livery, is it money well spent?

Omnibuses have a good article today asking...

"In stringent times, can or should operators spend scarce resources in changing their liveries? Is this money well spent? And do passengers care about the colour of their bus, anyways?"

They suggest that passengers "care more about punctuality, reliability, fares and frequency than they do about livery". Which I agree, that is ALL they really care about. BUT...

The post goes on to say that "the majority of passengers are making a so-called “distress purchase” (one over which they have little choice), for them, livery is no more than a distinguishing feature that marks their bus out among general traffic. And in many (most?) parts of England, there’s no choice of operator, in any case." Which I think is spot on.

Omnibuses also points out that "significant numbers are making “discretionary” not “distress” purchases. They may have other modes of transport at their disposal but have chosen the bus for at least some of their journeys. This is intelligent choice. Or they may choose one operator over another. This is for a variety of reasons: punctuality, reliability, fares, frequency certainly… and also brand image."

Now I agree with all of their observations.  However, they have made one mistake when they say "if all other things are equal between two operators—fares, frequency, capacity, journey times, driving standards, punctuality—brand is the differentiating factor that will lead a passenger to chose X over Y (or X over the car)."

The livery is NOT the brand. The brand is what a individual thinks and feels about a particular company or product. And is personal to them.

The livery is merely a visual representation of the brand and every thing that creates it: fares, frequency, capacity, journey times, driving standards, punctuality etc.

The livery COULD be a differentiating factor, the brand is ALWAYS the differentiating factor.

Comments

  1. It cost over £600k to rebrand East Coast when NXEC crashed and burned of which half came from the taxpayer.

    Whilst not a great fan of micro-management I think that the livery of franchises should be specified as is done on London Overground and DLR.

    Of course the vinyl makers would suffer.

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  2. Why do you say Omnibuses has made a big mistake? If you read the post (on Omnibuses) it says quite clearly, towards the bottom, that "A brand isn’t solely about a livery".

    To say that the brand is ALWAYS the differentiating factor seems somewhat far-fetched to me. In the case in point made by Omnibuses, the determining factor might simply be whichever bus happens to come first! Nothing to do with brand or livery at all!!!

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  3. I'm sorry anonymous, you are right. They did say "A brand isn’t solely about a livery".

    But later in that paragraph they say...

    "If all other things are equal between two operators—fares, frequency, capacity, journey times, driving standards, punctuality—brand is the differentiating factor that will lead a passenger to chose X over Y (or X over the car)."

    Which is the part I was referring to as a mistake.

    BRAND isn't the differentiating factor. The LIVERY is.

    Thanks for your post.

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