainable market led business. Classic marketing theory has been applied to produce a unified brand with quality services operating on an optimised network built around 6 core corridors with simplified fares. Judges noted the 20% patronage increase and the clear, effective advertising and promotional events.
Translink - Metro Stage 2
Metro was introduced in Feb 2005, to provide an enhanced public transport system with the potential to significantly increase passenger journeys and grow the business in line with targets set by Government. Metro Stage One concluded with a 10% increase in passenger journeys. Stage Two therefore set out to advance the brand to a new level by moving from talking about the brand, to talking about customers of the brand and implemented emotional positioning. Translink is the public company responsible for Northern Ireland’s public transport. Belfast’s local network was relaunched as “Metro” in 2005. This 2006 campaign moved the brand closer to the customers by developing emotional positioning and a Metro Day Ticket was introduced. Using the theme of “love Metro”, advertising was designed around typical Metro customers and a local Cancer charity and the Belfast Halloween celebrations were sponsored. The results show a 15% growth in patronage. Judges commended the clear strategy which includes proposals for Quality Bus Corridors and other measures to assist bus movement.