August 21, 2007

Can brands take you for a "Ride"

In India and probably the world over, branding opportunities have been exploited on trains & buses. Opportunities with taxis have been largely sidelined. I am not talking about printing "Wong's Restaurant - Great Chinese Food" on the door, but looking at branding opportunities inside the taxi.

Taxis lend themselves to Point of Sales merchandise, sales material and sales itself. I have been extremely bored (and hungry) on many a journey undertaken. These moments can be used by brands to communicate significantly more than what is possible on a hoarding or other outdoor media. Costs are relatively cheap as your only spend is on brochure material - which will be carried along only by interested consumers. Some fixed fee has to be paid to the taxi operator

Why : People have nothing better to do on journeys apart from read or eat. Its extra income for the taxi and there is no other avenue to get the consumer to read as much about your high involvement/knowledge intensive product. Many consumers will in fact like to catch up on the latest in investment options.

What to sell : Its ideal for sales material on real estate projects, insurance, investment options, New mutual fund launch, IPOs, Magazines etc. The consumer is well defined as a corporate traveler and likely to be on the lookout for such info.

You might just be able to extend it to sales of FMCG products like Chocolates / Gum / Snacks by using the available space on the dashboard near the windshield to stock limited merchandise

Which taxis : Those used by Corporate travelers. Taxi operators who have tie ups with large companies

How many brands : Very limited space implies very few brands can be stocked - so hop on immediately

Operationally : Sell it to the taxi operator who distributes it amongst his taxis. He is also responsible to train drivers on creating awareness amongst Corporate travelers.

Brand PR : Good for the first guys who jump on

Brand Awareness/Knowledge : Builds not just brand awareness, but also brand relevance and preference

Is Sales Significant : Yes, since its high value and low effort. Also all those who read are favorably impacted.

Just make sure the driver does not push for sales, as that would become frustrating. The driver should just inform the consumer of brochures and magazines available. Can the driver slowly be upgraded into a role of a consultant on the various investment options available?

1 comment:

Varun said...

Okay, so posting your url on adage brought you at least one visitor. ;-)

Wanted to respond to your post on advertising to "captive" riders in taxis. Here, in Singapore, this is done all the time - most taxis have a set of brochures hanging from the driver-seat / front-passenger-seat headrest. Flip it open, pull out a brochure, and read. I don't have statistics on how well this has performed though.

That said, the coolest form of such "advertising" I saw was on a recent trip to Hong Kong, where SmarTone (a 3.5 mobile operator) had put in one of their Vodafone 3.5G USB devices, fixed in a transparent sealed case on the back of the front passenger seat, with a USB extension cable - passengers could hook up their notebooks and access the 'net for free while in the cab. Terrific advertising for SmarTone too - illustrating the benefit of mobile broadband with a "live" example. Loved it.

So now it's my turn to post a url ;-) - the world's easiest-to-use home surveillance system, which works with any webcam on any PC, is available worldwide, and is free. Check it out.