redcab: Marketing Communications Strategy
redcab is an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)-campaign designed for an Auckland taxi market follower who wants to become a market challenger within the next years. The company has to focus in daily business and communication on the expected professionalism, the passion to the job and live a authentic partnership with customers.
Two general approaches to the campaign:
- the created brand redcab and communication of the brand (more short-term, direct)
- more awareness and excitement about the service of taxis in general (long-term, indirect way linked with the brand redcab all the time)
On that basis the campaign strategy is:
- create a new memorable and unique brand using a strong corporate design
- communicate the brand – in connection to professionalism
- highlight the experience of going by taxi – in connection with the brand
- generate and use customer-feedback
The brand redcab itself is developed to achieve high recall in short time, the eight central creative elements ensure a broad communication referring to the campaign strategy and objectives. Used media-vehicles for the two-year-long campaign will be the car (symbol for the company and on the point-of-purchase), technology-based media (interactivity through web, web 2.0, customer-cards, etc.) and classic media-channels like TV and billboard (for specific campaign-parts). How all the parts of the campaign (strategy, objectives, creative elements, media, timing) are linked is shown in figure 10.
This first IMC-campaign in Auckland’s taxi industry will influence the market strongly and have positive effects on customer behaviour for taxis in general and redcab especially.
- Welcome to the world of redcab – the new taxi experience in Auckland.
- Colourless taxi services are history – redcab is now.
- Feel the spirit and passion – see how integrated marketing works for you.
This strategy is developed for the Auckland taxi market and a brave company, which wants to became a strong and unique part of the market. Beginning with the market analysis, the positioning and brand development, continuing with the creative part and management tools, ending with the measurement of success – this paper is basis for the implementation of the first IMC-campaign (integrated marketing communication) in the New Zealand taxi market.
The following chapters provide all relevant information and data, ideas and concepts. The “note & remind”-sections summarise the key concepts and findings of each chapter help you concentrate on the essentials.
1.1. Where to start – The current situation
New Zealand and Auckland has a vehicle-based transport history. In comparison to other cities – especially in Europe – the public transport is less developed, so everyone rely on the own car. Nearly per every Auckland citizen one vehicle registered (1,2 mio. registered vehicles, population Auckland region: 1,432 mio. – means a rate of 82 %; in the Austrian capital Vienna the rate is only 48 %). Only 35 transports per person and year are registered for Auckland public transport like bus, train and ferry (in Vienna for example over 450).
So the environment is generally taxi-friendly and no legislative barriers are noticed for taxi companies. Since 1989 the market is deregulated and everybody is allowed to run a taxi business after authorising by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA, a crown entity/state sector organisation of the New Zealand Government).
The current market of taxi service providers in Auckland is competitive but stable and has one market leader. “Auckland Co-Op Taxis” (300 3000) with approximately 700 vehicles and 1.100 drivers serve 20 % of the Auckland market and carries about five to six million passengers a year. All together there are approximately 25 million taxi passengers a year and 3.500 taxis in Auckland, most of them owned by small companies. No competitor has more than 120 vehicles, so they can described as market follower and market nichers. A market challenger is missing and the taxi industry operates on a low level of professionalism and frequency in marketing-activities and communicating (no IMC).
After a few crashes and robberies (including one homicide in Mt Eden, Auckland) the security- and safety-issue for booth driver and customer is the current topic of public interest to the taxi market. The Government decided to install security cameras in all taxis to increase safety. This regulation is valid for the 18 largest towns and cities in whole New Zealand from 2011.
Note & remind:
- Auckland and New Zealand traffic system is vehicle based
- The stable market has one market leader (20 % market share)
- No existing IMC in the Auckland taxi industry, bad marketing
- Current topics are the safety and security-issue
1.2. The kings – Our customers
One existing and one research done in September 2010 help to understand customers, their behaviour and influences on the decision making. The key facts about the target audience – the customers – are:
- demographics: taxis are common in every age-group (with different motivations), more female uses taxis
- if people use taxis they take more than 1,1 rides per month – the number of passengers could be higher, but taxi is an accepted transport vehicle
- the number of customers stagnates (public transport is getting better)
- customer do not exclude companies because of high fares and price has only a short influence on the decision (33 %) – however: customer expect fair and cheap fares
- there is no typical customer, everybody needs a taxi service sometimes, because there is no alternative
- reasons for taxi usage are alcohol (64 %) and no available public transport (55 %)
- the decision making is based on formality, experience or recommendations – often influenced by emotion (in which mood is the customer) or existing behaviour (using the same company all the time)
- often the taxi driver effects the experience (bad English, bad knowledge about route) – the physical condition of the car is not the problem
- it is hard to attract new customers (two-third uses mostly the same taxi operator)
- advertisements have only short influence on the choice of the taxi operator (only 21 %, in contrast good reputation has 73 %) – most of the people can not remember telephone numbers of taxi companies
- customers are not searching for the best company – they are choosing on the point-of-purchase (on the street, when thinking about order a taxi and searching in the internet or looking at sticker, flyer, poster around, etc.)
- the customers expect:
- reliable and safe service (see current discussion about security)
- professional service through the driver (see negative experiences)
- good value for money (maybe they pay a little more for a better service)
Note & remind:
- no typical taxi-customer – everybody need taxis sometimes
- different reasons for using a taxi can defined
- price and commercials are not the main influences on customers
- more impact by mood, experience, expectations, etc.
NB: For further information about the market (framework, development, data, etc.) and current researches related to the customers and their behaviour (which findings are part of the previous chapter) see “Assignment Two – Target Market Analysis” from September 2010.
1.3. We – Our company
Such a huge IMC-campaign needs strong economical fundamentals to be successful and effective. The requirement:
- existing organisation (vehicles, drivers, offices, etc.)
- at least 3 % market share (100 vehicles)
- stable financial basis
- (financial and personnel) power and persistence to realise the campaign (support and understanding)
What the company will be in the future is influenced by the overall strategy and objectives – but the company and all their members must be:
- passionate about service and market – redcab defines taxi newprovide a perfect service to the customers for a fair price
- on the latest technical standard
- employ best trained drivers and provide regularly trainings
In marketing and campaign perspective the size of the company (number of vehicles) is one of the key factor for efficiency: the general target audience is the same (Auckland). If the marketing campaign generates more publicity, the company has to satisfy the higher demand. Therefore a higher number of vehicles is needed.
One solution could be a healthy growth of the company. Another one is a partnership between different taxi operators and concentrating the marketing activities through the collective redcab-brand. The public must not realise this cooperation and should see only the brand.
Note & remind:
- We are market followers with stable economic fundamentals
- The management understand and support the IMC-campaign
- redcab can be a cooperation of different taxi-providers – for the audience only the brand exists
- redcab defines the quality of taxi-service new
The strategy is the plan of action, the policy, the program- it is composed and based on elementary decisions and objectives. After the market analysis the overall strategy for the redcab-campaign is specified as:
- create a new memorable and unique brand using a strong corporate design
- communicate the brand (repetition) – concentrated on the professionalism of the company and the drivers (and ensure the professionalism)
- create and highlight the experience of going by taxi – in connection with the brand
- generate and use the feedback of the customers
The strategy has different objectives, messages, used media vehicles and creative concepts. More details are provided in the upcoming chapters, the relations and a final overview are shown in figure 10. A few theoretical inputs and explanations to the strategy-development are subject of chapter “2.9. The big picture – overview and why”.
2.1. To whom – Targeting
Taxi customers are the same. Every person in Auckland is a potential customer and should be satisfied by the taxi-service of redcab. The prior need of a customer is to get from point A to point B. Every customer expect good service for a fair charge (see chapter “1.2. The king – our customers”). It is as easy as it sounds.
Therefore the target audience of redcab can defined as follows:
“Every Auckland resident, employee and visitor over 16, female and male (who is interested in professional, valued and safe transport services and wants to enjoy their ride with redcab)”
To spot on some campaign-elements a further segmentation is possible and will help to optimise the communication process. The two most important factors for the extended customer segmentation are motivation (reason) and time (regularity).
- The party: uses taxi primarily at weekends and before/after parties, has consumed alcohol, most of the time in a group
- The work: needs taxi for business, taxi trip is payed from the company (price is a less important factor)
- The situation: needs the taxi for a special, not every day trip (eg. Airport-transfer, tourists) – this group is primarily generated through the positive experience of the “party” and “work”-customers
- The resident: uses taxi very often, more than once a week, knows service quality and procedure
- The frequenter: uses taxi regularly (up to once a week), has good experience and rely on the service, plans to use a taxi
- The user: uses taxi if necessary, easy and convenient at the moment, no active planning of taxi usage, feels confident with taxi services
- The avoider: tries to stay away from taxis (because of the price, bad experience, inconvenience, etc.), taxis are the last resort
When all variables are combined the segmentation looks like figure 2.
The following strategy-development refers to this very detailed segmentation only partial. Prior objective is to reach the central target audience (Auckland resident, employee, visitor; over 16 years; female or male) and create a better “mood” about taxi services in general. In some cases the used media vehicle or concrete messages allows to address special groups (eg. “The Avoider” or “The Work”) in a direct way.
Note & remind:
- The main target audience of redcab are all Auckland residents, employees and visitors over 16 years (male and female)
- Customers can further segmented through regularity and the reason for taxi usage – that can help to adjust some marketing activities (different messages and/or media-vehicles)
2.2. How to be – Positioning
After customer-segmentation the brand and the positioning of redcab can be defined as follows:
- redcab is the long-term pro and has the best-trained drivers (professionalism)
- redcab is a reliable and safe partner for all customers (partnership)
- redcab is the spirit of taxi (passion)
All these attitudes are concentrated in the brand-name and will dominate the whole campaign. The name redcab allows the association between the brand and the attributes of the company as well. That is the first implication of the strategy: to create a memorable and unique brand with strong associations to the different attitudes. That will be achieved by the use of the colour red.
Red is the central idea and the whole organisation and campaign is build up on this simple “visualisation” – the new Corporate Design (CD), see figure 3. The colour red stands amongst others for:
Other used colours are white (text on the red area) and black (other text). The bias red area on commercials, printings or flyers means forward movement, activity, progress and transportation – and symbolises the door to the cab. The used font is „Corbel“, which is developed as modern and clear font with improved reading experience.
Other important characteristics and attributes for the brand will be generated and communicated in the campaign. At the end the colour red and the brand redcab will stand for professionalism, partnership and passion.
Positioning compared to competitors
Auckland taxi companies are less positioned through attributes. The market leader “Co-Op Taxis Auckland” use sometimes slogans like “Auckland’s No. 1 Taxi Company” or “Safety in Numbers”. These slogans are not part of campaigns and the brand-name allows less associations. Other small companies focus on price (“Cheap Cabs”) or tempo (“Urgent Cabs”).
Professionalism, Partnership and Passion as subjects (not necessarily the words itself) of the redcab-positioning and brand image are not yet used by competitors and can generate high identification and brand awareness.
Messages as written or spoken positioning
The used messages in the campaign are the readable and hearable outcome of the positioning and the used key-slogans will be (see chapter “2.6. How to look – Creative elements” as well):
- “It’s red!”
- „the red ones“
- „with the red door“
- using the word „pros“ to underline the professionalism:
- „trust in the pros“ – concerning to the current safety and security-discussion
- „feel the pros“ – going by taxi as experience
- „rate the pros“ – involving the customers
Note & remind:
- The positioning of redcab is based on 3 Ps – Professionalism, Partnership and Passion
- Associations with the colour red will support this positioning
- This positioning is not yet used by competitors
- The colour red and “pro” are the key messages in the campaign
2.3. What to do – Objectives
The overall objective for the campaign has economical outcome and influence on the success of the company: more passengers because of brand equity. So this is booth campaign and company goal and the business objectives for the next years are:
- In the first year after the campaign-launch we increase the number of passengers per 5 %.
- After three years we have 25 % more passenger.
- We are the only market follower (market share of at least 8 %) on the Auckland taxi market seven years after campaign-start.
These business objectives are easy to measure (receipts, notes from the drivers, etc.). The campaign objectives – related to the strategy – are:
Strategy A (memorable, unique brand with a strong CD):
Objective A1: Within two years after campaign-launch our unique brand redcab has the highest recall-rate of all Auckland taxi companies.
Strategy B (communicate brand and professionalism of company and drivers, and ensure professionalism)
Objective B1: Two years after market entry of our brand the number 0800 redcab has the second highest recall-rate of all Auckland taxi companies.
Objective B2: Our brand redcab is associated with professional taxi-service and well-trained drivers.
Strategy C (experience of going by taxi)
Objective C1: Going by taxi is more accepted by Auckland citizen and employees – they enjoy the experience. The number of passenger increases every year per 5 %.
Strategy D (generate and use customer-feedback)
Objective D1: In the first year we create 4000 customer-contacts via Online-Communities.
Objective D2: One year after introduction we have 500 “redcard”-customers.
These objectives are more difficult to measure. For A1, B1, B2 and C1 a periodiacl research will be necessary to control the achieved goals. A survey before launch of the campaign has to determine the status quo and formulate concrete benchmarks.
For the upcoming creative elements (see following chapters) more detailed objectives will be formulated and a measurement for each element has to be defined. All objectives together will allow efficient campaign-controlling.
Note & remind:
- The business objective is to increase number of passengers
- For the campaign strategy six objectives are defined
- Measurement is possible by internal controlling instruments and external market research
- For the creative elements more detailed objectives will specified
2.4. Where to do – Media
Regarding to the overall strategy and objectives the used media vehicles will concentrate on three groups.
(a) point-of-purchase: As the analysis showed, customer often has no preference for a concrete taxi company – they decide at the point of purchase. The used media vehicle therefore will be the car itself with three concrete advantages:
- the car is on the point-of-purchase
- the car is packaging and visualisation of service and company
- the car is a cheap communication vehicle (it already exists)
This chosen vehicle belongs to the first and second part of the strategy (create a memorable, unique brand with a strong CD and communicate that brand). The VIEW-model for packaging (Chitty, Barker and Shimp, 2008) helps to evaluate the created redcab-branding and shows, that this idea will work well.
- V (for visibility): red as chosen colour attract attention and supports the name of the brand, the branding allows differentiation to competitors
- I (for information): the used labelling redcab and “feel the pros” provide enough information about the service and stimulates the new “feeling” of going by taxi (hopefully to attract new customers)
- E (for emotional appeal): the colour red transports a lot of mood and feelings, through the attention campaign “redis” the colour will be uploaded with personal positive attitudes
- W (for workability): the branding has no influence of the workability of the vehicle itself
(b) interactive and social media for interaction (technology-based): The next group of used media is online, social media, SMS, customer cards, receipts of each taxi ride. All these vehicles help to get in interaction with the customers and generate communication, feedback and build up a relationship (strategy-part D: generate and use customer-interaction). These vehicles allows different activities and messages for the defined target groups (eg. “The Work”, “The Avoider”, etc.) as well.
(c) activities to create more recall of the brand (broadcast, print): To create more recall and confront the audience with the brand and service a variety of media is used: broadcast (TV and radio), billboards, print (newspaper, magazines) and promotion (events). Some of these medias are the key vehicle for the following creative elements (see chapter “2.5. How to look – Creative elements”), but in general they are less often used and linked to the technology-based campaign elements.
Media plan: The media plan itself is linked with the timing of the campaign and information will be provided in chapter “2.6. When to do – Timing”.
Note & remind:
- The campaign is based on three groups of media-vehicles:
- point-of-purchase: cars
- technology-based: web, web 2.0, SMS, customer cards, receipts to generate and stay in interaction
- supporting media (broadcast, print, etc.) for brand-repetition
2.5. How to look – Creative elements
The creative part of the strategy has following eight elements supporting the overall strategy.
(a) Attention campaign “redis
Before starting the redcab-campaign the audience must be “prepared”. The colour red will be the dominant element of the brand. To ensure that the audience connect the right and positive attitudes with the colour, a secret attention campaign for red itself will be launched.
It is important, to use the elements of the upcoming corporate design of redcab (red, font, style, etc.) and that the initiator of the campaign stays secret.
Through a clever management and some hints the campaign will gain attention and media coverage. The benefit for the audience is the possibility of interaction and expression of their opinion via web, Facebook and SMS. Every participant can win prices (like shirts, lanyards, etc. – all of them communicate red and assure more attention to the campaign, see figure 4) and vouchers (for shopping centres and after the presentation of the new brand redcab-vouchers).
In the beginning only the colour red is promoted – without any further notice (see figure 5).
After two weeks the mystery will be resolved and the final poster are published (see figure 6) by giving first meanings for the colour red (passion, strengths, experience). The billboards promote the new website, Facebook-group and SMS-activity as well (“Join the community for more red in our life – www.redis.co.nz”, “What means red to you? Txt to 0800 733 222 and win vouchers every day” or “Show that you are addicted to the color red on facebook.com/redis).
- Objectives: The secret campaign generates at least 20 newspaper-articles, 10 TV-clips and has 750 SMS-responses, 2000 Facebook-Friends and 500 Website-Members after two months.
- Media vehicles: billboards (bus shelters, etc.) and radio for the announcement, online (new website redis.co.nz, Facebook-Group) and SMS for the interaction.
As in chapter “2.4. Where to do – media” explained the cars are central communication vehicles (cheap, on the point-of-purchase, symbol for service and company). The strong CD get continued through the vehicle-branding (see figure 7).
- Objectives: redcab is the only one taxi company in Auckland with a consistent branding and look, customer recognise the taxis easily
- Media Vehicles: cars
The official presentation of the new brand and the branding comes up with different supporting marketing activities (print commercials, radio cooperation including competitions, “city in red” with a red lighted Skytower, etc.)
(c) New Zealand’s Next Top Cab-Driver
After launching the new brand, redcab gain attention through the new TV-show “New Zealands Next Top Cab-Driver”. This game will be produced and broadcasted in cooperation with a New Zealand TV-station, eg. C4. All participants make the redcab-training to get a new taxi-driver. Each week the jury and audience vote one candidate to leave the show. At the end the best cab-driver gets a job at redcab and money.
The TV-show is a chance to promote the experience of going by taxi, show how the business works (professionalism and hard driver-training) and build up a celebrity or endorsement for upcoming marketing-activities. All the positive mood will be associated with redcab – over a period of more than three months.
- Objectives: Generate discussion about taxi services and the training of taxi drivers, spread the “spirit” of taxi service and promote the new brand redcab
- Media Vehicles: TV and cross-media-activities (billboard, web, Facebook, etc.)
(d) The redblog and Facebook
New Zealand’s Next Top Cab-Driver as new staff member and his publicity will be used as “face of redcab”. All social media and community activities (“redis”- and “NZ‘s Next Top Cab-Driver”-campaigns) will be concentrated and transformed. For example: the “redis”-Website will become the new “redblog”, where customers and drivers can share their experience. The winner of “NZ Next Top Cab-Driver” is the central figure and moderator.
- Objectives “redblog”: at least two entries and 50 visitors per day, share experience, generate content and information for further improvements
- Objectives “Facebook”: at least 2000 friends for the “NZ’s Next Top Cab-Driver” in the first year
- Media Vehicles: online (Blog, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)
(e) Rate the pros
To create a new form of internal control and interaction with customers all redcab-taxis will get a GPS- and printer-system for generating receipts after each ride. This receipt (see figure 8) provides all relevant data including a unique ride-number. Using this ride number the customer can evaluate the ride and drive (online or via txt) and has the chance to win vouchers. The results help to improve the service and get more information about the customers.
This systems shows the professionalism and responsibility of redcab.
- Objectives: 8 % of all customers respond to this action
- Media Vehicles: receipt (personal selling), website and SMS
For regular customers redcab offer the „redcard“ (private- and for “The Work”-customers business-editions) with discounts and payment option (prepaid, credit card, monthly statement). Through the usage of the card a better relationship to the customers and data about customer behaviour will be generated.
- Objectives: 500 “redcards” in the first year for the central customer database
- Media Vehicles: customer card
(g) Mobile apps
Ordering a cab is getting more easy with the new redcab-application using Google Maps and GPS-data from. The customer can see where the next vacant taxi is and how long it takes to get to this place. This app is available online and for all smart-phones (e.g. iPhone, Blackberry, etc.). It helps to reduce internal costs (call center, etc.) and generate more demand (for costumer is it more easy, to find a redcab-taxi in their area).
- Objectives: more than 10 % of all orders are using the new application
- Media Vehicles: smart-phones and online
(h) Supporting activities
Great ideas and projects (eg. the car-branding or “NZ’s Next Top Cab-Driver”) are essential for the whole campaign. But especially small activities allow to address the different small target groups (“The Work”, “The Avoider”, etc.) directly and more effectively. All those “bits” are summarised under “supporting activities” with the important objective to gain more attention to redcab. Examples are events, promotions (handout flyers or special offer-days), creative ads (see figure 9), continuos public relations, internal communication activities to inform and motivate staff, driver-trainings, search engine marketing or sponsorships. All have to be part of the campaign, support the main campaign objectives, use the same messages and has to be time-coordinated with all other creative elements
- Objectives: gain more attention to the brand
- Media Vehicles: print (newspaper, magazines), billboards, events, personal selling, promotions, internal communication, etc.
Note & remind:
- Eight central creative elements of the campaign are created
- All elements support the overall strategy and can be assigned to four campaign stages (prepare for red, communicate the brand, communicate the professionalism & experience and interaction)
2.6. When to do – Timing
The described campaign will last two years excluding preparation-work (three to six months). Within this time the brand is introduced and part of the Auckland taxi market, customer recall name and attitudes of the company. The following table gives an overview to the campaign-timing in months (including creative elements and used media).
Note & remind:
- The campaign lasts two years
- Kick-off is the “redis”-subcampaign to achieve awareness for red
- After launching the brand (incl. presenting the new car-design – end year one) the TV-show “NZ’s Next Top Cab-Driver” is the highlight at the beginning of year 2
- Activities to generate interactivity (“redcard”, receipt- and feedback-system, mobile apps) will be introduced in year 2
2.7. What to spend – Budgeting
This chapter provide a first input which costs should be considered for the campaign.
internal (personnel, charges, trainings, etc.)
external (creative agency, regularly market research for campaign measurement)
(a) Attention campaign “redis”: creative services, producing billboards and radio-spots, charges for billboards and radio-spots, web- and community-systems
(b) Branding: creative services, producing the branding-material, labour hours on cars, kick-off events and activities (cooperations, charges for ad-place in newspapers and magazines)
(c) New Zealand’s Next Top Cab-Driver: cooperation with the TV-station (all-inclusive-contract with cross-promotion, etc.)
(d) The redblog and Facebook: just internal costs for looking after the systems
(e) Rate the pros: GPS-system for all cars, maintenance and system-support, driver-training, central database (SMS- and web-interface)
(f) redcard: producing “redcards”, promotion activities, database
(g) Mobile apps: writing the software program, system-support and updates
(h) Supporting activities: creative services, charges for ad-place in newspapers, costs for events, etc.
Note & remind:
- Additional to internal (eg. personnel) and external (agency-services like research or advertising) costs each creative element should have an own budget.
2.8. How to check – Measurement
Clear defined objectives of the campaign help to make the measurement easy. The new receipt-system (GPS in all cars and customers-responses) allows internal statistics about development of passengers, rides, performance of taxi-drivers, etc. and is one of the most important measure instrument for the campaign. Further information will be generated by all interactive media vehicles (online-community “redis”, SMS-responses, Facebook, etc.) and the customer-card. Through all these methods the quantitative and internal part of the campaign can be controlled.
But the market is not only rough data and redcab. Activities of competitors, current topics, legislation developments or cultural and social changes influence the business. More aspects like consumer behaviour, attitudes or influences can be defined and help to improve the campaign. For the external and customer monitoring an annual research is necessary. This research should be done by a New Zealand market research agency – at the best with focus on transport issues. Every year the research should cover the same aspects and find out same additional quantitative data (eg. market attributes like size, growth, market shares, etc.).
Note & remind:
- Internal measurement will use the receipt-system and a contact-database (data is generated from web 2.0, “redcard”, responses)
- Market analysis has to be continued and some campaign-objectives need market data from regularly researches (qualitative and quantitative)
2.9. The big picture – Overview and why
On the last pages many ideas and concepts are explained. The following graph helps to get the big picture of the campaign by combining the most important parts:
strategy (four strategy-parts, A-D) and the defined objectives
creative elements (eight parts, a-h)
used media (three groups, symbolised by the different colours)
timing (over the time of two years, symbolised by the boxes in the right-bottom)
The redcab-campaign is not just promoting brand and company. Aim of the campaign is to promote taxis and the service companies offer in general as well (the public opinion of taxis is not the best). The campaign must improve the widespread thoughts about taxi – linked with the new brand all the time. redcab can create a new feeling of taxi services and has to confront the audience with the spirit.
By Larson (2010) described and from Chitty, Barker and Shimp (2008) used for marketing reasons the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) is useful to describe these two different approaches to the redcab-campaign.
- The central route: direct communication, using the brand-name and the advantages of redcab, more short-term
- The peripheral route: promoting the spirit and feeling of taxi-usage, show how taxi works, gain attention for the taxi service (especially for “The Avoider”), more long-term, competitors will get advantages as well
Some activities focus more on the central route (eg. car-branding), others on the peripheral route (eg. NZ Next Top-Cabdriver).
The current economic situation is basic requirement for the view and target of the campaign. Kotler, Armstrong, Wong and Saunders (2008) defined strategies for market challengers and followers. redcab will be at the beginning a market follower (about 3 % market share) and should not only copy the competitors. The first IMC-campaign for an Auckland taxi company will help to promote the new brand by using a different marekting-approach without copying the existing competitors. After getting to a market challenger the recommendation of Kotler, et al. (2008) is a full frontal (only if enough resources are available) or indirect attack to the market leader. This will be the case seven years after launching the campaign.
3. Research on the campaign
This campaign is build up on existing and new researches about the Auckland taxi market. A wide-ranging qualitative research should be done before launching the campaign to support all (!) developed ideas and make further assumptions.
As backup for the strategy-development a short qualitative research with four persons was accomplished. The interviewed people were two women (19 and 28 years) and two men (24 and 25 years), all Auckland residents who had experience in going by taxi. All four interviews confirmed the assumptions of the analysis. The main findings and assumptions for the redcab-strategy are:
- price depends on the brand or attitudes of the service, people are willing to pay more for a better quality (assumption: no need to concentrate on low-cost)
- the fares are not comprehensible – too expensive (assumption: pay more attention to the professionalism to maintain the price)
- professionalism of the service (especially the driver) is important
- taxi is often the “last resort”, see “The Avoider”-segment (assumption: advantages and experience of taxis are not evident and should be highlighted through the campaign to change the customer’s perspective)
- everybody felt safe (no special attention to the security-issue)
A short brand-recall-test was part of the interviews with following procedure:
- show four logos on one page (Auckland Co-Op Taxis, Taxi United Ltd, North Shore Taxis, redcab) for 30 seconds
- no comment, interviewee just think about the brand/logo/number, etc.
- ask at least three different questions
- ask about the brands or companies showed before (if interviewee can remember brand or number)
- market leader “Co-Op Taxis Auckland” (the market leader) is the brand with the highest recall, two persons remembered the number 300 3000
- redcab has the second highest recall, people associated a colour (one person said “red”) but could not recall the correct name, one person remembered that the number starts with 0800 and the company name
- “North Shore Taxi” and “Taxis United” had no recall
The results may not the best for redcab, but they show that all developed ideas (attention campaign for the colour red, NZ’s Next Top Cab-Driver) are necessary to gain attention and achieve recall for the brand. Objective was to ask for the brand-recall, redcab as fictional brand has no supportive experience (like “Co-Op Taxis Auckland” as current market leader). Strong elements (eg. the branding of the car) were ignored (participants had no knowledge about the campaign) in the interviews.
Note & remind:
- Further qualitative research confirmed the assumptions in the market analysis
- redcab as fictional brand has a better recall-rate than existing companies
4. Conclusion and recommendations
The developed redcab-campaign is a campaign to launch a new brand with supporting activities for the starting phase. It is also a long-term-campaign to change attitudes of the audience and “prepare“ them for taxis in general.
All together this campaign provides a four-part-strategy, 3 defined business and 6 campaign-objectives, market segmentation, brand development and positioning, 8 creative elements in three categories of used media-vehicles over a period of two years.
Such a complex campaign needs courage, high responsibility and the will to do it (intensity and persistence). The final recommendations for the implementation are:
- further and more detailed market research (especially on the brand development and positioning)
- enough time before campaign-launch (for research, work time for branding, detailed budgeting, etc.)
- at least one responsible full-time person for the campaign at redcab to manage the campaign
- professional campaign controlling (incl. measurement)
- periodical campaign-evaluation and – if necessary – campaign-adjustments (market or consumer behaviour can change)
Chitty, W., Barker, N. & Shimp, T. (2008). Integrated Marketing Communications. (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Cengage Leraning Australia Pty Limited.
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Wong, V., Saunders, J. (2008). Principles of marketing. (5th European ed.). London: Financial Times.
Larson, C. (2010). Persuasion: reception and responsibility. (12th ed.). Boston, USA: Wadsworth.
Stangl, M. (2010). Assignment Two – Target Market Analysis.
Stangl, M. (2010). Assignment Three – Creative Brief.
1 thought on “redcab: Marketing Communications Strategy”
Great work Michael….
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