My recent return to “Winter Wonderland” has been marked with a number of interesting episodes already. I would love to express each and every single experience. However, right now I shall be discussing something very interesting which also relates to my curriculum. It has been two weeks that I landed in Stockholm after a great summer vacation and as I arrive, I have been obscured by meetings, events and projects. One of the projects I am working on has been in close connection with a Swedish consumer company namely “Taxi 020”. The aspiration here was to promote the company’s brand using social media or Web 2.0, for that matter. It has been widely accepted that social media allows maneuvering and exercising strategies that are both time effective and cost effective. The company executives believe that it is a good line of action to apply these practices in order to promote the brand of the company and build long term relationships with its customers.
Merely two weeks, attending a meeting with the Marketing Manager of Taxi 020, I gained insights about the company, its evolution, the manner it has approached marketing and what they are planning to do in the future. I understood that one of the strategies the company executed about 5 years ago was to smear yellow all over their cars in order to catch the eye-balls of the consumer. The strategy was successful as it exhibited features of the differentiation strategy that we regularly speak about at school. The company decided to increase the number of yellow cars to approximately 1000 in Stockholm. They also operate in other cities of Sweden as well such as in Malmo or Gothenburg. The number of cars in cities other than Stockholm is very small speaking strictly on a relative account. However, to the flipside of the company, the strategy fell short of establishing a long term relationship with the consumer as it would have wanted. This was attributed to several incidents that took place whose consequences have been very upsetting.
Since the taxi business is a very conservative business, it is essential that the product/service that is offered to the consumer is easy to handle in addition to deliver customer satisfaction, which is a key success factor for long term sustenance. At the moment in Stockholm, there are three major taxi services with “Taxi Stockholm” in the limelight. Taxi 020, on the other hand, had in mind that to be able to compete head-to-head with Taxi Stockholm, pricing was one aspect that could alter the consumers’ consent and attract them towards them. Consequently, Taxi 020 exercised the segmentation tactic quite effectively. The company decided that it would serve three categories of customers; the general public, companies and several government parties. It worked absolutely immaculately until the global economic recession came into the act. The consequences were massive for Taxi 020. The strategy started to falter briskly. However, there was one sector that not only sustained its state but instead the volume of consumers increased which was quite fascinating for the company. This sector was the public sector. It all owed to the famous but dreadful winter that hit Sweden last year. The bad winter resulted in a good season for the cab company.
A number of years ago, the company had also deployed other marketing communication tactics such as placement of ads in local newspapers. Sadly, the return was rather slim as taxi is a service that is only used when it is needed. A consumer never actually know when he may need a cab and why he may need it, suggested the Taxi 020 Marketing Manager, Frederick Scholander. Frederick asserted that one of the critical aspects that would attract the consumer to utilize this service is to know the telephone number of the company. Therefore, the telephone number should be so easy to communicate which, in turn, allows the consumer recall it on an immediate basis. This has been one area which the company has been trying to address for the last couple of years. Moreover, the company has also been involved in certain other endeavors such as the introduction of a special price for “Girls” that allowed its practice for a certain period of the day. The strategy started to work fine until government and law-enforcement agencies took the issue in their hands and ascribed the act to discrimination resulting in massive repercussions for the company. It soon became a big concern as the word was spreading at the pace of a bullet. More people used to speak about it habitually. Negative word-of-mouth marketing for Taxi 020!
As the company struggled to attain excellence and create a brand that is not only widely accepted but also assisted them to build a competitive advantage, the executives at the company acquired the support of Robin Teigland, Associate Professor at Stockholm School of Economics. Robin has always been very energetic and keen to try new things. She suggested that the company could potentially adopt social media as a channel to promote the brand as the channel is cost effective and gets the target audience spot on. Frederick was intrigued somewhat. He decided to go ahead with the venture and has assumed the essence of social media aggressively with sincere efforts and is hopeful it will pay off. I am also working on the project playing my role as a student to facilitate the marketing process. The campaign is well-underway and all the entities involved are willful that whatever endeavors we deliver result fruitful. This reinforces my belief that Web 2.0 is not only scoring big but it will be a key factor that will allow us to achieve the SOLO objective we pursue with so much perseverance.