Abellio

How we reached and educated a disengaged consumer group

Bike and Go

An international transport provider with a penchant for looking after the environment (and improving the nation’s health), Abellio was on a mission to get more people walking and cycling to work. Their pioneering national bike hire scheme was designed to work in conjunction with the rail network, so people could travel by train and simply ‘Bike & Go’ wherever they wanted. We loved the idea and couldn’t wait to help them get disengaged, ‘sometimes’ cyclists geared up for a lifelong change. This included a press campaign, website, platform posters, leaflets and PR.

Listen

Span­ning three coun­tries, Abel­lio pro­vide bus, tram and train ser­vices to 13,000 peo­ple every day. In the UK, they oper­ate Greater Anglia, Mersey Rail and North­ern Rail. How could they launch a new cycle rental scheme, Bike & Go, on train sta­tions, and to an audi­ence of dis­en­gaged cyclists?

We embarked upon a research project that would define our audi­ence and cre­ate the strat­e­gy for our mar­ket­ing cam­paign. The ini­tial brief had defined the scheme as tar­get­ing com­muter and leisure cyclists. But research exposed real prob­lems with the lan­guage of these definitions.

First­ly, Com­mut­ing con­not­ed Lycra-clad, 5‑day-a-week cyclists and the propo­si­tion and pric­ing didn’t work as a replace­ment for the way these peo­ple used their own bikes – large­ly cost and comfort.

Sec­ond­ly, Leisure sug­gest­ed fam­i­ly days out in the park, or days out which focused sole­ly on bike rides. With no children’s bikes avail­able and the bike design being unsuit­able for long dis­tances or uneven ter­rain, this propo­si­tion was reject­ed too.

Our niche was what we termed func­tion­al’ jour­neys – get­ting some­where in con­junc­tion with a train jour­ney (whether that’s going to work, explor­ing the city or vis­it­ing friends), rather than being on the bike for its own sake.

Research also recog­nised that this isn’t an every­day propo­si­tion – peo­ple who want to cycle every day use their own bike. Rather, it’s an option for when it suits you’ – the sun is shin­ing, or it just fits in with your day.

Plan

We start­ed devel­op­ing cre­ative con­cepts based on the con­nec­tion between the train and var­i­ous func­tion­al jour­neys – get­ting to col­lege, trav­el­ling to work, shop­ping and vis­it­ing friends.

To dif­fer­en­ti­ate Bike & Go from sim­i­lar schemes, such as Boris Bikes and Bromp­ton Bikes, it was essen­tial we high­light­ed our unique ben­e­fits – a flat fee for all-day rental – and test­ed the cre­ative with audi­ences to ensure the propo­si­tion was understood.

Deliver

Informed by our research, we devel­oped all the key ele­ments for a suc­cess­ful launch. We designed a com­plete­ly new cor­po­rate iden­ti­ty and brand­ing for Bike&Go, using a sim­ple illus­tra­tion style to reflect the nature of the scheme. This was applied to every­thing from bus shel­ters to bikes.

A press cam­paign, plat­form posters, leaflets and nation­al PR all drummed up inter­est in the scheme and a com­pe­ti­tion to win a trip to Ams­ter­dam pro­vid­ed an incen­tive to reg­is­ter on the ful­ly-respon­sive Bike&Go web­site, also designed and built by us.

The brand con­tin­ues to grow and is chal­leng­ing larg­er com­peti­tors, adding to its net­work of par­tic­i­pat­ing sta­tions all the time.

Bike go site on iphone