when bus companies rebrand

Brighton & Hove Buses announced their first significant rebrand in over 30 years this week.

You can read all about their approach to the exercise here.

The feedback on the Twitter post where the new identity and livery were showcased was heavily weighted toward the negative side. 

Some comments weren't approving of the colour combination (highly subjective), but others veered their thoughts based on the service itself, questioning whether it was a worthwhile exercise considering the issues faced by many customers.

'Will the new colours make them more reliable? If so, can you do the 48’s first?'

'Will this make it easier for them to stick to the published timetables? Hope so!'

'What a waste of money. Try getting your services to run in time.'

''I wondered why the Saver prices went up again this year. Now I know why.'

Bus companies face a conundrum when it comes to rebranding. 

If you go off a particular cereal, there are plenty of others vying for their place at your breakfast table, and branding will play a part in that decision. True retail brands get the paint brushes out to help differentiate their product from the raft of competition.

Unfortunately, most bus passengers don't have the luxury of choice - for them, once they've decided to use the bus, options are Bus Company A or Bus Company A.

You can see why customers get frustrated when re-brands are announced - as the Americans say, 'they've got skin in the game'. They see poor service, routes being cancelled, driver shortages, and fares going up all the time, but the company gets excited about a new colour scheme.

Unless you're a service provider (what most see a bus company as) that's consistently delivering day in and day out, it's only ever going to lead to frustration and resentment.