The Way Commuters Directly Influenced our Vehicle Branding​

Reading time: 4 minutes
Author: Robyn Nel, Brand Manager
Does data matter?

As a creative, you can have all these fantastic ideas about what your branding should say, what you think it should look like, how to make something easier to understand, etc. But if you are the audience, how can you know that all of your assumptions are informed decisions?

"Although both are important, creativity and data analytics are often seen as incompatible. People see creativity as a "hot" process, driven by intuition, imagination, and fantasy. In contrast, they see data analytics as a "cold" process, drawing on rationality, logic, and structured procedures."
The Benefits of Integrating Creativity and Data Analytics. Journal Article. AIHR. 2021. Yan Shao.
Understanding that creativity and data are not mutually exclusive is integral to our process

With this in mind, there are two critical aspects of our business itself: data and our audience. We strongly believe in backing up our decisions with validated data from reliable resources. Our platform has a survey mechanism, but we also get on the ground to speak to our audience face-to-face. This has been a crucial piece of our data to understand our audience as much as possible. We have multiple initiatives in the business that have given Sebenzians insights. There has been Word of the Day to teach employees Zulu, Taxi & eKasi Culture to speak about the everyday lives of commuters and South Africans, and Morning Runs, where we visit a taxi rank to immerse ourselves in the environment and understand the hustle.

With all of these different ways of collecting information, we can rule out assumptions and combine the power of online survey data with the masses with the in-depth opinions of commuters face-to-face. We do this for multiple departments and across the company. Marketing has a specific interest in this area, as everything we do needs to be made with informed decisions. A need arose for feedback while developing our new taxi branding, which will follow into our other vehicle and Sebenza Zones branding. You can have only so many assumptions or theories at a boardroom table or in a brainstorming session before you take it to the consumers and see if your assumptions or theories are validated or given constructive criticism.

We previously did a Morning Run where we spoke to taxi drivers, commuters, and vendors. However, if you’ve ever been in a rank environment early in the morning, you know how busy and overwhelming it can be. So where else could we get these resources? Well, it was right under our noses. Our office park has a mass exodus of taxi and bus commuters on a Friday between 15:00 and 17:00. There’s a Sebenza taxi that even stops on our corner daily – so this was a perfect opportunity.

Working together

We pulled the whole company together and assigned recruitment roles to our Sebenzians in their yellow bucket hats and shirts. We had recruiters, incentives, promoters, music, a Sebenza taxi, our number #1 fan – taxi owner Harry, and Friday Feels in the air. We had our new idea for our taxi branding printed on the vehicle for realistic sizing, colour, visibility, legibility, and real-life application. With this, we collected in-depth feedback from over 40 groups of people who both validated our theories and gave us food for thought with their personal views.

Some of our findings revolved around these ideas: was the message understood? Yes, it was clear. Did they find the humour in it? Yes, they were amused. Did the branding stand out enough? Yes, the bright yellow stood out. What is the preference for the size and location of the branding? The sticker on the back is less crucial for commuters on the ground, who see the front of the taxi and the side of it. Should our message be in vernacular or in English? Predominantly they were happy with English as it is more universal and more inclusive of commuters living in Urban areas.

In conclusion, this was a big help for our marketing and gave us some unexpected results, which we can use across many different initiatives and campaigns. We are forever grateful for the receptiveness of the community and the industry. We’re always supported, and this takes us further every day.

"Well done to the whole team for coming together on this project. We will be rolling out this new taxi branding very soon, and we will continue to improve as we collect more feedback as time goes on. So look for your black and yellow stickers across South African taxi routes."
Robyn Nel
Brand Manager