2019 Sustained Marketing Excellence

Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by sponsored by Global

Winner, Gold Award, Going for growth – First West of England

In the last 5 years, First in Bristol have seen passenger numbers increase by 52.5%, bucking the national trend of decreasing bus patronage despite challenging conditions in one of the UK’s most congested cities. This has been achieved through simplifying fares, modernising our fleet, switching customers to digital purchases and ongoing community engagement. To achieve these results we’ve employed varied, customer-focussed and in some cases award winning marketing campaigns, to capture both existing and potential customers through our clear, straight-talking and positive communication style. Campaigns have ranged from customer consultations on major fare overhauls to highly effective student campaigns and switching over 60% of customers to digital purchases with UK-leading mTicket sales. Through initiatives like these, we’ve seen continued growth in our passenger numbers.

The judges were very impressed with the conception and execution of what they considered a high risk strategy that came good. Praising First West of England MD James Freeman for taking this initiative, the judges noted extensive customer research and partnership working to produce a scheme that is showing sustained growth in passenger numbers. To have achieved this in a congested city with a confused policy on car park pricing and some aggressive stakeholders, is quite an achievement.

Winner, Silver Award, People Against Ordinary – Uno

Uno Buses is a business focused on delivering an outstanding customer experience by not only investing in its employees, vehicles and technology, but by creating strong brands that resonate with its target market. In just under 3 years Uno has invested £3.8m in its route-based marketing strategy. It’s lead by the company’s People Against Ordinary team and it has transformed the customer offering. The team’s mantra ‘ordinary is our enemy, extraordinary is our goal’ has created the motivation and dedication to focus on long-term results. The strategy is delivering outstanding passenger growth across Uno’s networks.

“Ordinary is our enemy. Extraordinary is our goal” is the mantra of the People Against Ordinary at our silver winner, Uno.

Winner, Bronze Award, Express City Connect – Stagecoach East Scotland

Stagecoach East Scotland operate bus and coach services throughout Fife, Perthshire, Dundee and Angus, with journeys extending to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Livingston, carrying a total of 32 million passengers per year. As well as local services, the company’s award winning Express City Connect network connects main towns and cities and is operated by high quality coaches. Recent marketing activity has created modal shift through numerous targeted campaigns. Investment across the network has provided opportunities to promote the high quality services and vehicle features with well-timed campaigns. This has been particularly successful in moving potential users through the consideration phase to create a 12% journey increase on Express services from Fife to Edinburgh. Targeted marketing activity has increased usage of specific routes where a new customer proposition is available. Individual campaigns were successful in creating awareness of the network, encouraging journey planning to determine feasibility and then increasing passenger use, using tailored media and messaging for timely, relevant information. The marketing strategy ensures a consistent and quality brand is portrayed, but with specific campaign activity implemented to highlight network/service/vehicle improvements as unique customer propositions.

The judges wholeheartedly agreed that a phrase in the entry summed up this company’s achievements: “Continuous marketing is the key to success.” The bronze winner is Stagecoach East Scotland for Express City Connect.

Finalist, Welcome to Coastliner Country – Transdev Blazefield

Coastliner has seen record investment over the past 2 years, creating growth in the market and recognition on a national level. People want to be seen on Coastliner. Businesses want to be associated with Coastliner. Our customers love travelling with Coastliner. Crowned Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route in June 2018, we’ve created bespoke vehicles for Coastliner, in tune with the people, communities and stunning scenery they serve. The results we’ve achieved have been outstanding, with up to 119% customer growth along certain key sections of this long route. We are aware that for Coastliner to be successful we need to continuously evolve our product and we have worked tirelessly to ensure the brand is fresh and appeals to new customers.

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