Build Your Taxi Business – Part 1
As Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos once said: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Ask yourself: what would people say about your taxi business?
Purchasing is an emotional act. For a customer to want to buy from you they have to have an emotion or feeling about your brand. Your brand is what your customers sees and hears. They make their purchasing decisions based on your brand. If you build a brand and make it strong, prospects will notice.
This is a two part article that guides you through a process of building your taxi company’s brand. Get started now so you can attract new customers and show them how yours is the best choice in their community.
Define your boldest vision for success
Always start with your biggest vision. Don’t limit yourself based on your present situation. As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says, “Focus on building the best possible business. If you are great, people will notice and opportunities will appear.”
To do this, you might benefit from a brainstorming session where you spend some time thinking outside the box. If it helps, get it out on paper and if you’re visual, create a vision board. When you’re reviewing or developing a brand strategy for your taxi company, forget about what you have today, build for tomorrow. Ask yourself, if you were to start a brand new taxi fleet today, what would you do differently and then start to build your vision from there. A vision is a short sentence that will guide you and your employees over the next 3 to 5 years. It should be specific enough to include what you will do and also what you will not do.
Have a look at these examples of a company vision:
“Providing prompt, courteous and affordable taxi service for the citizens of the City of Vancouver.”
“Providing safe and economical taxi transportation for the City of Vancouver, with consistent, reliable service.”
“Providing citizens of the City of Vancouver with great service.”
As you can see, the last example is not specific enough, as that consistent service could come with an inconsistent price tag, such as is provided by Uber.
Here are some tips when building out your vision:
- Dream big and focus on success.
- Use the present tense.
- Be clear and concise in your language.
- Infuse your vision with great passion and emotion.
- Paint a graphic mental picture of the business you want (or a vision board)
- Have a plan to communicate your vision to your employees.
- Be prepared to commit time and resources to the vision you establish.
Create a differentiation strategy
Get it all down on paper, even the smallest thing to you might be a big deal to your customers. Your differentiation strategy is your DNA. It’s the reason you exist.
Are you the largest fleet or do you provide the best service? Is your fleet the the cleanest or greenest in town? Does your fleet have a pricing advantage? Is your fleet the most modern? What makes your fleet stand apart? This is a great exercise because, let’s face it, the reason why Uber has taken 50% or more of the taxi business in many markets is that most taxi fleets simply didn’t have any differentiation strategy.
If someone were to ask you at a cocktail party, “I need to book a cab to the airport for the morning” and you were to recommend your fleet, what would be the reason they should choose your fleet?
If you still need more help on defining your differentiation strategy, try the following:
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: Step back from your daily operations and carefully scrutinize what your customers really want. The answer might be quality, convenience, reliability, friendliness, cleanliness, courtesy or customer service.
- Know what motivates your customers’ behavior and buying decisions: Go beyond the traditional customer demographics, such as age, gender, race, income and geographic location that most businesses collect to analyze their sales trends.
- Uncover the real reasons customers buy your taxi services instead of a competitor’s: As you continue to grow your business you will be able to ask your best source of information —your customers. You will be surprised how honest people are when you ask them for feedback on how you can improve your service.
Find your rhythm: consistency is king.
Build your brand consistency. Once you have your unique attributes identified, start thinking about all the areas of your taxi company that are inconsistent with your them. Creating a consistent brand experience throughout your taxi business and across your channels can be one of the most difficult elements of building out your brand and this component has one of the largest impacts.
Imagine one of your customer’s is having a great customer service experience at one location and a terrible one at another location; this will still be a damaging experience for your brand, and as you know people tend to remember and talk about the negative more than the positive; it’s human nature. Whatever your strategy is, it will fail if it’s not consistent. Develop a long-term plan to build that consistency and make sure to get buy in from your employees. They are ultimately the face of your business and the ones who deliver the experience to your customers.
Leave an imprint with a memorable tagline
Think of your tagline like a “headline for your business”. Marketing leader, HubSpot defines a tagline as being a) memorable, b) including a key benefit, c) differentiates the brand and d) imparts positive feelings about the brand. For example, we’ve all heard the tagline “We’ll pick you up” by Enterprise Rental Car, which meets these 4 criteria.
It is basically a summary of your differentiation strategy (unique selling proposition) and it needs to be short and to the point, a short line or two at the most; similar to an elevator pitch. If you can’t define yours in a single line of text, you don’t have one. It should be punchy so that it can grab your attention and get your customers looking up your taxi company.
Here is a simple 3 step formula to come up with a tagline:
- Write out what your entire business does in no more that 2-3 sentences.
- Then trim it down
- And trim it down some more
Your tagline can be placed on things like:
- Business cards
- On the side of your taxis
- Website and more
Here are some well known examples of USPs:
- Avis: “We’re number two. We try harder.”
- FedEx Corporation: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
- M&Ms: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
- Dominos Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”
Here’s a great example of a noteworthy tagline:
- memorable and differentiates
- contains key words (car insurance)
- describes key benefits (save 15%)
- imparts positive feelings (humerous)
Want your customers to read your stuff? Build targeted messaging
It’s important to tailor your messaging to your target audience. If you speak their language and show them that you understand them you’ll make fast friends. To do start by segmenting the customers you serve. For example, you may have an airport business, a designated driving segment, a non-emergency medical segment and so on… Your messaging will be slightly different for each customer segment. With each market segment that your taxi company serves, you need to portray your brand image and differentiation. Some taxi fleets may be able to get away with a single strategy and tagline -others may need a few. For example, if your fleet has a business segment that serves non-emergency medical customers and another segment that serves bar rush business, you will need to develop a strategy for each category.
Coming Soon: Part Two with More Actionable Tips For A Better Taxi Business
7 billion. That’s how many rides Uber powered in 2017. And they’re coming for more this year. For taxi companies to compete, they need to “be delivering something special,” as Warren Buffet once said generally for all organizations, “or [they’re] not going to get the business.” It’s time to show your audience what you can do special. Check back for our next post, where we reveal five more actionable ways to improve your taxi company brand. Follow FQ Wireless on Facebook for the freshest updates on taxi company tricks and tips in 2018.