This Award is designed to recognise marketing excellence over a sustained period that is likely to be measured in years rather than weeks (short-term initiatives and campaigns will be more appropriate for the Marketing Initiative Award).
The Award will go to the organisation that best demonstrates how an active, customer-focused marketing strategy, consistently applied over time, has driven business improvement, won extra journeys and captured new customers, ideally through a shift of travel from car to bus.
The winner of this Award will be able to show that this sustained approach has:
- delivered measurable improvements in customer service and customer satisfaction
- created or developed strong brands
- helped to change public perceptions and/or consumer behaviour
- genuinely driven all aspects of the business, particularly
- customer service
- staff training
- management and supervision.
The important thing is that the winner can demonstrate a passion for marketing and for serving the customer over a sustained period.
Winner, Gold Award
Greener Journeys is a cross-sector campaign group dedicated to encouraging modal shift from car to bus. It exists to generate enthusiasm and awareness of the benefits of the bus at a grassroots level, while also arguing for greater investment in bus infrastructure, funding and regulatory mechanisms at both local and national political levels. Successful marketing to consumers, local decision makers and the bus industry is therefore vital to its objective of prompting behavioural change. In recent years, Greener Journeys has run a number of public campaigns, from making the case for concessionary travel with the Case for the Bus Pass to encouraging people across the country to take the bus during Catch the Bus Week. Across all its campaigns it has combined rigorous and credible economic analysis with hard hitting messaging to influence political and Government policy decisions.
The judges noted the substantial achievements of Greener Journeys on behalf of the whole bus industry. It's recent successes include a report showing that every ú1 spent on the national Bus Pass scheme delivers ú2.87 worth of benefits, leading to manifesto commitments from all political parties to support Bus Pass, without means testing; Greener Journeys showed that BSOG delivers up to ú3.50 for every ú1 spent, leading to cuts to BSOG being spared in the 2015 Spending Review; and investment in bus infrastructure has been shown to deliver up to ú7 for every ú1 invested, which prompted the creation of the Access Fund (ú500m capital, ú80m revenue).
Winner, Silver Award
Lothian Buses NightBus - Lothian Buses
Many businesses as well as leisure and retail destinations in Edinburgh are open longer or even 24 hours a day. The strategy behind the expansion of Lothian Buses NightBus service is where there is evidence that a new route or increase in frequency has the passenger demand to sustain it, the company responds. Higher frequencies are employed to meet extra demand at the weekends, but the aim is to provide a comprehensive network seven days a week, working on the premise that the NightBus network should be available to as many passengers as possible, all of the time. This strand of the strategy has formed a key part of all NightBus marketing campaigns.
The judges noted the sustained growth of passenger numbers on Lothian Buses NightBus network, fuelled by sustained marketing over several years. Getting staff out at night gathering feedback was seen to be very positive and no doubt influenced future network developments as well as the marketing strategy. A worthy Silver winner.
Winner, Bronze Award
Express City Connect - Stagecoach East Scotland
Continued investment and development in the Express City Connect network by Stagecoach East Scotland means that ongoing engaging marketing campaigns have been required over recent years. The varied target market and wide geographical area across Fife, Perthshire, Dundee and Angus as well as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Livingston to where the network now extends, has required significant effort. Simple and consistent marketing and brand development has been used to promote the luxury coaches, fitted with free wifi, air-conditioning, wheelchair lift, luggage lockers, CCTV, plug/USB sockets and the majority of the fleet also have leather, reclining seats and a toilet on-board. Cohesive and quality publicity material, well placed advertising and creative messaging ensure that the services are recognisable, trusted and aligned with the luxury product and continue to be successful in achieving modal shift and a positive journey experience.
The judges noted the continued investment by Stagecoach East Scotland in this high quality network of services and were pleased to see consistent growth in passenger numbers and modal shift.
Go, Go, Go! - Go North East
Go North East uses strategic and effective marketing backed up by solid research and the use of sophisticated techniques more akin to major retailers to ensure its business is well supported and its marketing activity targeted and cost effective. Over 10,000 pieces of customer feedback are collected and analysed every month via a number of channels by its dedicated customer services team, which leads to improvements for the customer. New technology has helped Go North East deliver successful and targeted marketing campaigns mixed with more traditional methods. The company has analysed bus routes and demographics to deliver and personalise mailers in concentrated areas along the lines of route to households within 600 metres of a bus stop. The personalised information includes their nearest bus stop and journey times.
The judges noted the granular research undertaken by Go North East and how that is translated into highly targeted and very successful marketing using a mixture of traditional and digital techniques.
The 36 - Riding Redefined - Transdev Blazefield
Billed as using the finest buses in the country, Transdev Blazefield's service 36 links Ripon, Harrogate and Leeds using a high specification fleet featuring free wifi, USB power points, a Library 36 community book exchange, quilted leather seats with airline-style tables, a lounge area with desks, two plus one seating upstairs and a spectacular glazed roof. The next stop announcements feature BBC Look North's Harry Gration, a "beloved Yorkshireman" using an informal style to proclaim "get off here for a cup of tea at Betty's Tearoom" rather than issue staid, robotic information. The 36 is a pioneer in the sustained marketing of buses and has never rested on its laurels, challenging people's perceptions of public transport. In June the 36 became one of the first bus services outside London to use contactless payments.
Whilst applauding the extremely high standards set by the 36, the judges would like to see how well the most recent revamp detailed in the entry has been received and how passenger numbers and revenues have been affected.
Who can be nominated?
This category is open to operators, authorities, partnerships or other organisations participating in the securing, marketing or promotion of registered local bus services. We would welcome entries from entrants, winners or runners-up of previous marketing awards, who can now demonstrate how their sustained activity has produced results.
… and by whom?
We welcome nominations from customers, authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination is acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The Award will be based on the quality of the submissions made, which should:
- Describe the strategic objectives and describe how marketing drives the achievement of these
- Provide evidence of initial and ongoing customer research (including methodology and results)
- State how the strategy was implemented and the how the workforce was involved and empowered
- Describe the promotional campaigns implemented, showing;
- methods used and the reasons for their use
- how demand was stimulated
- how customer access to the product improved
- how potential customers were identified and informed
- Describe how the impacts of the campaigns were monitored and measured
- Describe any changes to the campaigns or the overall business strategy made as a result of the monitoring
- Supply statistical evidence showing the results of the strategy and the campaigns in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators, especially modal shift achieved
- Supply appropriate examples of campaign materials that delivered the reported results
- Describe any future plans for further development
- Include any relevant supporting material.
Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process, because non-transferable marks will be allocated for each of these criteria.