Selling the Sizzle
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East-way Environmentally Friendly Taxi
The 'east-way' environmentally friendly taxi was developed by a consortium of specialist organisations to comply with strict new emissions requirements in London. The product was essentially an engineering solution, the intention being to either sell new 'east-way' taxis or to convert pre-existing taxis by installing an 'east-way' power train.
Star Marketing was appointed to manage the vehicle's launch and develop a marketing campaign which was initially aimed at existing taxi owners in London. As part of the launch process we were required to communicate details of the imminent emissions standards, the engineering solutions that had been employed to meet them, and the cultural change that would be necessary for owners and end-users. 'east-way' planned to offer the choice of brand new vehicles or various conversion options - a potentially confusing choice which we felt needed to be articulated clearly.
The first thing we agreed upon with 'east-way' was that distinctive branding would be essential in providing a strong platform upon which the launch and marketing communications could be built.
Having conducted our market research it soon became clear that anything new was likely to be viewed with suspicion and even hostility. This was due almost entirely to the target market’s inherent reluctance to change from a vehicle they had lived with and trusted for decades. However, we were able to capitalise on this conservatism by emphasising the 'east-way' taxis' familiar appearance; it was, in fact, essentially the same vehicle with a different power train. With a vehicle that everyone recognised, we were thus able to create a distinctive brand radical enough to set the 'east-way' taxi apart and show that it was different - but not so radical as to alienate the target market with anything too new.
In order to promote the benefits and economic viability of complying with the new emissions standards we developed “Go green and save money” as the promotional theme, designed to appeal to the particularly pragmatic nature of the target market.
Having achieved the best of both worlds with regards to the branding, our next challenge was to coordinate and oversee the vehicle's launch. To communicate 'east-way's' green credentials, demonstration models were given full vinyl wraps, featuring fields and sky – and these were photographed and used in promotional material. So as to maximise 'east-way's' exposure, the launch was also timed to coincide with a variety of events attended by London taxi owners, with advertising in specialist publications supported by press releases and a website.
Drawing on our experience in the automotive industry, we were able to establish a coherent, effective and eye-catching brand, avoiding many pitfalls associated with such a notoriously challenging market. Furthermore, we were able to generate a great deal of free publicity by diligently planning ahead and specifically targeting the media taxi owners were typically exposed to.