This category is open to operators and local authorities either separately or in conjunction with one another.
For this category, we are looking for successful 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. Projects which are able to demonstrate some innovative thinking will also score well.
Joint Winner 2013: Go North East – The Green Angels
Go North East developed an incredibly high-profile marketing campaign to launch its new ‘Angel’ service which had received a £4 million investment. The route was redesigned and simplified in response to customer consultation, and re-launched with high specification electric hybrid buses. The multi-channel campaign ensured that the bright green, environmentally-friendly buses were the talk of the region, and the judges noted how impressive increases in passengers and revenue since the re-launch in a difficult economic climate in the region testifies to the success of the campaign.
Joint Winner: Greener Journeys – Bus For Jobs
Following on from Greener Journeys widely-acclaimed ‘Buses and Economic Growth’ report, the innovative ‘Bus for Jobs’ scheme enabled more than 52,000 unemployed people across Britain to travel for free by bus throughout January 2013 in order to access jobs and training. Conceived by an alliance of bus companies and launched in late 2012, the judges were really impressed by the wide co-operation across the industry that brought about an initiative which achieved such positive media coverage and wide endorsement across the political spectrum.
Arriva North East/Arriva Yorkshire - Frankenbus
“It’s alive, it’s electric – Frankenbus” was a marketing campaign which launched twenty-two hybrid buses in Yorkshire and the North East. The campaign aimed to engage local audiences and communities by using a creative concept to connect with both the current customer base and potential new passengers. The judges were impressed with how the campaign presented an environmental message in a unique and innovative manner, its success demonstrated by the subsequent significant increases in both passengers and revenue on the two routes selected for the investment.
First Manchester – Save Manchester
Following an historic reduction in patronage and revenue due to a pricing model which concentrated on short-term returns, leading to a perception of the company providing poor value for money, First Manchester trialled significantly reduced fares to maximise patronage with the objective of providing the foundation for stronger longer-term customer growth. The initiative was supported by a strong marketing campaign which, the judges noted, had led to a significant increase in passengers, the results demonstrating a campaign return on investment of 5:1 and including a 3% modal shift from the element that targeted motorists.
Go North East – Your Bus Ticket On Your Mobile
Typical of the results of its imaginative and comprehensive approach to marketing, Go North East has brought about a dramatic shift in consumer behaviour through clever marketing of its mobile ticketing. Using a multi-channel marketing campaign more akin to major retailers, the company has taken revenue from M-ticketing from zero to £230,000 in six months, substantially in excess of its target, the success encouraging the company to rapidly extend its M-ticketing initiatives to cover other elements of its product range, such as Family M-Tickets.
Stagecoach UK Bus – Adoption of Social Media
Having monitored its online reputation, Stagecoach UK Bus made the decision to provide real-time service updates for its passengers using a framework that ingrains it within the culture of the business, thereby offering greater benefits to both staff and customers. Growing completely organically on Twitter and Facebook, the judges were extremely impressed with the results achieved in its three pilot areas of East Scotland, Oxfordshire and Oxford Tube since the launch in December 2011, and the company is now to roll-out the model across the whole of its UK operations over the next two years.
Translink – yLINK Youth Travel Card
During 2011/12, Translink worked with a group of stakeholders including young people and youth organisations to develop and launch a travel card especially for passengers aged 16-23. The card was designed for all people in that age group, not just students, and offers discounts on all Translink services, as well as retail and leisure partners. The judges were extremely impressed with the comprehensive approach to the initiative, including research and marketing, and not least the success of the scheme with over 10,000 cards already issued resulting in over 700,000 passenger journeys, greatly exceeding targets for the first year.
Who could be nominated?
This category was open to operators, authorities, other organisations or partnerships participating in the securing, marketing or promotion of registered local bus services.
… and by whom?
We welcomed nominations from customers, authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination was acceptable.
The Criteria and Entry Requirements
Nominations for this Award needed to demonstrate the successful creation and implementation of one-off promotional ideas or campaigns to promote the bus.
Entries therefore needed to:
- 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 the degree and nature of the innovation involved in the initiative
- Describe their work in the project to improve or promote the accessibility of their product for all customers and, if relevant, 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.